Parthenon West Review

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Issue 5

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Tomaž Šalamun

Translated from Slovenian by Joshua Beckman,
Phillis Levin, Thomas Kane, and the author

I'm not Used to It, Lieutenant, I'm not Used to It

You don’t know how to behave, parrot.
The color of the circles under your eyes isn’t silver.
You have cotton inside.
There are thorns in the cotton.

Globes scratch themselves with their skis above the mountains.
Their own throats!
Their own windpipes, their own stomachs, their own
sounds, which are the sounds from Suez.
The damn rises.
Fish usurp the shade.
Occialin! Occialin!
Mola lo, mola lo, butta lo qua!

Umbrellas get pompous, they open again.
You eat everything, you’re again poisoned,
and Hruschov drives below the window.

You bomb fave,
they crackle like peahen.
Is there a puddle in glass?
Is God dotted?

Why don’t they stuff the hunter?
Why is a rat born from a rat?
And calves shifting from one foot to the other,
they fall again
and shift from one foot to the other.

Everybody has to learn to walk when screaming.
The insolation is mine.
The grass is mine.

Mix up white and green, delight and dry stench,
you’ll learn something.
Do you think one darns socks for apprentices?
No. They sealed them and buried them in a drawer,
trampled them, pressed them and howled.
There, all the naked people trembled in
their wretched pajamas, grateful they didn’t die,
dewy in the glass.

Translated by Joshua Beckman and the author


In the sea sleeps
a hut, a head strewn with
leaves. His arms are

the skin on them
stretched like

silk. I see
a hair in glass, combining
knee and ficus.

Their time is
counted. Ease must

to be
aware of it. And when it
falls and stops,

the tissue kindly
accepts it. The hair’s light

Translated by Joshua Beckman and the author

All of You

For now I am in love with Bob Perelman.
It is not completely clear if this is the reason
why I think his poem “All Of You”
is the best poem I have read in the last two

years. I think not, I am here where
I am because of this poem too:
without it, it would possibly stop at the lightning,
in the flow that later disappears. Probably

it settles down in other people. It floats
but doesn’t grow lush. I would like to meet
his girlfriend Francie. I wouldn’t like to get
hurt because of all of this, I wouldn’t like

to hurt Maruska. I would like to make love
to Bob, I would like to wear a red handkerchief,
folded and tied up around my head, the way
he does. I am still uncertain. People here

are wild and quick as tigers. Sometimes
I see them as through a waterfall. I feel their
energy starting to flow through me.
I think I will settle down in the United States of America.

Translated by Phillis Levin and the author

The Right of the Elephant's Bone

Those wounded by Salamun have their own

with their eye’s right
and their own public transportation.

The wise ones make progress.
To give to eat.

The pig’s paw on the loam behaves
differently than the pig’s paw

on the wet cement.
Calm the plant.

Mutilate the daffodil.
Count the drawers and the entrances.

Live in the time of
abrupt needs.

Translated by Thomas Kane and the author

In the Back on Palm Sunday
 the Sea Laps at the Ligurian Coas

I called all the characters from Shakespeare’s texts,
sorted them out in one meter to one meter
great ellipse and
pissed them.

Coarse wooden cloth, Julia!

Luther was disgusted by little red skirts,
having also his original
ideas about the eucharist,
mentally with the lathe made
table, which as laudatio we can
no more retract.

Every companion is drenched by lust.

Translated by Thomas Kane and the author