Small State Blues

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No visual element could be a better match for the feeling I’m trying to convey than a screenshot from that scene in Dagur Kári’s film Nói Albínói, where the main character and a girl break into a museum at night. They stop to stare at a world map hanging from the wall, and he says: “Look at Iceland. It’s like a spit”.

While that quote refers to a sense of geographic and social isolation, and I don’t live in such a remote place, I see a similarity between that and the state of mind of those living in a small country that no one takes seriously, and of which many people go as far as questioning the existence.

I couldn’t find a decent picture of that scene, but I found other images that talk to me. Here’s to my life in the Banana Republic.


Once on O’Connell I was asked by a passerby
why I was wasting my time in that shithole.
He should have seen where I come from.
My way home is marked by
a mountain that looks like a ship
that won’t sail anywhere
for it’s stuck in the past.

Before you start the climb
a sing at the base of it reads:
Sell your vote to a feckless politician
and secure a job in the public administration.
Then despise me,
because I’m left behind”.

You say our rulers have ruined the country,
and ask: don’t they care for the kids?
Oh, they certainly do.
They’ve already robbed enough
to keep their children and grandchildren
and even their offspring
mollycoddled and spoiled.

I won’t expose the flag on Foundation Day
to pretend that I’m faithful to some evil pact.
Their patriotic blabber stinks like cadaver breath.
And indeed they’re trying to revive a corpse,
because this place they call homeland
has no future.

No one cares for a spit in the ocean.
You’d better buy yourself
a one way ticket
to anywhere.


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