Shock collar: a new poem by Sanja Grozdanic

, 20 July 2018

Shock collar

We don’t really know devotion anymore, I once said to a friend, as if I knew devotion.
We were talking about devotion because we were talking about Tarkovsky’s Stalker and I said, it is a film about devotion.
and my friend said, whatever. It is a film that ends with a woman’s forgiveness. I am so tired of women being the ones who are forgiving.
Women like a church, you come in to heal your hurt.

Its a fun game for the sinner but who wants to sit around dealing in absolution all day, clutching on to the promise of some kind of eternal reward, VIP line for heaven.
can you imagine that being worth it.
Spend a whole life time getting dressed up for a club with all your fellow suckers seems kind of desperate to me.
i’ll spit i won’t swallow.

This is not a time for grace this is a time for final acquisitions there is no grace to acquisition
and what is capitalism but another word
for terrible acquisition.

I do not know devotion but why should I know devotion?
it is an iron fist inside that velvet glove
it is an iron fist, it is not gentle.

But then. what else is there?
Are you satiated? I am always hungry.
I guess one could say our times are not very compatible with love
I guess we ought to be better.

When I decided dating men was a lesson in subjugation I stopped dating men
I have dealt forgiveness that I have come to regret and regret is the road to bitterness so I am no longer forgiving.

Love is not a vacation from life
love is just a part of it
but too much of it and it begins to feel
like something of a burden.

Grabljivica is a word in my mother tongue used to describe one who takes that which is not theirs who takes more than their fill.  
It is used to suggest a vulgarness, a spiritual greed, a decay.
This does not exist in english, a language that assumes that everything is for the taking.

Grabljivica literally translates to a bird of prey
Yugoslavia did not ennoble birds of prey
though the countries that remain of Yugoslavia are now filled with them.
What remains of Yugoslavia is a kind of haunting.

Grabljavica translates to a bird of prey but when I think of it I just think of a little girl. In my Grandma’s favourite story of me I pick all the raspberries from her bush, and I eat them out of my two hands clasped together.
My face is tinted red from it, when she tells me to share I say no.
No, these are my raspberries.

It is worth noting that the word is feminine; I have never heard the male form and I don’t think it exists. One can assume, then, that language considered the impulse feminine.
damning isn’t it, how labour is always painted as graceless.

When I learned English, the first word I loved was ravenous.
the raven is a lonely bird
lonelier even than the crow
neither are symbols for anything good
but the crow at least
does not fly alone.


Sanja Grozdanic is a writer living in London, whose work has been published by Art Metropole, Pilot Press, 032C, SSENSE and others. She is the editor and publisher of KRASS Journal.**