frankmatter

Ferko. poem by Gabriele Tinti. translation by David Graham

Lety1

Ferko is the diminutive of František, a Slovak Rom singer who, along with his sister, was born with a terrible genetic disease: osteogenesis imperfecta. It is a disease that made him blind and restricts him to a wheelchair. Subject to continuous bone fractures, he is fragile, deformed and completely dependent on others.

His optimism and will to live however led him to have a relationship with an able-bodied girl. A child was born of their relationship, who Ferko – after the constant pressure his partner’s family put on her to leave a man ‘like that,’ a handicapped man – decided to part from after just one year of life. The couple’s relationship had been a tormented one, with the young mother depressed and inclined towards suicide, divided between her own mother’s pressure and her new life of responsibility. Four years after the couple separated, the baby died tragically, run down by a car.

Ferko Ďud’a and his sister Martina took part in Cristiano Berti’s art project ‘Lety’, which in 2009 led the brother and sister to make a commemoration for the victims of the concentration camp of that name, place of imprisonment during the Nazi occupation of more than 1000 Rom who were then transferred and exterminated in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. The artistic project consists of a video, four photographs, ten recordings of songs and a text with the transcript of a conversation. The poem “Ferko” focuses on the personal tragedy of the Rom singer. The author thanks Cristiano Berti, whose work was this poem’s inspiration.

Ferko

it was a long
time ago

I had my love

she was beautiful
I could not
see her
but hear
her, yes

I heard
her soft
voice
and our hearts
orbiting
in unison

it was a long
time ago

and it lasted
a year
only
a year

I had a son
now no more

one day
coming home
from school
a car
ran him down

I had a son
even though
I’ve never wanted
to talk about him

his grandmother
always criticized
his mother

she used to say
but how can you
stay with a cripple
a blind man
a man like that

it was a long
long time ago

I went away
from there

and then he went too
he who was
five years old
five years old.

Ferko è il diminutivo di František, cantante Rom slovacco che, assieme alla sorella, nasce con una terribile malattia genetica: la osteogenesi imperfetta. Malattia che lo costringe cieco e su di una sedia a rotelle, soggetto a continue fratture ossee, fragile, deforme e completamente dipendente dagli altri.
La sua positività e voglia di vivere lo porta comunque ad avere una relazione con una ragazza normodotata. Da quella relazione nasce un bambino che Ferko – in seguito alle continue pressioni che la famiglia della compagna fanno su di lei affinché lasci un uomo “fatto così”, un uomo handicappato – decide di abbandonare dopo appena un anno di vita. Una relazione tormentata la loro, essendo lei in continua crisi depressiva, incline al suicidio e divisa tra le pressioni della madre e la nuova vita di responsabilità. Quattro anni dopo la loro separazione il bambino muore tragicamente, investito da un’auto.

Ferko Ďud’a, assieme alla sorella Martina, ha preso parte al progetto d’arte “Lety” di Cristiano Berti che, nel 2009, ha portato i due fratelli ad una commemorazione per le vittime dell’omonimo campo di concentramento, luogo di prigionia, durante l’occupazione nazista, per più di 1000 Rom poi trasferiti e sterminati nel campo di Auschwitz-Birkenau. Il progetto artistico è composto da un video, quattro fotografie, dieci registrazioni di canzoni e un testo con la trascrizione di una conversazione. La poesia “Ferko” di Gabriele Tinti, pur ispirandosi al lavoro dell’artista che l’autore ringrazia, non tratta di tutto ciò ma si concentra sulla tragedia personale del cantante Rom.

Ferko

è stato
molto tempo fa

avevo l’amore

lei era bella
non potevo
vederla
ma sentire
quello sì

sentivo
la sua voce
sottile
e i nostri cuori
orbitare
all’unisono

è stato
molto tempo fa

ed è durato
un anno
un anno
soltanto

avevo un figlio
ora non più

accadde un giorno
tornando a casa
da scuola
una macchina
lo travolse

avevo un figlio
anche se
non ho mai voluto
parlarne

criticava
sempre la madre
la nonna

le diceva
ma come fai
a stare con uno storpio
con un cieco
con un uomo così

è stato molto
molto tempo fa

me ne andai
da lì

e poi se ne andò lui
lui che aveva
cinque anni
cinque anni.

Gabriele Tinti is the author of “New York Shots” (Allemandi&C. 2011), “The way of the cross” (Allemandi&C. 2011) – both collaborations with Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor/director Michael Imperioli –, “Ring: the means of illusion” (Revolver, 2012) and of “It’s all over” (Danilo Montanari Editore, 2013, a collaboration with legendary actor and painter Burt Young). His books have been presented in Museums such as the Queens Museum of Art in NYC, the Triennale in Milan, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art  in Rome and the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston. His books have been acquired and can be viewed at some of the major museums of contemporary art in the world, among them the Castello di Rivoli, Torino/ Triennale, Milano/ MAMBO, Bologna/MACRO, Roma/ La Quadriennale di Roma – Roma/ ICP – International Center of Photography, New York/ Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv/ Institute of Art, Chicago/ Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid/Kunsthalle Basel/ MACBA, Barcelona/ Seattle Art Museum, Seattle. gabrieletinti.com

David Graham is a professional Italian-English translator. He mainly translates catalogues for art exhibitions and museums, such as the Venice Art Biennale and the Venice Fine Arts Academy, but also enjoys grappling with poetry. He grew up in New Zealand and moved to Europe in 1982. He now lives in Venice, Italy.

[photo by Cristiano Berti, Lety #1 (2009), Lambda print]

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This entry was posted on June 11, 2013 by in italian, photo, poetry, translation and tagged .

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