The Aaron Coplend symphony starts with a short piece of music that claimed a life of its own, "FANFARES FOR A COMMON MAN." The uncommon thing about it is that instead of kings, politicians and heroes, it celebrates with pomp and circumstance the obscure lives of 'little' people - the people, stranded behind a counter or a desk nine to five, at an assembly line, or a cash register, then struggling in the rush hour to get back home, where the only thing waiting for them is boredom. The next day more of the same.
It takes great courage to face up to this kind of life, without putting a bullet through your head, or drown yourself in alcohol and self-pity. You shouldn't expect anything better for your children - except a miracle. They may somehow break away as the birds to cut a piece of heaven for themselves or fly over the rainbow.
This is the BRAVADO of Maxim Maximov.
It's micro-cosm projected into the great universe. Two men waiting every morning at the same bus stop for twenty years without exchanging a word, or the old person, feeding his life to the birds - a father, who has nothing to offer except his stifled pain and disappointment. Even love is something to be stolen, or bought second-hand, living in fear of that unavoidable moment. For example, when his beloved daughter finds out the truth about her godlike dad - he is only a pauper, begging for a bit of affection and understanding.
The world of Maxim is a place, where even dreaming is not affordable. It can cost an arm and a leg. What will happen to the young student in a hostile city? Will he reach for the morning, or just be taken to the morgue and tagged as a nameless cadaver? Shall we look for the little grave of a tiny bird that flew against the almighty lightning?
Let's allow a common man (that had missed all trains), to shed a tear, for trying to step out of his perimeter without the blessing of the gods! Unfortunately, happiness does not leave a shadow, and cannot be bought.
You are what you make out of yourself.
In the poems of Maxim Maximov we can read his life. It could have happened any place around the globe, but this particular scene is Bulgaria. He spent seventeen years behind a desk, in a bureaucratic regime, where bureaucracy bred more bureaucracy and a faulty ideology enslaved the minds of millions. The worker'S paradise is actually just a fool's cap. Everything of any value is sold and stashed away abroad in numbered accounts.
And the orgy goes on for half a century; communism.
What are your chances for survival, if you don't lick the boots of the high and mighty? None. The common man is now just a part of a gray mass, called collective. Don't try to step out. You are seen only as a part of it. If you have ideas of your own, keep them safely in your mind, or you'll be locked out in the cold without any chances to find a job, no friends and no lovelihood. Try to publish something that's not aligned to the Party, You're welcome to criticize ... just watch out what and how you do it. Because everything is booby-trapped. The fate of an intellectual can be easily cooked. He's condemned to silence.
Maxim Maximov also has another enemy within. He is enchanted with beauty and thinks of himself as A Beast. He doesn't believe in fairy tales, though his realism is certainly not from this world. That inner dichotomy leads to an almost surrealistic touch, firmly rooted in symbolic grounds. The simplicity is deceiving. The iceberg lurks deep. look for what is buried under the words. You might be able to get a glimpse of a deeply wounded human being, fighting to the finish.
Poetry in Bulgaria is a precious commodity; a lot of poems are written but few are published abroad. Americans practically know nothing about it. This is why BRAVADO is so valuable.
© Vladimir Chernozemsky