“Lucretius grabbed my arm and led me”

By Tomaž Šalamun 1941–2014 Tomaž Šalamun

Translated By Michael Thomas Taren and Tomaž Šalamun

Lucretius grabbed my arm and led me
to the spot where he went nuts. I watered little
drums right away and entangled the Sava River
with knitting needles. I putrefied a small soup,
dismembered seven towels. There, He — The
Terrible — burnt on the stake, squatted, too.
My god, I beat him up his ass. Puff, puff, but
no one had heard a thing. Now here, I’m flooded
with flowers by cumin. Even Tarkovsky appears.
Now I will suck you with my thumbs, mold
you like clay with my horns, till he’d vaporize and
see into what and where I’ve traveled to. Into
honor. Into white birch trees. Into the pouch
used for bread. I hung around the world a lot,
frothily crushing the mountain range. With no
avail, with no day’s pay, sticky are my laws.
I protected an elephant as much as I could,
stared at the back of the horse. Joshed the others
now, too, tested spring mattresses. Kept
gulping nirvana. Loosened feathery leaves,
wrapped the emperor into a roll. To not let my
senses perish, to gallop without a break.

Source: Poetry (May 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2014
 Tomaž  Šalamun


Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun was one of Europe’s most prominent poets of his generation and was a leader of the Eastern European avant-garde. Early in his career he edited the literary magazine Perspektive and was briefly jailed on political charges. He studied art history at the University of Ljubljana, where he found poetry suddenly, as a revelation, describing its arrival in a 2004 interview as “stones from the sky.”

Šalamun . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Poetry & Poets, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology, Living, Life Choices

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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