Šalamun Tomaž:

Fishermen’s nets hang from the mouths of giants,

your eyes, flamingo, and your gray full-breasted flank.

Cranes are robbing steamers. At the top

of the gangway: "To your berths!" Cows’ feet hang

like the broken teeth of a comb. Sparks erupt. Waiters

pin diamonds to the tablecloths, and at Hvar,


in front of the movie theater, someone’s begging

to return the wallet I lost. Dikan got

to Vera. I took Branko’s sister. Years later,


when we were smoking Kents: "When will you


When I graduate I’ll travel around the world. The blacks

hurled the junkie from the deck because he


urinated. He didn’t lift the broom. You fought

with your grandfather. You couldn’t

write. You survived because of the cold weather. You’re



to walking on ice. On Crete your skin blisters,

on huge gray stones still warm in December. Doctor

Jamnicki is coming back. If a hen is tied up


as a chick it will stay tied up. Nurses won’t bite her.

During the night she walks with a jug on her

head, on the parquet floor. No paintings in our house.



The walls are round. Your hair is horsehair. Che xe

viniù da vicin, anche te ga crollà tutta tua roba sporca. Mi?

Chi te ga crollà? And the anxiety of lifting the lid


of the piano, the flash of the eyes. The procession

at the feasts of Corpus Christi, huge bicycles

on the rafts. Jeti rides logs in the chute. Ashbery


at Cooper Union, 1986: "And if you did/good that’s

fine, but if you did bad it don’t make no

difference, you’re equal/same as the others,


and the devil don’t give a shit who you are or

whether your name has an umlaut to it." Flowchart,

Carcanet, pg. 100. That’s why you can’t manage



And spitting and joking, no te capici chi voga.

Pretty, but she doesn’t dress well. Little balls,

seething beads, they swallow them for the little one.


Mákar, Kaic, tu Dio che sii Stabile. Meglio un succo di

pompelmo. And then again Hermes in Olympia, stolen

pajamas on the boat in Pirius. Throw yourself on the



Isolani, pescecani. No way. No way at all, not

even if you want to. Who will get the milk? You’re

  already got

the lederhosen. Ma Dio, chi xe viniù sta sera. Dai,


dai, butta xo ciapin. Did Hera avenge him

with fried polenta? Mozart wasn’t shy,

he didn’t stop staring. We kill English


kings. We’re feeding the cartridge clips. Lynda’s father

laundered money for the Mafia. She’s walking with her


writing Ghost Money. The humble one, the silent


chicken is swallowing cubic meters of the sublime.

The thing is, parents have to limp. Or tell them

you were crawling over emptiness. Over everything



Everything in drizzle. Everything in the snowbound


tied to the Mediterranean. At the second lake, yes, I


at the composers’ hut - last year he was bitten


by the tsetse fly, he didn’t come back from Africa.

The same one who said you have to splatter

your ego everywhere. I forget his name. I have


little crocodiles on my tongue, without a story.

Beetles are nibs. The secret addition

to human hair. You see, if death catches me, the white


mass will stay, pudding we’ll fight over. Supply

is not the problem. What is it then? Flickering

lights in Janitio, an Oriental regard? Railroad tracks


crushed, arms ripped out. In the Venetian mirrors

they licked the connections. No te xe vecio, te ghe diría,

si, che te diría. Mai da un lado. The atmosphere


brought back the Breceljs and Beblers. The Bogomils

vanished and married. This is our jamboree. And

we won’t dig up any flowers, they’re protected.

Translated by The author and Chris Merrill