Tomaž Šalamun


Wei Dong. It drizzles. He wipes his tears.
Bread is greased on blood. My scarecrow has his

ears cut in the night, during the day he has
malignant eyes. He eats peaches. He leans

on his arms. While sleeping he vomits, while sailing
he bloodclimbs. He’s stuck at the seventeenth

floor, in the elevator. He can’t get out. New York is
the devil. It flies round the sky. He breaks

the habit of animals to lie down. He has a white
ass, spruces fall in water. One dog jumps

and wants the prattler. Another dog takes it
from his snout. His eyelashes are white

like a swimming whale. Will it go through paper?
Will he at least propel his head through it?

Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author


In Central Europe, walking on grass, you see mountains,
huts in the Alps and the breaking of light.
Roe deers in the long rainy days eat from the hand
near macadam roads.

Priests, logs and carnations,
emigrants enter,
children with heavy rucksacks throw apple
stones through the train windows.

In the Central Europe the people are pinned with wires,
August is always over,
you still feel anger toward the dancers, Velden,

You are like a plate, Bolinas, poisonous green
full of oil, Yosemite, suffocating vapors,
when bamboo grows,
when bamboo grows to sipapuni,
when every little hoop grows to sipapuni,
the door.

Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author


Tomaž Šalamun lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He taught Spring semester 2011 at Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas. His recent books translated into English are The Blue Tower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) and On the Tracks of Wild Game. (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012). His Soy realidad translated by Michael Thomas Taren is due by Dalkey Archive Press in 2014.

Michael Thomas Taren‘s poems have been published in Colorado Review, HTMLGIANT,The Claudius App, and Fence and are forthcoming in Bestoned. He spent nine months in Slovenia on a Fulbright Scholarship (2010-2011). His manuscripts Puberty and Where is Michael, were finalists for the Fence Modern Poets Series in 2009 and 2010, respectively. His book Nile is due by Vagabond Press in Spring 2014.