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Tomaž Šalamun
Translated from the Slovenian by Tomaž Šalamun and Matthew Rohrer
Published: Thu Oct 15 1998
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Bambi

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.

 

Tomaž Šalamun (1941–2014), a Slovenian born in Zagreb, Croatia, is considered one of the great postwar Central European poets. Among his books translated into English are The Blue Tower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), _On the Tracks of Wild Game _(Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), and Soy Realidad (Dalkey Archive Press, 2014). Šalamun taught at the Universities of Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and Richmond, and was invited to be member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1971. He also spent several years as cultural attaché to the Slovenian Consulate in New York. He lived in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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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Tomaž Šalamun (1941–2014), a Slovenian born in Zagreb, Croatia, is considered one of the great postwar Central European poets. Among his books translated into English are The Blue Tower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), _On the Tracks of Wild Game _(Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), and Soy Realidad (Dalkey Archive Press, 2014). Šalamun taught at the Universities of Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and Richmond, and was invited to be member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1971. He also spent several years as cultural attaché to the Slovenian Consulate in New York. He lived in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Tomaž Šalamun (1941–2014), a Slovenian born in Zagreb, Croatia, is considered one of the great postwar Central European poets. Among his books translated into English are The Blue Tower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), _On the Tracks of Wild Game _(Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), and Soy Realidad (Dalkey Archive Press, 2014). Šalamun taught at the Universities of Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and Richmond, and was invited to be member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1971. He also spent several years as cultural attaché to the Slovenian Consulate in New York. He lived in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Matthew Rohrer is the poetry editor for Fence magazine and lives in Brooklyn. His 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. (updated 1998)
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