Sanja Dejanovic, Stills from video Konec, June 2020

Sanja Dejanovic

Alchemicalizing Garden and the Altar of Broken Things:
A Work in Three Stages


This piece delves into the psychosomatics of broken iterations. It arises with Spring when things see their rebirth through metamorphosis. The open-ended alchemical process of such psychosomatic metamorphosis shapes this three-part poem into early Summer. The poem explores how brokenness, broken things, and broken space-time can be transmuted. It shows that separation, irregularity, and imperfection enable relationality.

Keywords: spring; alchemical; garden; broken; transmutation

First: Seams

Spring commences one thing while reviving another,
nothing grows without holding its other in which it lay awaiting to begin

We are to each other reflective pools,
watering sources,
in what dark depths we reach each other, where we end up, is unknown,
the deeper we water, the more comes to the surface

Love is the weightlessness of floating upon a body of water,
gently being here in three thousand sounds,
a sparked body with iridescent suns,
becoming ready to emerge, to walk again,
barefooted, like in the place where you found me, that was then,

it is the watering of tombs, of those things both alive and dead,
of things between life and death


Sanja Dejanovic, Still from video Konec, June 2020


What has crawled, burrowed, and imperceptibly keeps within you,
returning you to routes and roots, guarding and guiding passage and nascency,
one and the same place of gestation,
where no longer and what is stirring are undecipherable,

in some we remain stuck, enclosing caverns for tumultuous seekers of rest,
some remembrances peer through from under the surface,
severing invisible seams fastened beneath the skin,

Spring is for reviving and planting seeds, it is when you met me,
in the flesh, where felt presences reverberate and recall,
replaying minutes that swim through my blood and shape the cadence of my heart

Each thing has the capacity to rouse images within you, to convey itself if you listen,
image within image within,
I still see you, like so many pictures every movement makes,
yours the color of purples and blues

What may grow of specters to the eye, but words sprinting across a gaze,
speeds as words made before they happen,
of this flesh only a memory remade, the past holds the eternally alluring selfsame

Instead, everything that can bloom allows a broken iteration to remain,
a flowering is a ceremony for the old and the new,
a ceremony for observing and inviting, for self-accepting and reopening,
for becoming able to.

Second: Spring and Early Summer

There are no things in themselves,
only jump-off points,
springs, letting-things for other things to happen,
for directions, speeds, and intensities of exchanges that shape us,
for barriers, delays, twists, returns, swerves, in wondrous and blemished beginnings,
a myriad of wandering rings and passageways taken,
deep bellow, far above,
maybe to Neptune

No smooth space exists as such,
each is itself fragments of localizations, combinations that movements intelligently convey,
each a blockage to total apprehension, to unimpeded and unlimited perception,
each the splendor and signature of separations,
places where love enters and leaves,
crevices from which to look inside and from which to emerge,
timely offerings made to a primeval force

What kind of house are you?
we uncover new rooms, landscapes, dwelling spaces in each other,
places to glimpse through, to see, to perceive,
we lend each other splices of film, broken sheaths of looking glass, and prisms,
to illuminate the moment and to hide behind,
to part the darkness that will soon lift,
to let the other see themselves, both vibrant and exhausted

As Rumi said, “If I really see you, I will laugh out loud, or fall silent,
or explode into a thousand pieces.
And if I don't, I will be caught in the cement and stone of my own prison.”[1]

Poetry breaks through exhaustion,
the belief that there is never enough time to sleep,
a bed is a resting place that holds, a prolonged preparation for an awaiting moment,
the house might not be built,
standing on the hill like a bed canopy pressed against an impenetrable wall

Placing yourself at a corner or cusp, you become an angle of receptive perception,
a widening middle way, neither going nor arriving,
evoking the scent, clarity, and crispness of dawn,
the freshness of morning dew lingering upon calm waters,
a window for gentle presence, somewhere to receive and to give,
being outermost where one shares the quiet confidence of thereness with another

Poetry, what is it in it that happens?
to make the present act when it is only ever emergence,
when it is the patient state of seeing,
do not all states act? do we not travel while staying in place?

Are things coming to you instead of you seeking them out?
what do you seek to happen, and what is happening?

Third: A Garden

The dead things and the birthing things coexist,
you teach unattainable idealism,
everything need not be connected, symbolically linked, meaningfully understood,
the chain the mind makes to place somewhere else dissolves,
a garden does not grow by mediation,
it is a relational reality

Everything in the quickness of time must be done by opposition,
suchness does not have opposition,
it does not seek perfect in what is deemed imperfect and incomplete,
it does not dispose,
it does not seek to fuse together,
it arranges without diminution, joins without destruction

To get in touch with things
you are to become the fluid tenderness that they are in their sheer simple striving,
meet them where they are, on whatever trajectory they are,

giving to each other, she releases the venom to touch me,
taking from each other, we find by the measure of wisdom we grant,
you speak to me without words,
we find each other in subtle gestures, breaths, sensations, and this place,
a kind of garden for leaping-falling,
for uncertain orientations

Watering, I seek to swim through you,
to be with you is to dive within you,
to linger inside you, like the innumerable fragments of relations already residing there,
to share your body, coiled around organs, tissues, nerves, and bones,
making them emerge outside of themselves,
in what way can they be stretched, in which ways can they move,
to sense me


Sanja Dejanovic, Still from video Konec, June 2020


Burrowing, like moles searching in subterranean darkness,
the form is something total out of the non-total, something resembling something else,
a garden has no figure, knows no figuration,

in this place we let go of the need for a figure, of conception and recognition,
and of the need to convey, of being asked to convey, of incessant telling-showing,
of the overwhelming, overpowering, burdening,
of the quickness of uttering what is what, which it is, how it is,
staying still, you don’t have to put pencil to paper,
nothing must be like so, or so,
things will anyway grow, stretching their limbs in the many directions

No form, no identifiable figure, only pieces, fragments, slivers,
it is the perpetually separating and fissured things that welcome new combinations,
anything as such belongs on the altar of broken things,
to notice, slow down,
like on the path you are walking, the lumen of ruptured things will show

The lines can be short, and still speak to each other at a distance,
stay by the length of your breath, no more, no less,

accept what is fractured, interruption and balancing go together,
we keep going, keep creating from within this place,
without mending, fixing, or discarding,
it will be or it will not, it’s always both at the same time,
we are holding a thread binding past and future,

you find respite at corners, gaps, and angles, where you are just as you are,
a pivoting and folding gateway that sees whatever is arriving to you

When gardening you abide with the emerging, nascent, budding,
nothing can expedite itself to your grasping as you do not have a claim on it,
it comes to you,
if you abandon it, it abandons you,
there is time, then and to come remain, and
now is where we let things in.


[1] Mary Claire Powell and Vivien Marcow Speiser, eds. The Arts, Education, and Social Change: Little Signs of Hope, (New York: Peter Lang, 2005), 96

About the Author

Sanja Dejanovic is a writer, artist, and educator living in Toronto, ON, from Skopje, Macedonia. Her work is most influenced by connection with animal life and nature.  Her most recent projects are: “becoming-elemental: the senses, elements, and imagination” (2017), “line. bridge. body” (2019), and coviDreams (2020). Sanja practices somatic healing through her lab Body Ecologies.

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