The Passage of Time

These few weeks have been hard ones for me.

Jaj, de pro khoča man tuke mangav,
de odmukh mange, so me kerdjom.

Author of the Month: Emil Cina

Emil Cina was born on 13 December 1947 in the Libeň quarter of Prague. His forebears came from Slovakia, from Kurim u Bardějova, where they owned agricultural estates and made their living trading horses. Mr Cina is the nephew of the famous Romani author Ilona Lacková. He trained as a milling-machine operator in the Auto Praga factory in the Vysočany region and after his military service, during which he was a tank operator, he delivered coal around Prague for 20 years with his brother and father.

“Through my poems I do my best to inspire Romani people not to forget Romanes. This is our language. It’s what keeps us together, which is why I do my best to preserve it,” Mr Cina said

bokhale mulenca / with hungry ghosts

The traumas my family suffered were like pebbles – hundreds of smooth, round, grey pebbles – stacking wearily on top of one another. This one a beating by the Hlinkova Garda; this one a week without food; this one a squalling baby gone silent and bloated in the night; this one and this one the SS Einsatzgruppen; all of them adding to the weight of their lives. Some were jagged – memories of loved ones faces, torn in terror; Dachau; Dysentery – cracking the smooth facade of life after.

Run – denašto

I’ve been thinking, thinking about running.

Maami and Papu fled the Holocaust, the hungry smoke nipping close at their heels. Viewed with suspicion and hatred, they weren’t welcome anywhere they set down. My father, born in the ragged blood-red dawn of a post-War world, fled the memories and the sadness in his parents eyes.

Baba and Papo fled their culture, hiding in the anonymity of assimilation. My mother, born in the smoke of bombed-out houses, fled the broken reality that surrounded her.

I ran too. Three hundred dollars, two suitcases, and one chance. I fled the suffocating, stagnant breath of arranged marriage, illiteracy, and poverty. I ran more than eight thousand miles on the promise of freedom and education.

Books. Words. Lives.


Our spirits are made of songs and our hearts are made of gold. We live in abject but picturesque poverty. We fear God and the police. We are passionate and indestructible.

We are childish, exotic, backwards, barbaric. Genetically averse to hygiene, education, and employment.

Nomadic, wild, primitive.

The embodiment of difference; of other.

Hunter to Hunted

Yesterday, I discovered (via Facebook) that someone was attempting to sell a shirt via the popular website “Zazzle” (an online retailer that allows users to upload images and create their own merchandise, or buy merchandise created by other users, as well as use images from participating companies), that was extremely offensive.