Friday, March 21, 2008

Poetry Friday!!!


I first started reading Tomaz Salamun in college, where my teacher (who had been a Fulbright to Yugoslavia) was obsessed with Slovenian poets.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to meet Tomaz in several places. First in a cabin on Lake Bled, then in my own kitchen in Chattanooga, and finally at a party in Iowa City. The guy gets around.

And I love him. I love him, love him, love him. And I think you will too.

There is something really spare in his work, which I adore. But there's so much in each line. A great economy of language! It's just a little religious, a little surreal, a little sexy, a little sad, a little despairing, a little in love. It's a little old-world, but also very contemporary-- funny and wise.

A few years back I posted this tiny poem, which is hilarious:

What is Abomination


Abomination is when you come home
and say heat up the stove
and no one heats up the stove for you
and it's February


be gone be gone
the most global abomination is peas



But his range is great. And so here's another:

I Know


Last night, in the water where Barnett Newman’s
line disappeared, I drowned. I swam
to the surface, like a black, dark-blue
luminous blossom. It’s terrible to be
a flower. The world stopped.
Mute, like velvet, I opened, perhaps
for good.
Before, with Toma┼ż Brejc, we
talked about the mystique
of finance, about the eye, the triangle,
about God, possible readings
of chance, of Slovenian history and
destiny.
Don’t touch me.
I’m the greatest capital just as I am.
I’m the water in which the
destiny of the world takes place for us.
I’m dizzy. I don’t understand.
I know.
Tonight, when I made love, I
reported. I’m a black cube now,
like marble or granite-from-the-other-world,
a bird standing, with yellow
feet and an immense yellow beak, my black
feathers shining: now the eminent church
dignitary, that is:
they all wanted me,
the blossom.
I’m the pure dark blossom
standing still on the surface.
Untouchable and untouched.
Terrifying.

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