Irene Petrova's first book, The Gap to Paris (2016, published by Scalino), also addresses its title in Paris. The title suggests the intersection of urban distances with the direct poems and hints at the references on which streets the characters go. As a gap, he peers into the lives of Tomasz, Meredith, Melissa, and others. Through observations of the sketches of a character, both he and alter ego, he delves into unexplained plots in the familiar territories of feelings and desirable horizons of thought. Throughout his poetic stories, the book conveys a sense of movement, of playing with time, of tracing life along the axis of his emotional event, drawn from the outlines of his diary prose.
A cartographic reproduction of Paris cannot be searched for in the poem. But the city casts its shadow, promotes art and beat to meet, to untangle the thread from the orb of one or the other hero, to untie the knots of experience or empathy. Paris is reminiscent of a storytelling island, the stories that are directed, and their meaning. The city of verse collection seems to remember and resemble its many images of various works of art: Paris from the prose of Marguerite Duras, from the lyrics of Paul Verlaine, from the paintings of Gustave Kaibot and Edgar Degas. Already in the first poem, the Paris characterizes both the overturning and the dressing, the carnival and the theatrical - imputed as inherent in the world:
"The whole world is Moulin Rouge
everything is personal on the windows
kan-kan dances at every corner
cities glow in red. "
In the cabaret, identity is shattered, everything is hidden, the courtesans dance and intoxicated by their endless dance, sinking into the blinding light of oblivion. At the same time, the dance as a touch to the moment, the music of the moment in separate works are in tune with the state of memory:
"My past is ringing
in the wee hours of the night… "
"We come from the past.
We are walking on Rivoli…. "
Along the way, in the dance of life, seen from different angles, played out as in front of an audience, the hours are never equally short or equally long. Stretches and contractions depend on perception, on experience. It is significant that Irene Petrova chooses exactly the language of the dance for the premiere of the poem - to speak it, tell it and play it.
And through the cycles and their names, taken from individual poems, "Slot to Paris" tells of the accumulations of everyday life, from which we extract experience and knowledge, which are sometimes remembered by the proximity of their emotional response:
"I look back and wonder
when I felt alive
old feelings go through my body
five or six years ago
I had forgotten them today
are returning from the tomb… "
Apart from "stretching time" (between looking back into the past or looking at the other), another major theme in the roots of the poem is writing, which is perceived as a natural extension of the flowering of the imagination, but also as a motive for understanding the crust of reality. The pages serve as a scene from which Petrova, who has participated in several international festivals with the Alma Alter Theater Laboratory, calls for the recognition of her lyrical heroine - who remembers, dreams, writes, falls in love. Love, as well as writing, fall under the floodlight of the Gap to Paris, both of pleasure and contentment, of filling the cabaret world with meaning.
Falling in love goes through "I can make you long" to:
"I read you in the book,
which I write… "
The traces between words and feelings are erased - the path to verse. Biography disappears as a passerby on the boulevards of falling in love. Emerging love ignores social cues, emerges from the waters of particular situations, swims distances to Paris, or drowns in waves drawn by "underwater hands." The place also becomes a cabaret décor for those who "had nothing to do with Paris", as each "had his or her own Nower" - a city he fell in love with, tasted the fruits of the love he was in lost love so that "only the sweet memory" and the scars remain.
In the Gap to Paris, sweetness sometimes gives way to bitterness, to melancholic elements, to emptiness, to pain, to senselessness, to nightmarish memory, to unreality, to dark colors, to colorlessness. And the colors replicate movie scenes.
"You look at me,
as seen in Stalker or Mirror.
With endless patience,
you are returning to yourself.
Words lose their meaning.
Now you are the shot too,
who does not tremble.
Two movie scenes
My black and white spectrum
blurs in your colors. "
Although the poem relies on a wide emotional spectrum, it can be read through the metaphor of "two movie scenes" - through scenes of acceptance and repulsion, of loss and finding, of loss and discovery.
The last scene, seen through the gap, brings together all the stories, all the characters into one - in the common we. With the Paris poem, the last in the book, the cabaret closes. The curtains are lowered. The masks disappear. We have to live.
"We had to be dead
we did it
we were stealing rubies from corpses
and we showered on them
we disguised ourselves
we absorbed the horror
lest he devour us
it was on the news
just an hour ago
we live it now. "