Dejan Stojanovic

Dejan Stojanovic was born in Pec, Kosovo (the former Yugoslavia), in 1959. Although a lawyer by education, he has never practiced law and instead became a journalist. He is a poet, essayist, philosopher, and businessman and published six critically acclaimed books of poetry in Serbia: Circling, The Sun Watches the Sun, The Sign and Its Children, The Shape, The Creator, and Dance of Time. In 1986, as a young writer, he was recognized among 200 writers at the Bor (former Yugoslavia) Literary Festival. He also received the prestigious Rastko Petrovic Award from the Society of Serbian Writers for his book of interviews with major European and American artists and writers. In addition to poetry and prose, he has worked as a correspondent for the Serbian weekly magazine Pogledi (Views). His book of interviews from 1990 to 1992 in Europe and America, entitled Conversations, included interviews with several major American writers, including Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow, Charles Simic, and Steve Tesic. He has been living in Chicago since 1990.

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Absolute equals nothingness.
A smiling lie is a whirlwind, easy to enter, but hard to escape.
A star needs a star.
A word into the silence thrown always finds its echo somewhere where silence opens hidden lexicons.
Absolute is a game with only one player where Absolute forgets itself so it would have a reason to fulfill the motion while returning.
After Homer and Dante, is a whole century of creating worth one Shakespeare?
Arrival in the world is really a departure and that, which we call departure, is only a return.
Before the first before and after the last after, there is night waiting.
Christ did not ask or want to be what he was not.
Creating means living.
Darkness does not age; nothing is always nothing.
Stars are only the rain of the Absolute.
A big desire is not enough to meet the expectations of lost dreams.
A breeze, a forgotten summer, a smile, all can fit into a storefront window.
A hidden spark of the dream sleeps in the forest and waits in the celestial spheres of the brain.
Accidents are not accidents but precise arrivals at the wrong right time.
All swallows all. Life must eat life to survive.
Although all days are equally long regardless of the season, some days are long not only seasonally but by rewards they offer.
Art is apotheosis; often, the complaint of beauty.
Based on the law of probability, everything is possible because the sheer existence of possibility confirms the existence of impossibility.
Burning the witch Giordano Bruno is one more wound inflicted on Christ’s body.
Color is the overpowering of black; white – the final victory over black.
Come out from within yourself, speak out.
Cosmos is God, who whispered the syllable of life.
Courage is more important than to be deceived by shallow victory waiting for a delayed defeat.
Creators of history always play with our impotence and our ignorance.
Devil and God are two sides of the same face.
Don’t pay attention to those who offer too much.
Dreams are our only geography—our native land.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. Is that all?
Either all lights are turned off or one inner light is missing.
Every thought about death takes a moment of life away.
Everybody talks, but there is no conversation.
For a moment at least, be a smile on someone else’s face.
Holy books are an insult to a God with good intentions.
I wanted to write the most beautiful poem But that is impossible; The world has written its own.
In the essence of truth lies deceit. Deceit dispels the boredom of the Absolute.
Procreation annihilates eternity.
Serious affairs and history are carefully laid snares for the uninformed. Serious affairs and history are carefully laid snares for the uninformed.
Strangers are endearing because you don’t know them yet.
There are countless circles of hell; believers never penetrate the ninth circle.
There can be no forced inspiration.
Without space, there is no time.
A word only writes its night and rides its dream.
All dust is the same dust. Temporarily separated to go peacefully and enjoy the eternal nap.
Although personal calling I sense—who am I? even if I am, I don't know.
And this that you call solitude is in fact a big crowd.
And what does infinity mean to you? Are you not infinity and yourself?
Be aware of the high notes, of the blissful faces and their soft messages, and listen for the silent message of a highly decorated gift.
Beauty is a cheap word, but beauty remains priceless.
Beyond all vanities, fights, and desires, omnipotent silence lies.
Busy with the ugliness of the expensive success we forget the easiness of free beauty lying sad right around the corner, only an instant removed, unnoticed and squandered.
Death swallows death.
Deliver thunder, God, if you choose not to talk.
