Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
Irving Layton

Old Dubrovnik

(For Pero Santic)

Perfectly intact, fragile
This painted eggshell
Grows each day more lovely under the sun
While History, a weasel,
Sucks out the life-giving albumen.

Here, stricken,
Time lies entombed in quiet ceremony:
If from his mausoleum he still speaks,
He speaks only to the faint stars overhead.

Odd, but in this tomb
Are displays of neckwear and jewellery,
And in its maze of forgotten streets
People have colds, make love, boil tea.

Surely a bewitched prince
Is dreaming this fabled place:
When he awakes and rubs his eyes
It will disappear into the mists of the Adriatic.

There where no signs

There where no signs
By walking I found out
Where I was going.

By intensely hating, how to love.
By loving, whom and what to love.

By grieving, how to laugh from the belly.

Out of infirmity, I have build strength
Out of untruth, truth.
From hypocrisy, I weaved directness.

Almost now I know who I am,
Almost I have the boldness to be that man.

Another step
And I shall be where I started from.

Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
Frank Davey

For Helen

Holding to your way, I discovered
it wasn’t.

Lesson: don’t read maps, don’t even
ask directions

Everything they tell you has been copied,
they want you to buy

the new model. Forget
your diet plan, stop watching
American Bandstand
Rehearsing your steps before the hall mirror.

Surrealism is

Applying one’s ass to the seat of a chair.
Ten poems a day. That was after
I stop coughing up words and had to
roll my own.

A fear of silence.
When there are no goals scored
does no one cheer?

What if surrealism is a serious business?
Painting blue leaves on black velvet.
All these words, tax

The Color

The day I thought the snow was blue
was like the day I thought
Bob Creeley was a friend. Colors

are not things, not qualities I could ever
make sense of. Depressed. Literally,
pushed down, blue, and that

the color of the ink of every poem when I write it.
And the snow on this window ledge
is white. On the sidewalk, brown. Why must

the snow be white, or brown. Why not
orange snow or red snow,
purple or blue? But

from November to April
it is white and brown,
from November to April, and so

I say to me, to you
God save us that our poems
be not one color, and not only

Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
Fraser Sutherland

Cafe Istanbul

Seen through the window
smoking, drinking, womanless,
they are doomed men.

I don’t know what they do in there
or I do: the slap of cards,
the crash of dominoes.

The street has nothing to do with them,
doubly separate.
The flag on the wall has something.

They will probably go home at some point
but they may spend
the rest of their lives here,

earnestly melancholy,
knowing each other.

Good Friday

2 April 1999

It is Good Friday, though maybe not so good
because Serbs are bad.
We re bombing them. We are doing good.

Since few doubt that Nazis were bad
we will compare Serbs to them.
Such comparisons are good.

Our bombing will help the Albanians,
who are good, whereas Serbs are bad and getting badder.
Yet despite precise and powerful good bombs
the Serbs insist on staying bad.

To assist Albanians we bomb their capital.
As humanist good humanitarians
we aid them as much as our budget permits
once they become good refugees.

The bridge over the Danube at Novi Sad
is a long way from Kosovo
but because bridge and river
are used by bad Serbs
we have destroyed it, which is good.

Through its long history Belgrade
was often turned to rubble,
which was sometimes good and sometimes bad.
When our missiles hit it now it s good.

Bad Serbs have seized three good soldiers
and intend to put them on trial.
This looks bad, even for the Serbs.

In Kosovo the situation is bad and getting worse.
Soon we may have to order our men
to die on bad ground
to prove how good we are.

On foreign women

You ask me why I’m attracted to foreign women
and I’ll try to put the matter simply.

Foreign women never ask questions,
they have all the answers.
Foreign women are flexible
because they’re used to invasions,
they’re good in bed because they have
centuries of breeding.

Foreign women have tact.
I’d let a foreign woman poison me.

Foreign women are women
but they have an extra something:
I think it’s their charming accent.

Foreign women are intelligent.
For a foreign woman even a Hollywood film
has sub-titles.

