Destination Madeira

by Nemanja Knežević

Note: Officially, in 1418, two captains under service to Prince Henry the Navigator, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, were driven off-course by a storm to an island which they named Porto Santo (English: holy harbour). The following year, an organized expedition, under their captaincy, was sent to this new land, along with captain Bartolomeu Perestrello, to take possession of the island on behalf of the Portuguese crown. Consequently, the new settlers discovered “a heavy black cloud suspended to the southwest”, which, when explored, the island of Madeira was found.





the rest of the world is yet to be discovered

by aircrafts and lovely two-headed

children of islanders:

this strange piece of ground breathes salty,

offering me other people’s backyards

and a shelter from the definite


hungry dogs keep barking

until the sunrise leans onto cable cars

so the sky could rest its itchy feet

and its murky edges;

I remain detached


the legend about the dead kingdom

reaches up to the mainland:

did you know the Royals were ants

climbing onto the sugar-apples,

eating and inhabiting their insides?

sugarcane on top of the cupboard

is slowly being devoured by their Highness,

hundreds of little black slaves

getting their sweet revenge

by claiming the territory of

Moradia Pena


the coordinates are

a question of stomach

whilst the legs must

obey to divine gravity;

both are keeping me calm

and both are keeping me here


concrete stone blocks are

trembling under incoming waves:

constructed as part of defence

they arise from the docks like

an unprepared army


the ocean is tenderly treating

catering facilities on its shores:

it splashes them with kindness

and lavish food leftovers while

empty swimming pools echo

this land’s history:

greedy tourists forget

their body parts on the cliffs

and continue to cruisers,

relieved, permanently hungry;

their impatient youngsters,

made by mistake,

await at family homes,

made with great caution


below rocky coastline

seascapes gently place

their bloody feet: mornings

first touch the mountaintops,

then roll down to the water

in which they drown

to become dusk

The poem A Heavy Black Cloud can be found inside “There are still some stones to carry” – an artists’ book made during the MultiMadeira 2016 residence program, in collaboration with Ana Konjović, Nemanja Knežević and Katarina Šoškić. This is the first part of the poem.



Photography ~ Nemanja Knežević

Text ~ Maša Seničić

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