Sand

I am not the subject.
I am God’s strongbox. 

Like a cow I have to lie 

on gold at the precise 

altitude. It isn’t true
that I am here on the sand

because I would love it.
I am the pumpkin
on the hot roof of the world. 

The Lord drips water on me. 

I am not the subject.
I am God’s strongbox.
I made no decision to look

either down or up.

—Translated by the poet & Anselm Hollo

 

World Touch Venice

 

It’s relaxing to stroll with a beautiful wife in

Grand Hotels

shoving into the soft hands of Latins bunches of

money.

The pillars of civilization are at rest,

marginal touches are legitimate.

We ate honey, drank honey,

thick wines, gold blood.

We enjoyed watching ourselves

in mirrors making love, reveled at the thought

of all who would majestically
touch us.
These beams were hammered into sand,

into us,

for our glory, wife.

—Translated by Sonja Kravanja

 

Andraž

My brother strides naked

beautiful as a virgin spring through the hall,

kills the lamb with love.

We eat and meditate on the image.

Sleds rust between winters

the sky gets lower and grows damp

the earth bears strawberries

soldiers stand hungry among daffodils

yellow as night, a clear pure guard

shutters, closed and locked,

trail markers in the woods and mountains

O Mt Caven, air crowded with angels

army tracks, bread, bread,

O Sibyl, split hardened color

immovable, unalterable itch.

—Translated by Michael Biggins

 

A Visit, VI

Sometimes when I thus reflect upon myself,

I truly have no clue who I am. And what it is

I do no one really knows. they all
pretend to know, poor

bastards. if I shove a stick at them they don’t

say I shoved a stick at them
but say something
entirely different. Some shout that I’m some big

jefe the others that I’m nothing but

a barbarian who is chopping down the most magnificent Slovenian

spruce trees, but such statements make

none of us the wiser.
sometimes when I thus reflect upon myself I’m

horror-stricken. I suspect I’m a conspiracy, but

whose? I haven’t a clue. I studied myself.
I plucked all my
socialist hairs
religious
hairs metaphysical hairs, hairs with
fuck in them and hairs that make a person positively
grand and kind and hairs
I always keep about me just in case I am suddenly
run over by a car and need to argue
where to be taken. Many hairs go simultaneously
on different heaps of hairs and I’ve typed copy
after copy. I want a good view of
the sea. at first I thought everything will be
clear and dandy after my death but that won’t happen. everyone 

will stuff their heads with whatever they please
and then run around with this whatever causing even
greater confusion. who I’ve been and what it was I was
really doing no one will ever know.
I feel sorry for you idiots! mercy!

—Translated by Sonja Kravanja

 

My Tribe​

My tribe
does not hear

freedom anymore.

Does not recognize it,

does not see it
when it’s touched by it.

My tribe

thinks

the slow

killing
of their bodies

and souls

is natural.
Only at times
when for a moment

it is pierced
by something

resembling ozone,

 

resembling childhood

it wipes its sweaty

forehead

shakes
this nightmare

these chains

from itself
turns around

and falls asleep

—Translated by Sonja Kravanja

 

Eclipse 1

 

I got tired of the image of my tribe

and moved out.

 

From long nails

I weld my new body’s limbs.

Old rags will be my entrails.

Rotten coat of carcass,

the coat of my solitude.

From the depths of a swamp I pull out my eye.

From the devoured plates of nausea

I will build my cottage.

 

Mine will be a world of sharp edges.

Cruel and eternal.

 

—Translated by Joshua Beckman & the author

 

Let's Wait​

What are you wearing
I’m wearing dark green pants of thin corduroy
black boots and a sweater
how do you feel about physics
I think physics is an extremely interesting science
and I could be a physicist if I felt like it
who’s your girlfriend
Maruša Krese
what do you do with her
first I say to her Maruška baby Mummy’s sweetie pie
and then I kick her out because I have to work
then you don’t know how to create harmony
between art and women
no
do you think that is the reason artists tend to be melancholic

that’s possible
how’s it all going to end
it will end in marriage
plenty of kids
why
because I’m a jew
what about homosexuality doesn’t it puzzle you
no it puzzled me at first
I buried and moved out two very nice women
then I went to bed with a black man
when did this happen
in Rome
what was his name
Kirk
is that how you spent your government scholarship
that’s it
a government scholarship well invested

—Translated by the poet & Anselm Hollo

 

Day​

Maruška sleeps, innocence
the road slopes to the sea
the bird are migrating south because
of the snow.
Good morning, how are you?
Still sleepy and turning over.
I had such an ugly dream that you were

captured and beaten. Spank
who is afraid of being domesticated.
The pink elephant.
Anselm Hollo brought the pink elephant

old, the Arabic, silent ring
In the morning we looked at the sky.