Foreign women, if they have problems,
Have interesting problems
And maintain superiority
Over their psychiatrists.

Foreign women are good travellers.
She’ll put her head on your shoulder.

Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
Margaret Atwood

In the secular night

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It’s two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grape juice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.

Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it’s baby lima beans.
It’s necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You’d be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.

There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn’t now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone’s been run over.
The century grinds on

Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
George Edward Hart

A year gone by

The day your door slams shut forever
Your voice no longer sings throughout our home,
Your hazel case will enfold me never,
Your aging cherished body has become
A memory of my arm about you shoulder.
The eve before, under the sunset dome
We watch Monarchs and humming birds endeavour
To sip the nectar, while the holly/like holm
Spreads insist evergreen leaves, and we declare
A new age to look at birds and flowers;
For our children and grandchildren spare,
Far though they be, our caring hours.
But now my lonely heart so often veer
Between the happy past you gave and present tears.

Arctic sky

Green the flares of northern lights,
Muted green the moon trail,
Sombre red the moon glow edge,
Blood on the moon! At world top
The stars and planet zoom:
The moon is fine crystal;
Venus is a helicopter headlight.
Clouds of washed pink, piercing purple
And black glower a gathering storm.
A polar mear resumes his stately walk.
Watch, your soul is magnified.

A murder of crows

A murder of crows happened in Leaside:
They single filed the telephone wires
And commandeered the trees.
Flapping, swerving, changing places;
Each look alike strutted
And had his say with others.
Here was merriment to mock the world.
An old man threw back his head in laughter;
He was a boy again.
At the front door a women clapped her hands
To drive away the raucous intruders.

Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
Stojanka Radenovic Petkovic

Culture multiplied

We are setting the scene for
our play Multiculturalism
Actors chose their props
They know by heart their roles
clothe themselves with native grace.

Soon actors will weave
coloured threads of their cultures
into the huge canvas of Canada
No entrance ticket no seat number
For this celebratory play is necessary

Because all are actors and viewers
unique and common but multicultural
in a whirl of many celebrations
The Canadian canvas becomes
sparkling white

* * *

To those who tell me
Your language is a small one
Meaningless and unnecessary
Beside those world languages
I answer them readily that
The language is a great one only
If you say in that language
Something significant great and truthful

And if in that great language no finger
Is held on trigger firing at you
Threats irony and diminishing
If that language is not darting poison
But wisdom is spoken and it is telling
Us poems of sadness love and happiness.

About freedom

In the tightness of my words
I’m free of any other bonds
I know freedom is not to be given
By someone from somewhere
There’s no chainless kindness.

In my voice I remain
deaf and silent and resolute
That’s how I perform freedom
In a Life Company that teaches
Those behind and those in front of us.

Ontario writers
30. 12. 2017
Margaret Atwood


By Margaret Atwood published Saturday, July 1. 2017

Canada country is not just its people and places, but its stories. On the
occasion of Canada’s sensquicenter The Globe and Mail has invited a
group of writers – from home and abroad – to celebrate the country’s his-
tory fiction. The results will be published throughout the course of 2017.

