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The Rise of the Zebra

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The rise of the zebra hurts the zebra.
As if she would breathe fire.
If  we put natural gold and the black blue into
the loaf of  bread it bursts.

Find and shove,
open and wound.

The oars when kneaded in and then stretched,
row.
How they bump into wheat
on the white surface again.

Mašenka!
There are three corpses in Gravel Cave.
One keeps silent.
One snowballs.
One conceals.

Source: Poetry (May 2014)

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

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The Rise of the Zebra

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  • 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 is the author of more than 40 collections of poetry in Slovenian and English. He published his first collection, Poker (1966), at the age of 25. His poetry, using elements of surrealism and polyphony, was influenced by the work of Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Charles Simic, and Charles Baudelaire. His collections of poetry in English include The Selected Poems of Tomaž Šalamun (Ecco Press, 1998); The Shepherd, the Hunter (Pedernal, 1992); The Four Questions of Melancholy (White Pine Press, 1997); Feast (Harcourt, 2000), Ballad for Metka Krasovec (Twisted Spoon Press, 2001, translated...

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