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THE LUCID SLOVENIAN GREEN
To step into the splash. To adorn oneself. I strode
the Karst valleys and bloomed. The underworld
is plastic and juicy. Whales dunk a little,
shoot a little. Chile is dewy, spring
is paper-wrapped. Girded like an ant,
like a cadet with argil. How do you reckon this? Bruised
like an icon? Blasted with small and large candles?
Slices are also in the trunk, there, where
squirrels and hornets fertilize tiny eggs. Caesar
walks staccato. Rome crawls by your feet. Wherever
the grape plucks, it starts to purl. The Irish saved Europe.
They piled sagas at fire sites. Everything northern
(Styria). There, in the forests, live char men
with flashing eyes. They snack on the Book of Kells.
I grew up with eggplants. I stepped
from the truck, honey, chestnuts
rolled in honey. The higher, grayer part
creaked. It tottered. For a raven
that you snatch by the legs and spin like a bundle,
as long as it doesn’t crash into a windowpane,
you don’t know if it hits with its back or its eyes
closed, glued from fear. The windowpane
is not its beak. The raven has no beak.
The raven has only a sail with drawn-on
seed. Stars, ricocheting into the moon’s
glass, go out. Between the time someone’s
in the sky and the time he burns
in the sky is the beat of an eyelid. Water spins the logs.
In the Tongues of Bells
I decant a blossom. It goes before you.
You’re filled with Uriah. Green, tiny, and pressed.
Blueness is a furious cake, a round
cake where yearning sleeps. Are the balls
the balls of the earth? At wells
and fountains? At Atlas’s pillar?
You say that you’d be my property.
You’d lose everything instantly.
I still wouldn’t notice you anymore, injured.
I choose from the thickness. Honey collects
cries. And when the body thickens and you get up
because I dress you, because I congeal you.
I erase you back in the past. I draw
a white flap, shine a white flap.
The Clouds of Tiepolo
The flock fell behind a hill. God
tottered. I chased a stall. Faded
and flew. When there’s no syrup in the eyes, there’s
no black man in the body. Virgo is in the loaf and creels.
She throws snowballs while standing. Plans unravel.
Clouds are rosy, as by Tiepolo.
As by Deacon and Aritreia. Tasso
kills a cricket. The knot spreads and advances
into the jacket with many and’s, as with the Danes,
who also translated the Bible like this. And so we have
and, and, and—no more—which the French
don’t have. They have crouching planks there,
they call them elegance. The bridge goes in the eyes.
The soul in the railway. I puff, for I’m a pillar.
The Edge From Where We Measure
Shiva gleams on a white pansy
and a penguin kicks the sphere. The radar
switches off. After speed? Nothing.
We only slept some twelve hours.
We were eating pizzas from Santa Fe
to Boston. Our minds sprinkled. The wheat
cleaved. I wanted to lick you on the neck.
What? Where? You rob the steering wheel
and the air. You stop. You smoke
and build a hut for little birds. Triangles,
you split open their feet, their toes
with the drawn-in bulbs for fingernails
which may be a football ground, a sea
or your screen. You inherited six of them.
I know you toil and loiter. The mourner
bids adieu. Her leaves’ whiteness
recalls stalks. The graffiti of the poor
is under the earth. The adieu has staccato poses.
Drowns and flees. It resounds in the hut
when you wipe off the saddle. So we have
a wet ship and a dry rider. A worm
from a trunk and an outline from grain. The position
between the land and the river is wiped. The position
is wide. The river is cold. As long as he travels
parallel he doesn’t need a draftsman.
But then, now will it whistle? Will there be
a bell, will it be perforated? Will the earth
split, as then within vineyards?
The pill percolates. Methadone is technology.
Eyes in the Sava. There will be no more white tuck-ins.
Christ was exposed. Roe deer
kept their paws apart. Quilts
fluttered, and the wheat-like ones. We shelled
tweezers. Is there always skin under
the skin? Is the situation in the niches
and cockroaches and in the deep
Piranesi caves taken care of? Will lights be
by the legs? Will the dust burn? I gather myself
by Mormons. I embroider from lace, I have
a butterfly, Tasso, who drinks
from a bottle. Clouds rush like crumpled
wash, faster than watered guests.
In the Tent Among Grapes
Don’t sneak me onto mountains, chicken. Don’t verify
your neighbor. You creep on my vaults. Where
paws and stars flash. Where Nietzsche
bites his knees (Komarc?a!) on the path above
Nice. What an azure milky whiteness!
Did you knead a little flour into torpedoes?
Did you sponsor a robbery of bees? Ears
adjust to the sky. Tendrils—if wholly
in white garlic—do you then tear them
like berries? We hear the engine, not the horse.
His eyes are poured out onto my hands.
Stumps and columns and stalks that you dunk
into the Mediterranean. Steve and Ken (asleep)
water flowers. The chimney branches out.
Mother and Death
There is no grinding. Consumption is embittered.
The shove twists a white feather. The law
is in Kent’s throat. White green violets.
The schmeketa pump is knocked down.
You revolt in the color of spilled wine.
You bring cakes and name them,
sell them here. White quails
have top-notch wings. The bone is among
the found. The found is expected
by witch doctors. Confirm to her what she saw.
Confirm to her that she was chatting.
That there are no remains. That the way is easy
always. That there is not even a drop
of reproach in front of the white mute.
Compilation copyright © 2000 by Tomaž Šalamun
English translation copyright © 2008, 2007 by Brian Henry and Tomaž Šalamun
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Table of Contents
The Lucid Slovenian Green 1
In the Tongues of Bells 3
The Clouds of Tiepolo 4
The Edge From Where We Measure 5
Tiepolo Again 7
In the Tent Among Grapes 8
Mother and Death 9
Along Grajena River 10
The Dead 11
Academy of American Poets 13
Pessoa Scolding Whitman 16
The Pacific Again 19
In New York, After Diplomatic Training 21
Boiling Throats 23
The Catalans, the Moors 24
Sand and Spleen Were Left in Your Nose 25
Arm Out and Point the Way 26
Fallow Land and the Fates 27
Dislocated, Circulating 30
Offspring and the Baptism 33
The King Likes the Sun 36
You Are at Home Here 37
Bites and Happiness 38
The Linden Tree 40
Holy Science 42
We Lived in a Hut, Shivering With Cold 44
At low tide . . . 45
Blue Wave 46
And on the Slopes of La Paz 48
Coat of Arms 50
Fiery Chariot 51
Shifting the Dedications 52
Washing in Gold 53
The Wood’s White Arm 54
The Kid from Harkov 55
Porta di Leone 56
In the Walk of Tiny Dews 59
Olive Trees 60
It Blunts 62
Scarlet Toga 64
Shepherd, You Are Just Learning 66
The Cube that Spins and Sizzles, Circumscribes the Circle 67
The Man I Respected 68
The Hidden Wheel of Catherine of Siena 69
White Cones 70
Horses and Millet 71
Henry of Toulouse, Is That You? 72
New York–Montreal Train, 24 January, 1974 73
The West 76