Description is a story well told already; experience offers truth.
Different languages, the same thoughts; servant to thoughts and their masters.
Digressions are part of harmony, deviations too.
Disease often comes with a smiling face.
Do not look too far for you will see nothing.
Dream by making and make by dreaming.
Earth is the source of light.
Either you will be you or you will not be at all.
Entering a cell, penetrating deep as a flying saucer to find a new galaxy would be an honorable task for a new scientist interested more in the inner state of the soul than in outer space.
Eternity is a glorious word but eternity is ice.
Even great men bow before the Sun; it melts hubris into humility.
Even if you are alone you wage war with yourself.
Every man needs his Siren to check his courage and strength when he hears her song in his travels through the unknown.
Every scent is the sun’s scent.
Every star was once darker than the night, before it awoke.
Everything and nothing are the same in the Absolute.
Everything that looks too perfect is too perfect to be perfect.
Existence is the end of endless eternity without a beginning or an end.
Faith is a question of eyesight; even the blind can see that.
Fly without wings; dream with open eyes.
For a game, you don’t need a teacher.
Forget decorated generals, tell me about Private Ryan.
From everything, nothing looks to nothing.
From nothing comes everything.
From one bell all the bells toll.
From what you didn’t say, lies that you did say.
From whichever side I start, I think I am in an old place where others have been before me.
Get close to grass and you’ll see a star.
Get out, but don't cause unneeded accidents.
God always remains silent.
God is a cloud from which rain fell.
God is busy and has no time for you.
Good is not always good.
Great poets are great copy editors.
He confided his deepest secret to you; be always wary of his secret.
He did not profess to anybody how to reach others without professing.
He did not waste time in a vain search for a place in history.
He had an answer to almost everything and he retired at an early age.
He thought others were small; that was his greatness.
He tries to find the exit from himself but there is no door.
He will understand when it is too late that it is easier to love.
Heavenly bodies are nests of invisible birds.
His Highness was always confident in his statements, especially about what he viewed for the first time.
History will be erased in the universal purgatory.
How alive is thought, invisible, yet without thought there is no sight.
How does one say something new and not retell?
How many unuttered words died in the heads of those for whom a word was too expensive.
I can see myself before myself—a being through dark scenery.
I fly through memory to find a newborn love.
I imagined I was God for a millisecond and became speechless for a long time.
I lose faith in mathematics, logical and rigid. What with those that even zero doesn’t accept?
I recreate myself; that is my only power.
I visited many places, some of them quite exotic and far away, but I always returned to myself.
If an ancient man saw planes two thousand years ago, he would've thought they were birds or angels from another world.
If birth is a manifestation of life, death is another.
If emptiness is empty, how can something be borne or awaken from it?
If emptiness is endless, then everything rests in emptiness.
If unjustified, ambition kills value, eats its own life, kills someone else's desire to fly, cuts their wings, sucks their air.
If what we think of ourselves were true, the planet would overflow with geniuses. They blossomed; they did not talk about blossoming. They grew; they did not talk about growing.
If you are good, they say you are weak.
If you could have walked on the planet before humans lived here, maybe the Ivory Coast would have seemed more beautiful than La Côte d'Azur.
In an endless silence even screams sound silent.
In every moment the past is born and the present flows into the future, taking the moment that already passed.
In every sound sleeps the silence.
In greatness, life and death merge.
In the end, the world returns to a grain.
In the lie of truth lies the truth.
In trying to be perfect, he perfected the art of anonymity.
Infinity is the end. End without infinity is but a new beginning.
Into the day as by dream I swim to the music of nourished meaning.
Is it possible to write a poem or are these words just screams of outlaws exiled to the desert?
It is beautiful to express love and even more beautiful to feel it.
It is beautiful to talk about beautiful things and even more beautiful to silently gaze at them.
It is easy to see the glow but hard to recognize the awakening of silence.
It is futile to spend time telling stories about the fleetness of each day.
It is vain futility to analyze the algebra of time.
It’s not easy to write a poem about a poem.
Knighthood lies above eternity; it doesn’t live off fame, but rather deeds.
