Leveler Poetry Journal
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The Cellar in Ptuj

Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author


Schmuck! I love you and indulge in you. As a lantern

in this huge dark cellar. The day is in front us,

clouds unstitch like lips, red, in the window


is my sun. Fig’s leaves, the sheer serpentine winding,

dark green rapture need my constant looking out.

Extinguish yourself. It’s the day. Drops fell on


the ground. Grouilles tes puces. Shake yourself

with your beak. Buck and wait for me on

the other bank. But not in paradise. Did you


hear what I told you? Not in paradise. And

even not by placing bread on your veins, to

see if it relaxes. It won’t relax. You don’t


have the right mills. Also it won’t change

anything if not dilettantish, crosswise,

slowly, deep onto your veins. In peace, with


the ritual. In the precise gap of edges and

terror. So you would not fall in the paradise,

but in shit, you’d be an imbecile. A


dilettante and an imbecile. Not according

to how masterly you stepped out, but an

imbecile because you think you yourself


can choose when your root is yanked out

and given away. You’re pale because

I didn’t smash you enough, didn’t let you


run around in a panic. Your fame wheezes.

You’re still blunt and turgid. Ne hai

neanche un tocco di latinità di un gatto. Schmuck!

Tomaž Šalamun