Paper was fluttering down from the sky. Typed pages, blanks, ticker-
tape, hole puncher confetti, streamers – it was like a blizzard! Where
did it come from? Who had been saving it all up over the past five years?
And to think of the trouble we had getting enough paper for Our-
sonette, Al thought bitterly. We had to grovel, we had to deal, we had
to steal, we practically sold our souls. And for what?
Sourpuss, he told himself. It’s the end of the war. You should be
happy. Everyone else is.
At least he’s got the day off: around eleven, Canadian Pacific hade
called it quits. As soon as he stepped out the door he’d found himself
shouldering his way through a surging mass of grinning, singing hu-
manity. Women and men were still pouring onto Yonge Street from
office buildings and side streets: dozens, hundreds, multiplying by the
second. The noise was deafening: drums, bugles, bagpipes, tin horns,
rattling New Year’s Eve noisemakers, anything that could be whacked
or blown. Hit tunes blared from Victory Loan loudspeakers. Some-
where in the distance – was that a hymn? Abide With Me: doleful
enough for him. He wasn’t in the mood for Glenn Miller.
The sky was blue, the sun was shining. That did nothing to cheer
him up. Overhead, a couple of RCAF mosquitoes were showing off,
wing-dipping and buzzing the Lancaster bomber that was dumping
more paper into the air. Flags everywhere: the Canadian Red Ensign,
the Union Jack, the Stars and Stripes, the Hammer and Sickle, the Chi-
nese flag; the French one, the Polish one, others he was vague about.
Faces on posters: the King and Queen, serene; Churchill scowling;
FDR grinning widely, even though he was dead; Uncle Joe with his
tiger smile. Some Chinese guy. A group of dancers, hand in hand;
couples locked in embrace. A barbershop quartet in uniform, man-
gling The White Cliffs of Dover. He might have been among them if
his feet weren’t so flat and his lungs had been better, though recently
they’d been accepting men scrawnier than him.
Well, he’d done his bit anyway: Oursonette was good for morale,
especially in the beginning when things had been going so badly. Our-
sonette brought a smile amid the gloom. She stiffened the resolve. Sev-
eral letter-writers had told him that.
“Look out where you’re going,” said a voice. He was jostled roughly
aside, but then he was grabbed and kissed. His face came away wet:
tears, not his. Some girl weeping with joy. He rubbed his mouth: who
else she’d been kissing?
Now there was an uproarious old geezer with a bottle, no tie or hat,
his fly undone, offering him a drink. He turned down, because it could
be home brew, and “blind drunk” meant something.
A streetcar moved past him at the speed of a slug, a bunch of teen-
agers clinging to the front, waving at him, stretching out their hands.
“Hop on!” they yelled. He’d never done such a thing at their age, and it
was too late now. He was twenty-one, old enough to know better.
“Hey Four-eyes, how about a smooch?” A CWAC, in uniform, hair
mussed, lipstick like raspberries mashed around her mouth. She ought
to know better, too, though the women who joined the CWAC were
definitely loose, or so it was said.
Not all of them though: Oursonette was SWAC, and she was a hero-
ine. No man could get near her because she had to save her powers for
fighting Nazi spies. She’d been so pure, so brave. What would become
of her now? Would she be scrapped for parts, like a ruined tank? It was
so unfair.
He picked his way along King Street West, going against the flow.
His feet hurt as they frequently did. Finally he reached the Pickering
Hotel. It was the hangout for the inky boys; you could usually find
some of them in there, stoking themselves up before hitting the draw-
ing board again. Il you were fulltime the pace could be blistering.
The place was half-empty – everyone was out celebrating, he sup-
posed – but Gloria and Mike were at their regular table. They used the
place as their impromptu office. Gloria was drinking a cup of the burnt
toast crumbs and charred grain that the Pickering liked to term coffee.
Mike was finishing of a beer and a hamburger, mustard smearing his
chin. Al never touched those hamburger, not since Mike told him that
the meat was ground-up pig snouts. Then he said it was a joke, but Al
wasn’t so sure about that. Mike didn’t care much what he put into his
“Hi, boy genius, how’s tricks?” Mike said. Al wished he would crew
and swallow before talking.
“Hi, boy genius, how’s tricks?” Mike said. Al wished he would chew
and swallow before talking.
“Join us, Al,” said Gloria.
“Why are you eating that?” Al slid into the booth. He’d have to order
something – the Pickering frowned on free setting. He’d opt for the
orange Jell-O, even though Mike said it was made out of horse’s hooves.
“Because he’s hungry,” said Gloria in her husky voice. She blew out
smoke from under her wavy blonde Veronica Lake side flop, extruding
her lips into a red O. “He’s always hungry, He’s a growing boy.” She
smiled at Mike as if he was a two year old and had done a cute thing
just by eating, which was how she always smiled at him.
That annoyed Al – what was so special about Mike except that he
knew how to draw? Other than that he was quiet stupid: Gloria was the
brains behind Canoodle Features. She picked the artists, she okayed
the ideas, she supervised the printing, the distribution, the ads. She
kept the books. She’d inherited the business , which had printed signs,
posters, and streetcar ads before the war, so she’d already known the
“I’m getting back in shape,” said mike. “As a carnivore. Now that the
war’s over we’re going to see a lot of meat. At explosion of meat! It’ll be
like someone dropped this enormous meat bomb!”
“I can hardly wait,” said Gloria. “No more meat tokens! Roast lamb,
that’s my favourite.”
“We’re sunk,” Al Said.
“What?” Mike said. “What d’you mean, sunk? We just won the dad-
ratted war!” He’d been told by Gloria not to swear around her, not real
swearing, so most of the time he didn’t.
“Who do you mean by ‘we’?” said Gloria to Al. She was no dumb
bunny, except in the matter of Mike.
“Mike means the allies. I mean us,” said Al. “All of us. You and
Mike. Canoodle Features. The rest of them, too: Bell and Wow, Johnny
Canuck, Nelvana, the works. And Oursonette.”
“But Oursonette’s doing great!” said Mike. “The fan club – it doubled
since the last issue! And the numbers are great too! Right, Gloria?”
“Twenty thousand copies,” said Gloria. “Maybe twenty-five, I’ll
know in a week. Not as good as Bell’s numbers, but we’re climbing.”
She paused, gave Al a level look. “Or we were climbing, until now.”
The last episode of Oursonette had indeed been a triumph: she’d
parachuted behind enemy lines in her nifty fur-trimmed outfit with
the short skirt that enemy lines in her nifty fur-trimmed outfit with
the short skirt that showed a lot of leg – “Show more leg,” Gloria had
said – and her fur-topped boots. Then, after an interlude when she’d
been captured, tied up, and almost brutally tortured, she’d called on
her two bear allies, broken free of her bonds with their aid, changed
into her white bear form, and subdued a whole nest full of enemy
She wasn’t allowed to actually kill them – that would have been
too unfeminine, said Gloria – but she’d tied them up in bundles,
using telegraph wire, and she and her two bear allies had carted them
through the lines, dodging machine-gun bullets and artillery fire –
dubba dubba dubba, ack-ack-ack! After another narrow escape, she’d
met up with the Brits and Canucks under the command of Field Mar-
shall Montgomery, drown by Al from a newspaper photo. She’d then
switched back into her human form.
“got a little present for you, boys,” she’d said. She was charmingly
offhand about her own heroic exploits.
“Oursonette! How can we thank you?” they’d said, as they usually did.
“No need,” Oursonette had said. “We’re winning! That’s thanks
enough. Au revoir!” Oursonette often said “Au revoir!” Her name was
more or less French, which was good because Al was partial to the Van
Doos, especially since Ortona. “Au revoir” was the only French thing
Oursonette ever said, but you got the idea.