Shawl. Bob was a mailman.
Peace, shawl, peace
where are you going so puffed up, serious

day?

—Translated by the poet & Anselm Hollo

 

Folk Song​

Every true poet is a monster.
His voice destroys people and their speech.

His singing elevates a technique that wipes out

the earth so that we are not eaten by worms.

The drunk sells his coat.
The thief sells his mother.
Only the poet sells his soul to separate it
from the body that he loves.

—Translated by Charles Simic

 

Lacquer​

Destiny rolls over me. Sometimes like an egg. Sometimes

with its paws, slamming me into the slope. I shout. I take

my stand. I pledge all my juices. I shouldn’t
do this. Destiny can snuff me out. I feel it now.

If destiny doesn’t blow on our souls, we freeze

Instantly. I spent days and days afraid
the sun wouldn’t rise. That this was my last day.

I felt light sliding from my hands, and If I didn’t

have enough quarters in my pocket, and Metka’s voice

were not sweet enough and kind and solid and real,

my soul would escape from my body, as one day

it will. With death you have to be kind.
Home is where we’re from. Everything in a moist dumpling.

We live only for a flash. Until the lacquer dries.

—Translated by the poet & Christopher Merrill

 

Untitled​

Dark dark dark
green green green

chinchilla, the elephant

dark dark dark

green green green

DuMonfalac

dark dark dark
green green green
your rowing is temperate

epidermal

dark dark dark

talking
green fire-maker

dark dark dark

green green green

goya, drying of prick

the otters go skating one after the other

one after the other the otters go skating by

dark dark dark
green green green
I stand on the threshold

at home

my sign is cancer

I lose the right

—Translated by the poet & Anselm Hollo

 

The Trap​

Gold doesn’t evaporate,
gold isn’t water.
Gold is eternal manure
because capital is death that doesn’t disappear.

I don’t change,

only my value rises and falls.
I wait in vain for a man to crush my mask,

I’m only chasing rabbits
in the process called the courtesy of wizards.

Dwarfs step up from my shoulders
in the process called history,
and there are only two things
between us no one really knows:

I’m everyone’s lover, and

where is the crime?

—Translated by Christopher Merrill & Marko Jakše

 

Manhattan

I’m crucified.
Between continents.
Between loves.
My nests are in the air.
They burn with a gentle flame.

A white sail hides me from

photographers, East River.

The water is deeper here.
The sky a darker gray.
On the horizon
two blunt pencils.
Dug in.
I won’t be coming home.

—Translated by Michael Biggins

 

Untitled

Did you see the man who drank water?

I saw the man who drank water.
Did he hold a jug in his hands?
He held a jug in his hands.

Did he lie and look at the sun?

He lay and looked at the sun.

Did he stand and look at the ground?

He stood and looked at the ground.

Was he hunched over?

He was hunched over.

Was he straight and tall?

He was straight and tall.

Did you see the man who drank wine?

I saw the man who drank wine.
Did he hold a jug in his hands?

He held a jug in his hands.

Did he lie and look at the sun? 

He lay and looked at the sun. 

Did he stand and look at the ground?

He stood and looked at the ground.

Was he hunched over?

He was hunched over.

Was he straight and tall?

He was straight and tall.

—Translated by Jeffrey Young & Katarina Vladimirov Young

 

The Word​

The Word is the one and only foundation of the world.

I am its servant and its master.
And though the spirit sends out atoms
to smell, touch and feel, we are

equal to gods in this field.
Language is not encountering anything

new. There is no final judgment,
no superior. The assumption

is in the concentric, in everything
we see. And we don’t see more than
a grain of sand. Things in their gazing seem closer,

but that is not the criterion. I repeat: things

are not the criterion. The criterion is
inside us, and we have to disperse it, ultimately.

Death was named mistakenly by those
to whom the light was hidden.

—Translated by Sonja Kravanja