Tomaž Šalamun

Translated by Matthew Moore

Bava’s No Fun

I had three sons and five
daughters. They were
chained up in the woods.
Buddha passed them.
He ate a plum. With his
tongue he wet the torn
sail. Where is the plum
pit, greengage?
The police woke up
and set fire to cars.
Their cars were all called
Black Maria. Born
Maria Saltee, a rower. The
mob tended her garden.

Tito Too Could No Drink the Common Sorrel
Offered to Him by His Cousin in Kumrovec

It squeezed my pricky true. I can only drink
Barolo and champagne. Porridge repels me
and bread repels me, it squeezed my pricky
true. The cap, it turned me into a
cur, I turned into a monster. Yesterday, I was
a bell-ringer, a boy with eyes, tender
kernels. They killed me, wrapped me in
a host, buried me. I grow from the grave.
Truly, it squeezed my prick. I can only drink
Barolo and champagne. I die
if there is no brie. The Medici poisoned me
until I became the porn-pope.
They covered me in lollysticks. The children
licked me in the Prater and now this.

Matthew Moore is a poet and translator. His poems appear widely in journals and magazines including Annulet: A Journal of Poetics, the Carolina Quarterly, Lana Turner, and Second Stutter. He is the translator of Tomaž Šalamun’s Opera Buffa (Black Ocean, 2022). Tomaž Šalamun (1941–2014) was the preeminent Slovenian poet of his generation, and one of the great literary figures of postwar Europe. His many books have been translated into over twenty languages.