Befitting: A Tomaž Šalamun Perspective

Among his great many poetic accomplishments, Tomaž Šalamun was a dear friend to many, an Associate Editor of Poetry International and a frequent contributor.

Befitting: A Tomaž Šalamun Perspective

Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author

from Poetry International 18/19

Guilt and Passion

Town traffic vehicles are green.
The moon is full. Watch out! I set you
a trap. With my greediness, not
your fatality I struggle. My pneuma
rolls you in spaces that cannot be grasped
with your senses. I’m wounded. Watch
out. I see far. It’s true what they
whispered. I’m the lord who disposes
the gleam of others. Watch out. I’m
warning you. You pushed aside
your wounds because you fell asleep
in the crystal. I give to seize. To open
you and to pierce through you. To
break the base of time, as this is right.

forthcoming in Poetry International


With myths we have to proceed as with
eyelashes. What, rocks between,

in the dual, squirts, rivers squirt the most.
We live, we peel ourselves, we live,

the train clatters. Where does the dust fall?
On his eye? There, where

the fish spawn? Did irises ever shoe trains?
We chanted in a choir, some of us had

heels bespattered with mud, some of us
not. All umbrellas waited spread

in the pantry. Women peeped through nettles,
a switchman sleep on his hip. We

rolled our own eyes, in the flanneland bowled
with them. Those were happy times.


Appalachian Mountains

The craving after the buttonhole is Mary
with the open eyelid. Pictures deface.

I’d have a job. To kiss the ground. To carry
my head upright. With the bicycle up

the wall to the sand. With the bicycle up
the wall to the flies. To the flies in

the center of the Karantan. To the trees with
dawns. The cloth distends like a silk,

covering a naked body. Like a ratluk. The swamp
of flowers and axes, fragrances and membranes.

Gangs burn on guard and in cavities.They tug
out arms from milk. We see Appalachian

Mountains. You tread upon me. With a flower
you tread upon me. With a flower.

In Loving Memory of Tomaž Šalamun


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