Tomaž Šalamun

Who Are You?
March 8, 2015 Salamun Tomaz

Who Are You?


who are you? the effect of well fed herds?
well read towers, plunderers
who are you? lead will come, from the sky the day
grass mould, waterfall from the rock
the lieutenant with a mask, with chunks the note
remember: doormen, the carousel on the hill
wine with the cork, with the eyes the gas
marches, the ribbons of aluminium
an auction, with the son the barge
silent: birdlime grows, the wound with the good name montaigne
a small circle, a shade, a building, a helper
el farat, the nimbus, the rubicon
who are you? hands made of square fields
the food, the seer, the scope of millers’ wives
a predicate made of rosemary
from the toad, miss švalba
how are you grown up together? we planted the mulberry tree
the sun comes up, the squire out of bushes
the long, long, for appearance’s sake smoothly
placed stick around the use
of salust clement, the fighting cornelius’s squire
the greenland steamboats
kiddo, kiddo, kiddo
the bet, the ore drives in the open
the leek, the blanket, the process, cornelia again
the doorman in the hill, the power of fingers, the crown of the neck
where are the precise formulations of the straight soft movements?
what he attains I chew up, patina glues on
the sea, the bomb, gray mouse, the penalty kick
grilled penny, from the earth the snow is lazing down,
roots out papers, the hold-up, cornelia again
otto? du otto? ja, ich munser
mingle religiously, let flowers have the smallest surface possible
the smoke, the shore, the kerchief, the skiing wavers
the inner balance, the strong man
there’s the neck, there are goods, he adhered horizontally
gravitation burns through,
gravitation burned through

Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author


Michael Thomas Taren’s poetry has been published in Colorado Review. His translations of Tomaž Šalamun’s work appear in the anthologies 7 Poets, 4 Days, 1 Book (Trinity University Press, 2009) and Slovene Sampler(Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008), as well as in journals, including Chicago Review, A Public Space, Poetry Review, Fulcrum, Colorado Review, Ninth Letter, jubilat, Poetry London, and Circumference. Taren is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

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Tomaž Šalamun (1941-2014) published more than 55 books of poetry in Slovenia. Translated into over 25 languages, his poetry received numerous awards, including the Jenko Prize, the Prešeren Prize, the European Prize for Poetry, and the Mladost Prize. In the 1990s, he served for several years as the Cultural Attaché for the Slovenian Embassy in New York, and later held visiting professorships at various universities in the U.S.