Apartment Poetry Quarterly

17A              17B              17C              17D              17E              17F


17a Tomaž Šalamun




God, you’re stealing language and paper from me.

The work has become your body.

I kill you, I kill myself, I love you,

I love myself. Give me a gangplank, lightning.

I’m blind. I’m mute.

I lie on the sand, full of jewelry.

You are under the fingers, under the fingers.

Some bunny will hop by, or some farmer

will roll a tire. I’ll eat

with a spoon, I’ll always eat with

a spoon. In heaven there are shock rooms,

a flame that people waft on

the roe. I’m your parallel man,

I’m your parallel man.

I anoint you so that nothing costs you,

so that you’ll be mine. Legendary is the space between your

thumb and middle finger, a silent assault when the thing

falls. Why hasn’t it until now? Why are you still holding

me? I don’t believe I’m

mortal when I’m looking at you, when I’m caressing you, when I’m

eating you.






The front of the house. This is the large front

of the house. Flight is restrained. Will it navigate

the dust beneath the skin? Hold on to

the human voice. The vault for a trunk of meat. Hold

on to the human voice. It climbs on its nails

pessimistically and grabs a nun. Kiss

Descartes, the one you hate. Slather penicillin

around the fingers. Like the cactus of a hiking boot. Like

a white elephant moving forward. Don’t rip up

the roots. Plead for modesty and silence and

earthiness. A strap. You’re my strap.

You barely hold on. I can barely resist

the urge to tear you apart completely. Soak yourself

with gasoline and fire. Go into Marshal Tito’s

barracks, to the hallway where you kept guard,

into the washroom that you frequented—

a pig trough all around—

where you poured gasoline, lit

a match, watched how the fire burst

into the quadrangle so that you’d calm down.






Altars are the seal of the city in the mouth.

Cuttlefish tentacles scrape against heaven.

Black prophet. White shoulder.

Wings are plucked by the breeze.

Dalmatians limp on ladders.

Where is the metal Grail?

Snow is the cost.

The cathedral is my peacock.

I’d rather clean shoes (dead leather) than walk on a grave.

Massage my heart as long as I’m alive.

My heart—the field of God.

Thin saint. White ass—sweet.

The halls are in the mouth of White Hall,

soft by the Hammer.