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by Tomaz Salamun

translated from the Slovenian by the author and Matthew Rohrer

Until I was inside my
drama, a simple concrete
cage or even a stronger lining of
flesh would’ve helped. God’s and people’s power
were not two separate things. Unfortunately
those who really knew what was going on
seemed to be conservative. My ardor compressed
them like crepes. I killed 95% of lungs
not knowing what was being written through me.
Now it’s too late. I’m safely put
in the sarcophagus in the sky forever
like a doe in the glass. I would like to help.
By some memories, some limbs, some
physical properties there’s still some human
flair attached to me. I’m smuggling these
messages, they’ll break through only
because they seem so tasteless and insipid. Very
simple: I’M IN TROUBLE. They will accompany
rain in a strange zig zag: OK, let him, let him,
let him
compromise himself and unfold in complete
boredom and egotistical repetitions.
Let the public read the documents for itself,
the dimension of his decay, let the public read
the difference between then and now.
So: the doe landing now
on the planet have huge legs.
In spite of an intensified grace these animals
can possess, the dilemma is terrifying: to make
space for just one such bambi
the entire nation perishes.


Tomaz Salamun, a Slovenian, has published extensively since his first two books, Poker and The Purpose of a Cloak, appeared in samizdat. His books translated into English include Selected Poems (Ecco Press), edited by Charles Simic with an introduction by Robert Hass, and The Four Questions of Melancholy: New and Selected Poems (White Pine Press), edited by Christopher Merrill. (1998)

Matthew Rohrer’s first book, A Hummock in the Malookas, was chosen by Mary Oliver for the 1994 National Poetry Series and was published by W. W. Norton. He is the poetry editor for Fence magazine and lives in Brooklyn. (1998)

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