Poet: Tomaž Šalamun
Translator: Joshua Beckman
Language: Slovenian
Region: Slovenia

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It was immensely hot this I must tell you

One Poem:
“Gobice” / “Little Mushrooms”

Tomaž Šalamun (July 4, 1941 – December 27, 2014) was a Slovenian poet who was a leading figure of postwar neo-avant-garde poetry in Central Europe and internationally acclaimed absurdist. His books of Slovene poetry have been translated into twenty-one languages, with nine of his thirty-nine books of poetry published in English. His work has been called a poetic bridge between old European roots and America. Šalamun was a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Joshua Beckman is the author of eight collections of poetry, including The Inside of an Apple (which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award), Take It, Shake, and Things Are Happening, which won the first annual Honickman-APR book award. He is an editor at Wave Books and has translated numerous works of poetry and prose, including Poker by Tomaž Šalamun, which was a finalist for the PEN America Poetry in Translation Award

I

Bila je blazna vrocina
to moram namrec povedati
hodimo v čredi kot govedo
nekateri pobožni
nekateri pa tudi ne
kot pac koga prime

On pourrait bien y mettre un taxi
debela Tevtonka pade pa kar skupaj
MOLČE
to mi je blazno všeč taka resnost

Bila je blazna vrocina
to moram namrec povedati

Sine se pa pelje v kočiji za dvesto lir
C’est quand même drôle tout ça
in ye se prikaye sv. Francišek s ptički
izstopi iz konzerve Simmenthal in zapre pokrov
poverello con suoi occhi ingenui
blazno mi je všeč
ta poslednji konstruktivni tip
v evropski zgodovini

Bila je blazna vrocina
to moram namreč povedati

I

It was immensely hot
this I must tell you

We walk in a herd like cattle
some devout
some not so
as one’s whimsy goes

They should put a taxi here
the fat Teutoness fades away
TACITLY
I love this kind of seriousness

It was immensely hot
this I must tell you

Sonny drives around in a carriage for two hundred lira
c’est quand meme drole tout ca
and St. Francis appears with his birds
steps out of the can and closes the lid
poverello con suoi occhi ingenui
amazing how much I like
this last constructive chap
in the history of Europe

It was immensely hot
this I must tell you

II

Namreč tako je z vso to zadevo
najboljše stvari so gobice
gobice v juhi
nic nic nic nic
                                   fiuuuuu ena gobica
en zelen peteršiljček v smokingu
pa dolgo dolgo časa tema
potem stečejo po snayilko
ki je za vse to odgovorna
nic nic nic nic
                                  fiuuuuu še ena gobica
zdrava sicer
le kri ni ena A
ker je prebolela hepatitis
Težke so težke te gobice
težke v božjo mater

II

So it goes
best of all are the little mushrooms
little mushrooms in the soup
nothing nothing nothing nothing
                      pheeooooo one little mushroom
one green parsley in tuxedo
then darkness for a long long time
then they run to find a cleaner
responsible for everything
nothing nothing nothing nothing
             pheeooooo one little mushroom more
healthy though
except the blood is not grade a
it recovered from hepatitis
Heavy, heavy are these little mushrooms
heavy Holy Mother o’ God!

III

Odstranili bomo čevlje z gumo
zakaj takih se vec ne nosi
in smrt in muhe
ki nimajo urejenih pristanišč

odstranili bomo nekatera neumna števila
tako da bomo končno lahko zadihali
in svobodno šteli
ena dva tri sedemnajst
odstranili bomo vse besede
ki imajo manj kot pet črk
zakaj popolnoma jasno je
da se take besede samo valjajo
in planine

odstranili bom krog
ker imamo kvadrat
ker zakaj bi imel clovek
eno nogo takšno
in drugo nogo takšno
in popoldne
ker takrat sonce zahaja

odstranili bomo vranico
ker kaj bi z vranico
ko pa imamo jetra pljuča
in sploh prevec teh stvari
in Sicilijo
ker je navaden patološki pojav
linolej
ker ne ve kje leži Baku

in sviterje ki se oblacijo cez glavo
odstranili bomo dihanje
                              ker se udira
                              ker se udira
                              ker se udira
in konopljo
ker lan in konoplja
to se blazno cudno sliši

odstranili bomo nebo
in vodo ker se zacne na V
in le poglejte ta znak
kako balansira na eni nogi
in zeva proti vrhu

in nazadnje čas
in sploh čistočo
zakaj vsaka čistoča se zamaye
in kaj potem kaj potem

III

We’ll do away with rubber shoes
because we don’t have them anymore
and death and flies
without their ports in order

We’ll do away with some silly numbers
so we can finally begin to breathe
and count freely
one two three seventeen
We’ll do away with all words
five letters or less
because it’s so clear
these words only roll
and highlands

We’ll do away with circle
because we have square
because why should man have
one leg like this
and a second like this
and afternoon
because the sun goes down

We’ll do away with the spleen
because what should we do with the spleen
when we have liver lungs
and too many of these things
and Sicily
because it’s a plain pathological phenomenon
linoleum
because it doesn’t know where Baku is

and sweatshirts because we pull them over our heads
we’ll do away with breathing
                                 because it stinks
                                 because it stinks
                                 because it stinks
and hemp
because linen and hemp
it sounds awfully strange

We’ll do away with sky
and valley because it starts with V
just look at it
how it balances on one leg
and yawns upward

and finally, time
and cleanliness
because all cleanliness gets dirty
and then what, then what

