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Four Poems

What’s your favourite colour?
my favourite colour is yellow
would you carry a wig
if your hair fell out overnight
if my hair fell out overnight
I’d carry a wig
we heard you went to portugal
could you give us some brief impressions
portugal is a small country
the people dress well
was it hot
in the sun it was hot
even in the shade it was hot
did you have an uncle in the air force
I had an uncle in the air force
did he have an influence on your taking this job
I couldn’t say he had an influence
he soon died and then he had no influence


Let them serve you champagne in bed,
the chilled one, as you awaken, still hot.
Rasputin smelled too much. Foscolo and

Leopardi, too—they built the steps for
Nietzsche—swim in the Gai savoir. Will tundra
suffer cyclically? Will ice roar

when the little balls jet into the heart 
of the Romanovs, like steam? The knight
combs his hair. He woke up lost in thought.

The sun striking deep into the wells of the sky
when you gaze at it—for someone it is the hour
to be shot at dawn, for me the infinite gift

of red, of violet and bluish-greying white
above the bridge across the Loire. Yesterday
I had to write something for George Lambert Ristin,

he’s very curious. The lights in town are not
extinguished yet, the duality flies above the sea gulls.
They show their acne. They have long beaks,

they’re trained for the mud beneath the marsh,
just as some canaries can dot and stipple. They’re all
flying. Little frogs, snails, shells, Krombergs and

adoratus. A Malagasian reinstated the slivers of ships.
Small blacks climb on the shipwrecks, they saved
themselves from drudgery. The bourgeoisie

of Nantes ate slavery. They tramped over the ruins
with their wheelbarrows. Blessed little ribbons cut up
by little girls, the scissors returned to the baskets

lined with plush. Hangars are like skyscrapers.
The crunching of Scotch tape is related to the sun.
He creeps in silence. Strikes the window.

Trieste, Alexandria, Saint-Nazaire

Gold coin in the cry of the sea gull rubbing against
the hair in my ear. Behind the chimneys, prose, behind
the bridge’s girders, dawn. Kaisarion, in pink silk,
carrying hyacinths, was poetical. They all left
from here. Mayakovsky, Nabakov, Desnos. Metka
and her mother stared at the Normandie, the cabins,
the common berths still arranged for war.
They embarked. There is no memory. Only
the one who sometimes looked like Toscanini, sometimes
like Chaplin, had memories. That’s why Metka screamed  
    at him
late in his life, like a cold-blooded murderer, why I
stood up and left, silently vowing to go into the night,
even at seventy, if I have to bear for one day
even a small percentage of that cold.


Artaud was throwing up, Artaud was killing
himself, I’d like to dance in the disco again.
Like when I saw the shiny copper floor.

I followed a group of people. Plundered the new
anchorage. I was waiting for Sonja, learning
Spanish. Renting a bicycle was cheap. I

walked anyway. Then Kali and Star arrived
and Bojan and Živa. She drew carpets. Does
God guide the fish? Who suffers from the memory

of twisting? The dead impose on the living.
The living, while they’re alive, don’t
die out. We were eating. We were rocking

the newborns to sleep. Near the low walls,
which were carefully built. The walls to the east
were less solid. People have darker eyes in Cyprus

than in Crete. More like olive trees. They rise
from the earth like burning snakes. The trees also burn.
Bushes, the basilica, stones, all remain black.

Then the rain fertilises everything. In the country
people touch more. The mothers aren’t shy, they wrap
their newborns’ penises angling upwards. Thus

one can strike and thrust and, standing,
not give way. Women depend upon pleasure.
Me, I was staring at the bicycle. She didn’t watch

Buñuel closely enough, she evaporated, she
couldn’t control herself. Never again did I have
a bicycle like a Dunlop. On the slope of Belvedere-Isola

I extracted a stone like a tooth. The bicycle felt only
a scratch. We missed the steamboat. Olive trees
don’t smell like eucalyptuses. The trembling of 

is too horrible. Horrible as dust. With their long leaves
they strike. Olive trees are stronger, cows lie under them.
When a cow arrives, the cab leaves. Even now Žare’s 

again on his back. He prefers to lie peacefully
on his back in the water, collecting Andro. He says
he’s hard-working. (E molto bravo.) He doesn’t drink

anymore, he also doesn’t drink. His son is in electronics
in Trieste. It was Phaebo, when his little head fell on the 
    oil cloth.
They had an enormous flat above the drug store.

His father-in-law took it over. He proclaimed it his
property. My floor evaporates. I drop heavy balls.
I don’t know how to juggle them properly.

Translated from the Slovene by the author and Christopher Merrill.

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Yellow is my favourite colour. If red is fire and passion, and blue is calm water, yellow is a flower. Yellow is very few things? Famously: sunflowers, cheese, taxis, bees, rubber ducks. The child’s sun is yellow. As is what I used to call, as a child, ‘normal yellow butter’ (margarine). ‘Yellow’ is fun to […]
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