i catch your fire sometimes for a moment in my palms.

Language: Slovenian
Poet: Tone Škrjanec
Translators: Ana Pepelnik and Matthew Rohrer

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i catch your fire sometimes for a moment in my palms

Four new poems by Slovenian poet Tone Škrjanec, translated by Ana Pepelnik and Matthew Rohrer

Tone Škrjanec was born in 1953 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he studied Sociology. Škrjanec has published many books in Slovenia, and two chapbooks in the U.S. with Ugly Duckling Presse. Škrjanec’s many translations of American writers into Slovene include William S. Burroughs, Frank O’Hara, Charles Bukowski and Gary Snyder.
Ana Pepelnik is a poet and translator who was born in Slovenia in 1979. She has translated many American poets into Slovene, including Elizabeth Bishop, James Schuyler and Noelle Kocot.
Matthew Rohrer is the author of seven books of poems, most recently DESTROYER AND PRESERVER. He has co-translated poems by Tomaž Šalamun (with the author), Virgil Bănescu (with the author) and Volker Braun (with his mother).

ženske

one še vedno spijo boli jih grlo ker so
prehlajene in želijo si še in še souvlakija
(in še enega prosim) stiska jih pri srcu
ko zapuščajo mesta ki jih imajo rade
(kot vse nas) njih včasih bolijo ledvica preklinjajo
in so tečne zelo jih boli ob njihovih
cikličnih mesečnih krvavitvah nikoli
nimajo pleše razigrane so in plešoče
grizejo si prste in ustnice imajo slabe
živce temnosivorjavo barvo kože poleti
nosijo japonke in šotor imajo zelo malo
denarja preklinjajo kot furmanski konji
pijejo ouzo da jih meče po tleh preganjajo
muhe z noge ubijajo komarje in rojevajo otroke.

Women

they are still asleep their throats are sore because
they have a cold and they want more and more souvlaki
(and another one please) their hearts ache
when they leave places they love
(like all of ours) their kidneys sometimes hurt they swear
and they are grumpy it hurts them bad when they have
their monthly periods they never
go bald they are playful and dancing
biting their fingers and lips they have bad
nerves darkgreybrown color of skin in the summer
they wear flip-flops and a tent they have very
little money they swear like sailors
they drink ouzo until they roll on the floor they chase
off flies from their legs they kill mosquitoes and give birth. 

[zagotovo vem, da naju bo]

zagotovo vem, da naju bo
nekega dne z zemlje odnesel
nenaden, tih piš vetra.
izginila bova v razkošni,
pisani spirali
skrivnostni kot znak,
ki prikliče ptice v afriko,
ki daje jelenom
moč
in
rogovje.

[i know for sure that one day]

i know for sure that one day
we’ll be carried off the earth
by sudden, silent blast of wind.
we’ll disappear in a fancy
multi colored spiral
mysterious like a signal
calling birds to Africa,
giving deer
their strength
and
antlers.

[srne so gozdne živali.]

srne so gozdne živali.
kadar so preplašene,
kadar ne skakljajo razposajene po gozdu,
skozi široko razprte nozdrvi
neslišno goltajo globoke curke zraka.
med drevjem stojijo negibno.
nalahno drhtijo
(kot recimo listje v plahem vetru)
že nenaden šum suhega listja zadostuje,
da se spremenijo v negibno staro drevo,
po čigar gladkem, srebrnemu hrbtu
se spuščajo v mah deževne kaplje.
oči imajo odprte kot jezero.
v katerem se odseva zeleno.
v njihovih najglobjih globinah
rastejo ribe.

[deer are wood animals.]

deer are wood animals.
whenever they’re scared,
whenever they’re not hopping around the woods,
they soundlessly gobble deep surges of air
through wide opened nostrils.
they stand still among trees.
softly they shiver
(like leaves in timid wind, for example)
yet a sudden rustle of dried leaves is enough for them
to change into motionless old tree,
from its smooth silver back
raindrops are descending on moss.
their eyes are open like a lake.
reflecting green.
fish are growing
in their deepest depths.

[noč je topla. diši po kuhanem zelju in krizii.]

noč je topla. diši po kuhanem zelju in krizii.
golo stopalo obotavljajoče podrsava po preprogi.
cannabis je iščoč sonce svoje male liste pripil
k oknu kot to počno radovedni otroci. ptica,
tista posebna, z rumenim trebuščkom je sedla
na okensko polico. tvoj ogenj le včasih za trenutek
ujamem v dlani. včasih je noč črna, luči pogašene,
pa se vse blešči in svetlika kot da smo na jadranu,
z ene strani se svetlika morje z druge svet.

[night is warm. it smells like boiled cabbage and krizia.]

night is warm. it smells like boiled cabbage and krizia.
naked foot hesitantly rubs the carpet.
searching for the sun, cannabis has sucked its little leaves
on the window like curious kids do. a bird,
that special one with yellow tummy, sat
on a window sill. i catch your fire only sometimes for a moment
in my palms. sometimes the night is black, the lights are out
yet everything glares and sparkles like we’re by the sea,
from one side sparkles the sea from the other, the world.