30. 12. 2017
Damir Malesev

Lazarus Heart

He looked beneath his shirt today
There was a wound in his flesh so deep and wide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside
He turned around to face his mother
To show her the wound in his breast that burned like a brand
But the sword that cut him open
Was the sword in his mother’s hand

Every day another miracle
Only death will tear us apart
To sacrifice a life for yours
I’d be the blood of the Lazarus heart
The blood of the Lazarus heart

Though the sword was his protection
The wound itself would give him power
The power to remake himself
at the time of his darkest hour
She said the wound would give him courage and pain
The kind of pain that you can’t hide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside

Every day another miracle
Only death will keep us apart
To sacrifice a life for yours
I’d be the blood of the Lazarus heart
The blood of the Lazarus heart

Birds on the roof of my mother’s house
I’ve no stones that chase them away
Birds on the roof of my mother’s house
Will sit on my roof some day
They fly at the window, they fly at the door
Where does she get the strength to fight them anymore
She counts all her children as a shield against the pain
Lifts her eyes to the sky like a flower in the rain

Every day another miracle
Only death will keep us apart
To sacrifice a life for yours
I’d be the blood of the Lazarus heart
The blood of the Lazarus heart

The wild sea

I saw it again this evening
Black sail in a pale yellow sky
And just as before, in a moment
It was gone where the grey gulls fly.

