Middle Age

The impending birthday makes the poem below even more real.

When I don’t blog, hop around, eat chocolate or annoy the dog, I translate. I have just translated several poems by my Slovenian poet friend who last summer wrote a lovely poem after we spent a day together with our packs at Lake Bled. The translated poem and post about it are here. He writes in Slovenian, I put it into English. A while ago he published his first book of poems in my translation in the USA.

Here is a new one, about the times that are irreversibly gone. The city in the poem and on the photos is Ljubljana where we both grew up, with two years between us. Which means he will be 50 sooner. 😀

White Ljubljana.

Middle Age, by Aleš Mustar

Translated by Manja Maksimovič

Never again smuggling jeans and bubble gum
nor feeling joy upon seeing the grey city light up for New Year’s
milk in plastic bags
black and white cartoons on TV
phone calls from public phone booths
people saying hello in waiting rooms.
No more parties on the shore with the guitar and saccharine songs
tokens for city bus
queues in front of kiosks with fries
mixed goods shops.
No more friendly innkeepers
who let you run a tab
no more giro accounts
and excuses that the bank was closed.
Only heaps of plastic
and the world like the screen of a smart phone
that has been turned off.

Aleš Mustar: Srednja leta

Nikoli več tihotapljenja kavbojk in žvečilnih gumijev,
občutka radosti ob novoletni okrasitvi sivega mesta,
mleka v vrečkah,
črno-belih risank,
telefonskih pogovorov v javnih govorilnicah,
pozdravljanja v čakalnicah.
Nič več zabav ob obali s kitaro in osladnimi pesmimi,
žetonov za mestni avtobus,
vrst pred kioski z ocvrtim krompirčkom,
trgovin z mešanim blagom.
Nič več prijaznih gostilničark,
ki dajejo zapitek na up,
nič več žiro računov in
izgovorov, da so banko zaprli.
Samo veliko plastike
in svet kot ugasnjen ekran
pametnega telefona.

Photo: © signature mmm

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Susanne says:

    This is a beautiful image to end the poem:
    “and the world like the screen of a smart phone
    that has been turned off.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Susanne. I’m glad you approve. 🙂


  2. maksi2016 says:

    No more Tajči
    nider New Kids On The Block nider Cypress Hill


    1. maksi2016 says:

      No more Tajči
      neither New Kids On The Block nor Cypress Hill

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bahahha, what a combo! NKOTB are again, and the singer of CH is very active and will tear down Zagreb in a month or so. As for Tajči, her story is sad. 😦


  3. Bob Ramsak says:


    I was just talking with my girlfriend yesterday about all the times we smuggled jeans and gum into YU/SLO during visits from the US.

    As someone with roots here but who grew up somewhere else, I didn’t live these moments in my regular day-to-day but I’m glad I was able to experience them during the visits we made in the 70s and 80s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bob. Yes, it was quite an experience, growing up there and then. Not sorry one bit. And I’m glad you had some of it too.


  4. Interesting poem of times gone by that’ll never come back – without sounding sad at all! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, SMSW. My friend would love hearing this. 🙂 I hope he sees it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. reocochran says:

    I loved the photo labeled “under the lime tree.” Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robin. 🙂 This is one of the oldest inns and possibly trees in Ljubljana, in Slovenian called Pod lipo. Lime (linden) is the national tree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. reocochran says:

        You’re welcome. I tend to run behind in checking comments. Thanks for the details about the inn, the trees and never realized Lime is also known as a Linden tree. Lovely to know! Smiles, Robin

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Leya says:

    Times gone by…yes…where dd they go? I am glad to have been there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leya. I caught them by the tail and will always be grateful for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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