Life eats life to live.
Life into death—life’s other shape, no rupture, only crossing.
Life is only a flicker of melted ice.
Long ago an uncalled rain fell and a called-upon God stayed equally distant.
Long ago we conquered our passions looking at ourselves in the mirror of eternity.
Love is almost never simple.
Mathematics doesn’t care about those beyond the numbers.
My feelings are too loud for words and too shy for the world.
My mathematics is simple: one plus one = one.
Nature is an outcry, unpolished truth; the art—a euphemism—tamed wilderness.
Neither alive nor dead; no one lets up, no one wins.
New Rome will be destroyed by the attacks of new vandals.
New vandals will destroy what former vandals failed to abolish.
Nothing is inanimate; what is the rest is our interpretation.
Nothing is made, nothing disappears. These are the old truths. The same changes, at the same places, never stopping.
Nothing is part of everything.
Nothing reminds us of an awakening more than rain.
Now that we are all so smart, we don’t easily find resolutions.
Oblivion cures the old wounds.
Omnipotence and omniscience are the end of power and knowledge.
One hand I extend into myself, the other toward others.
Our desire to say more grows bigger and what to say about it, except that saying is not always about saying, growing is not always about growing.
Our eternity is not real; it resembles us; it is our own invention; its scent is vanity.
Perfection seems sterile; it is final, no mystery in it; it's a product of an assembly line.
Pose your questions to people and you will get countless useless answers.
Possible impossibility emerges from an impossible possibility, or possibly, impossible possibility blooms from the impossibly possible impossibility.
Possible is more a matter of attitude, a matter of decision, to choose among the impossible possibilities, when one sound opportunity becomes a possible solution.
Pretense cannot sustain blind power.
Say No! Accept the burdens of revenge.
Senses empower limitations, senses expand vision within borders, senses promote understanding through pleasure.
Since nothing is absolute, there is no absolute silence, only an appearance of temporary peace.
Since there is no real silence, silence will contain all the sounds, all the words, all the languages, all knowledge, all memory.
Sound unbound by nature becomes bounded by art.
Statesmen are grocers, ambitious clowns.
Sun is a hearthstone, a merry-go-round of extinguished hearthstones.
Teaching others, he corrected himself.
Tell me something only you know and make a new friend.
The deeper thought is, the taller it becomes.
The eyesight for an eagle is what thought is to a man.
The farther away, the closer the home becomes.
The game itself is bigger than the winning.
The holy world glows like a lightening bug.
The light teaches you to convert life into a festive promenade.
The most complicated skill is to be simple.
The same word we love and hate, leaves in different directions, taking different paths.
The universe is God’s son.
The world cannot be translated; it can only be dreamed of and touched.
The world contained in a seed is determined by its program.
The world is a fairy tale; we are its guardians.
The world is a navy in an empty ocean.
The world is always open, waiting to be discovered.
The world is God’s salvation.
There are many secrets; don’t try to resolve them all.
There are no clear borders, only merging invisible to the sight.
There are no winners in real games.
There is a moonlight note in the Moonlight Sonata; there is a thunder note in an angry sky.
There is another alphabet, whispering from every leaf, singing from every river, shimmering from every sky.
There is no born lover, there is no born Don Juan, for we are all lovers.
There is no competition of sounds between a nightingale and a violin.
There is nobody to wake up eternal seekers.
There is only as much space, only as much time, only as much desire, only as many words, only as many pages, only as much ink to accept all of us at light-speed hurrying into the Promised Land of oblivion that is waiting for us sooner or later.
There is something perfect to be found in the imperfect: the law keeps balance through the juxtaposition of beauty, which gains perfection through nurtured imperfection.
They are both spectacular, life and death.
They will smile, as they always do when they plan a major attack late in the night.
This dwarf still observes the world from his own self-imposed height.
Those who hate rain hate life.
Through a forest of challenges, thought moves and squirms, resisting beguilements; if it endures, it emerges pure.
Through words to the meaning of thoughts with no words.
To accomplish the perfect perfection, a little imperfection helps.
