Tomaž Šalamun

ADD-IT: This post has a part II. on my new blog right here.

Once there were raspberries (Maline so, by Tomaž Šalamun). Now there are jellyfish (=Meduze, by Matter). Yes, I just put the greatest Slovenian poet and the youngest Slovenian hiphop-something (not identified yet) band into one post. Not only is the music hooking, but the text equally makes raspberry-type sense (=nah). In short – I’m bought (or is it sold?) Give it a try.

The Word

Tomaž Šalamun 1941-2014
Riposa in pace

The Word

Translated by Henry R. Cooper, Jr.

The word is the sole basis of the world

I am its servant and master.

And though the spirit sends atoms to

smell, touch, hear, we are in fact

in a field where we are equal with the gods.

The tongue touches nothing that

would be new. There is no Doomsday,

no higher being. The Assumption is

in a concentric thing where everything is,

the visible and the invisible, more than a grain

of sand. The perception of things seems nearer,

but that’s no criterion. I repeat: things

are no criterion. The criterion is in us

ourselves like a final dissolution.

Death is only a mistake in naming

those whose light has been concealed.

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Photo: MM

Tomaž Šalamun: Beseda

Beseda je edini temelj sveta.

Jaz sem njen služabnik in gospodar.

In čeprav duh pošilja atome, da

vohajo, tipajo, čutijo, smo zares

v polju, kjer smo z bogovi enaki.

Jezik se ne dotika ničesar, kar

bi bilo novo. Ni poslednje sodbe,

ni višjega. Vnebovzetje je

v koncentričnem, kjer je vse, kar

vidimo in ne vidimo, več kot zrno

peska. Zazrtost stvari se zdi bližja,

a to ni kriterij. Ponavljam: stvari

niso kriterij. Kriterij je v nas

samih kot dokončna razpustitev.

Smrt je samo napaka v imenovanju

tistih, ki jim je bila zakrita luč. 

We are few…

… therefore we need to be strategically deployed, said Tomaž Šalamun about Slovenians once. My friend who celebrates today was the first to occupy her strategic position. Now that I have followed her out (somewhere else, of course, we need to keep the strategy going), we can meet in the old country, reminisce and plot.
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In Maribor, by the restaurant At Three Ponds. Photo: MC

She has taken strategical placement to a whole new level, and spent one portion of her life on every continent discovered (well, not sure about the Arctic), including several months on her own in China upon learning the language. Therefore I have high hopes for her and her charming companion to find their way to Tuscany.

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You know those gifts that are just a bull’s eye? Happy birthday, Darjaski! Photo: MM

A little anecdote, it’s my favourite: one day she left a basket full of goodies for me with my grandfather, since I was not home when she came over. (Possibly they were sour cherry products, as this has always been her trademark flavour since she had learned I love it.) Upon my return my granddad gave me the basket, telling me that it’s from “that friend, you know, the name escapes me, but her hair is the colour of goulash”. It needs to be added that goulash was his preferred dish. Hers not so much, since she is a vegetarian. 😀  But after this bit of information it could be only one.

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I’d say the first meeting was a success and there is no reason why the next one shouldn’t be in Toscana. Photo: MM

Happy birthday, dear friend, and you were right all along: the sky is the limit. Always welcome!

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

There’s raspberries

by Tomaž Šalamun

(translated by Manja Maksimovič on the spot for those who are watching the game)


We arrive in Karlovac
and we talk about
how shall we play
man to man
two centers
or cross formation

and Guato has new sneakers
and lights come on
and each of us has a number
and Škinko is a fantastic forward
and they take a time-out
but nobody can penetrate our zone
and all our baskets are boneless

but in the second half aunt Agatha arrives
and says
ooo how pleased i am
and aunt Lela arrives
and says
ooo how pleased i am
and Olivieri arrives
and says
ooo how pleased i am
Siora Pesaro
and all of them are walking up and down the stand

ooo how pleased we are
how about you
are you pleased with yourself
they ask me
when i’m making a throw-in

and i think about it

i’m pleased
for sure i’m pleased
ooo how pleased i am

at the end journalists ask me
why did you lose this game

there’s raspberries
i say

I have a horse

Greetings, all visitors! You’re making my stats boom around here. As long as you’re around, let me invite you to have a look, especially at the Own Words category, you might find a few hints about how NOT to write as well. 😀
By Tomaž Šalamun

I have a horse. My horse has four legs.
I have a record player. On my record player I sleep.
I have a brother. My brother is a sculptor.
I have a coat. I have a coat to keep me warm.
I have a plant. I have a plant to have green in my room.
I have Marushka. I have Marushka because I love her.
I have matches. With matches I light cigarettes.
I have a body. With a body I do the most beautiful things
that I do.
I have destruction. Destruction causes me many troubles.
I have night. Night comes to me through the window of my
I have fun racing cars. I race cars because car racing is fun.
I have money. With money I buy bread.
I have six really good poems. I hope I will write more of them.
I am twenty-seven years old. All these years have passed like
I am relatively courageous. With this courage
I fight human stupidity.
I have a birthday March seventh. I hope March seventh
will be a nice day.
I have a friend whose daughter’s name is Breditza.
In the evening when they put her to bed she says Šalamun
and falls asleep.

Translated by the author and Anselm Hollo


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Not mine, a neighbour, he has not only 4 legs but also the third eye. Photo: MM


Original in Slovenian:

Tomaž Šalamun: Imam konja

imam konja. konj ima štiri noge.

imam gramofon. na gramofonu spim.

imam brata. moj brat je kipar.

imam plašč. plašč imam da mi ni mraz.

imam rastilno, rastilno imam zato da je v sobi zelenje.

imam maruško. maruško imam ker jo ljubim.

imam vžigalice. z vžigalicami si prižigam cigatere.

imam telo. s telesom delam najlepše stvari kar jih počnem.

imam destrukcijo. destrukcija mi povzroča kup težav.

imam noč. noč mi pride skozi okno v sobo.

imam veselje do avtomobilskih dirk. iz veselja

do avtomobilskih dirk dirkam

z avtomobili.

imam denar. z denarjem si kupujem kruh.

imam šest res dobrih pesmi. upam da jih bom napisal še več.

imam sedemindvajset let. vsa ta leta so šla kot blisk.

imam relativno precej poguma. s tem pogumom se borim proti človeški neumnosti.

imam god sedmega marca. veselilo me bo če bo sedmega marca lep dan.

imam majhno prijateljico bredico. zvečer ko jo dajo v posteljo reče šalamun in zaspi.