IV

Brez tebe črka P gre k vragu svet
paradajs pasma politika
ali ste ye videli papagaja brez črle P
ali pa pipico pokaditi Pennsylvania
brez tebe črka P ostane
žavbica akvamarin nastlati namazati
vse pa sloni na pakeljcih
poglejmo samo težave
ki nastopijo v zemljepisu
hodiš po svetu prideš do Patagonije
stop crna luknja
niti ne moreš vzeti palice
da bi jo naslonil
na pred-Patagonijo in po-Patagonijo
pa se ti zabliska pa rečeš TRAM
pa še TRAM ti pade v luknjo
ker ni pakeljcev
nikoli ne ješ po narocilu
zmeraj zveciš menu
potem hočeš spat a samo zehaš
in zehaš nag ker pidžame ni
tako se razvije nemorala
tako se razvije nemorala
perutnice poštarji pamtivek

IV

Without you letter P the world goes to hell
pomegranate pedigree politics
did you ever see a parrot without the letter P
or a pipe plumber, Pennsylvania
without the letter P we still have
little balm aquamarine to strew to spread
but everything leans on a plank
let’s look at the hassle
which happens in geography
you walk through the world and come to Patagonia
stop at a black hole
you can’t even take a pole
to lean on to
pre-Patagonian and post-Patagonian
you get it in a flash and say beam
or even the Beam falls into a hole
because there are no planks
you never eat a la carte
but always chew the menu
you want to go to sleep but you only yawn
but you yawn naked because you have no pajamas
this is how unchastity develops
this is how unchastity develops
postmasters particles pre-pasture times

V

Čudno se mi potapljaš kenguru
in ce ti ponudim slamico
me samo vlažno gledaš

nikoli nisi razmišljal
zakaj krave ne vzniknejo
ampak se zmeraj rodijo
kot teleta kenguru

blazno lepo si splaval
to je res
vendar so bile neke sence
že od rojstva
gorgonzole nisi jedel
imel si lase na blazinicah
in nekaj rikiki
je bilo v tem kako si se obrnil
ali se sploh zavedaš
da je bil Caravaggio psihopat
da je jokal ce je videl redkvice
a kje je pot na Krim kenguru

kradel si nam čevlje
zvrnil bekačin
šnite si hotel delati iz časa
a čas je zmeraj čas
samo da je v senci
sprime se ob pravi uri kenguru

poskusiva reči Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
no no vidiš da gre
ali bi lahko tudi rekla Esplanade

tako je kot sem si mislil kenguru
nimaš ravno tifusa
ampak tudi ni dosti boljše
čudno se mi potapljaš kenguru
tudi če bi ti vrgel traktor
stavim da bi ga olupil in pojedel
ampak traktor ni za to kenguru
traktor je za to
da poskusiš priti iz vode
olupi in poje se jabolko

ali naj pokličem sorodnike kenguru
ali si želiš biti vdova pol oboka
ali v slogi je moč kenguru
ali naj ti kaj zapojem
ali naj ti zapojem
quand un pompier

rencontre un autre pompier
nic ti ne bom zapel kenguru
zakaj tako pesem bodo prepevali
tvoji sovražniki
ker taki so pac sovrayniki
da prepevajo take pesmi

VI

                     The ’potamus can never reach
                     The mango on the mango-tree
                     (T. S. Eliot, The Hippopotamus)

S sirom hranimo se zjutraj ali po obedu
Je regrette l’Europe aux ancien parapets
zgodovino delajo napredni
No to je ravno tisto kar je najbolj razveseljivo

Bradlja Hegel rožice v naravi
trije so pojavi stvarstva
Mojzes padel iz plenic v zgodovino
v sivih dokolenkah caka na propad zapada

Strpnost vera v znanost ribe v morju
tvorijo sveta blešcavo
žakelj žakelj žakelj žakelj
prihod iz žaklja drugo poglavje

V

It’s strange how you sink, kangaroo
and if I show you a straw
you mostly only stare at me

you never thought
why cows do not sprout
but are always born
as calves, kangaroo

cool when you learned to swim
that’s a fact
but some shadows were there
from the day of your birth
you didn’t eat gorgonzola
there was hair on your fingertips
and something cockadoodledo
was in how you turned around,
were you at all aware,
Caravaggio was a psychopath
cried each time he saw a radish
But where’s the way to Mt. Crim, kangaroo

you stole our shoes
you turned around a snipe
you wanted to make slices from time
but time is always time
only, it’s in the shadow
it sticks together at the right hour, kangaroo

let’s try to say Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
you see you see it works
could we say also Esplanade

so it is as I thought kangaroo
you may not have typhus exactly
but it’s not much better
it’s strange how you sink kangaroo
even if I threw you a tractor
I bet you would peel and eat it
but a tractor is not for that kangaroo
a tractor is how one gets
from the water
we peel and eat an apple

shall I call your relatives, kangaroo
do you want to be a window, half of an arch
strength in numbers, kangaroo
shall I sing you something
shall I sing to you
quand un pompier
recontre un autre pompier

I will not sing you anything, kangaroo
because such a song will be sung
by your enemies
because so are the enemies
to sing such songs

VI

                       The ’potamus can never reach
                       The mango on the mango tree
                      (T.S. Eliot, The Hippopotamus)

We feed ourselves with cheese in the morning or after the meal
Je regrette l’Europe aux anciens parapets
history is made by the progressive ones
Well, this is what seems the most agreeable

Parallel bars Hegel little flowers in nature
are three phenomena of the universe
Moses, fell from diapers into history
and in gray socks waits for the West to collapse

Tolerance trust in science fish in water
make the world’s perfect glitter
the sack the sack the sack the sack
coming out of the sack the second chapter