If it happens again I shall worry
That only a strange ship could fly
And my sanity scanned the horizon
In the light of a darkening sky.

That night as I walked in my slumber
I waded into the sea strand
And I swam with the moon and her lover
Until I lost sight of the land.

I swam till the night became morning
Black sail in a reddening sky
Found myself on the deck of a rolling ship
So far where no grey gulls fly.

All around me was silence
As if mocking my frail human hopes
And a question mark hung in the canvas
For the wind that had died in the ropes.

I may have slept for an hour
I may have slept for a day
For I woke in a bed of white linen
And the sky was the colour of clay.

At first just the rustle of canvas
And the gentlest breath on my face
Then a galloping line of white horses
Said that soon we were in for a race.

The gentle sigh turned to a howling
And the grey sky she angered to black
As my anxious eyes searched the horizon
And the gathering sea at my back.

Did I see the shade of a sailor
On the bridge through the wheelhouse pane
Holding fast to the wheel of the rocking ship
As I squinted my eyes in the rain
For the ship had turned into the wind
Against the storm to brace
And underneath the sailor’s hat
I saw my father’s face.

If a prayer today is spoken
Please offer it for me
When the bridge to heaven is broken
And you’re lost on the wild wild sea.

Translated from Serbian by author

30. 12. 2017
Anush Ana Balayan

Avala settles

I remember you,
White stone city,
Through the memories
To your Majesty.

Sava became muddy.
Avala settles,
Mother’s heart’s
Danube shrinks.


Serbia, You were a refuge to many
In moments
When you were choking on your own blood.

Torn by the unworthy degenerates,
Still, you are a useful piece.
If at least a proud eagle ripped you apart!
But no! You are ripped by pitiful ravens.

Blood drips from your heart,
You have a close sister,
At least we are not alone in this life,
Let me wipe your eyes from tears.

Above the Ruins of Belgrade

Nothing has changed.
What has being demolished,
It remained the same, unrepaired.
And wounds are bloody
The eyes are sad
And the sky is gray.

Changes of
Just the speakers.
Changes of
Just the lying methods.
A century has passed,
So, has the millennium.
Human suffering left
The same and unchanged.

Belgrade 1999

Translated from Serbian by Radomir Baturan

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Претплатите се и дарујте независни часописи Људи говоре, да бисмо трајали заједно


Људи говоре је српски загранични часопис за књижевност и културу који излази у Торонту од 2008.године. Поред књижевности и уметности, бави се свим областима које чине културу српског народа.

У часопису је петнаестак рубрика и свака почиње са по једном репродукцијом слика уметника о коме се пише у том броју. Излази 4 пута годишње на 150 страна, а некада и као двоброј на 300 страна.

Циљ му је да повеже српске писце и читаоце ма где они живели. Његова основна уређивачка начела су: естетско, етичко и духовно јединство.


Мило Ломпар
главни и одговорни уредник
(Београд, Србија)

Радомир Батуран
уредник српске секције и дијаспоре
(Торонто, Канада)

Владимир Димитријевић
оперативни уредник за матичне земље
(Чачак, Србија)

Никол Марковић
уредник енглеске секције и секретар Уредништва
(Торонто, Канада)

Уредници рубрика

Александар Петровић
Београд, Србија

Небојша Радић
Кембриџ, Енглеска

Жељко Продановић
Окланд, Нови Зеланд

Џонатан Лок Харт
Торонто, Канада

Жељко Родић
Оквил, Канада

Милорад Преловић
Торонто, Канада

Никола Глигоревић
Торонто, Канада


Душица Ивановић

Сања Крстоношић

Александра Крстовић

Графички дизајн

Антоније Батуран

Технички уредник

Радмило Вишњевац


Часопис "Људи говоре"
The Journal "People Say"

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т: 416 823 8121

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