To come to nothing through something is the way to outside from both sides.
To cut and tighten sentences is the secret of mastery.
To dream on occasion is not dreaming; to love on occasion is not love.
To expect to be kissed having bad breath is the secret of a fool.
To go against the grain is the secret of bravery.
To go where no one else has ever gone before is the secret of heroism.
To hide feelings when you are near crying is the secret of dignity.
To jump over centuries in one step is impossible. Jump too high or far, you’ll be way too late.
To keep the air fresh among words is the secret of verbal cleanliness.
To leave out beautiful sunsets is the secret of good taste.
To not say all that can be said is the secret of discipline and economy.
To risk life to save a smile on a face of a woman or a child is the secret of chivalry.
To say more while saying less is the secret of being simple.
To the knights of faith nobody believes.
To transform a grimace into a sound sounds impossible, yet it is possible to transform a vision into music, to go outside an enslaved personality, to become impersonal by transforming into sand, into water, into light.
To understand possible means to understand impossible.
To write good poems is the secret of brevity.
Too often, feelings arrive too soon, waiting for thoughts that often come too late.
Total knowledge is annihilation of the desire to see, to touch, to feel the world sensed only through senses and immune to the knowledge without feeling.
Truth is hard-hearted and unrelenting, too clear, precise; a lie is much more imaginative.
Trying too hard to be too good, even when trying to be bad, is too good for the bad, too bad for the good.
Two forces create eternity – a fairy tale and a dream from the fairy tale.
Unborn eternity does not die; existence is dying and falls asleep in the eternity beyond existence.
Universe is the Sun watching its own self.
Vandals listen only when others are stronger. If vandals are equal or stronger, their word is the last word.
We built tall buildings, but we have not become any taller.
We don’t know anything about silent sages, buried knowledge, the eye of the mute poet, serene seers, yet how many talkative destroyers, prophets and ideologues, teachers and beautifiers there are on the other side.
We forget old stories, but those stories remain the same.
We hear only our own voices, still echoes returning to our emptiness.
We like to admit to only that which already glows, although it is nobler to support brightness before it glows, not afterwards.
We love the imperfect shapes in nature and in the works of art, look for an intentional error as a sign of the golden key and sincerity found in true mastery.
We measure everything by ourselves with almost a necessary conceit.
We need knew knights, but without swords.
We traveled long and forgot why poetry was invented.
We will go far away, to nowhere, to conquer, to fertilize until we become tired. Then we will stop and there will be our home.
What we call life is only talk of nature.
What you gain here, you lose on the other side.
What you spend, you save.
Whatever others may say, they say it to deceive and comfort themselves, not help you.
When all is lost, there is still a memory.
When everything hurries everywhere, nothing goes anywhere.
When following God, Zero we never find.
When he is most powerful, nothing does he become.
When I want to be reminded of stupidity, especially my own, I turn on the TV.
When magic through nerves and reason passes, imagination, force, and passion will thunder. The portrait of the world is changed.
When the long bygone Lee Po wanted to say something, he could do it with only a few words.
When the star dies, its eye closes; tired of watching, it flies back to its first bright dream.
When there is noise and crowds, there is trouble; when everything is silent and perfect, there is just perfection and nothing to fill the air.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.
Wherever I go, I run into myself.
Wherever there is somebody else, a war is not far away.
While gazing at myself from yourself, I was beautiful.
While the world sleeps, darkness and silence are awake.
Why poetry, you ask? Because of life, I answer.
Will the day tell its secret before it disappears, becomes timeless night.
With me: one minus one = one; with you: it’s zero. Here lies the only difference.
With open eyes, you watch; with closed eyes, you see.
Without nothing, everything would be nothing.
Without pleasure there is no sight or measure.
Words rich in meaning can be cheap in sound effects.
You are hurrying to the sweet place, to the nonsense chasing your spirit and in the nonsense you look for answers.
You don’t know anything, but I know even less.
You mark and celebrate errors, transforming failures into successes.
You not only are hunted by others, you unknowingly hunt yourself.
Your head is a lit chamber.

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