Wednesday Jan 24

DebeljakAles Aleš Debeljak has published eight books of poetry and twelve books of essays in Slovenian. His books have appeared in English, Japanese, German, Croatian, Serbian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Spanish, Slovak, Finnish, Lithuanian, and Italian translation. Without Anesthesia: New and Selected Poems appeared from Persea Books in 2010. He has won the Preseren Foundation Prize (Slovenian National Book Award), the Miriam Lindberg Israel Poetry for Peace Prize, the Chiqyu Poetry Prize in Japan, and the Jenko Prize. Debeljak teaches in the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.
 
HenryBrian Brian Henry is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Doppelgänger (Talisman House, 2011). His translation of Aleš Šteger’s The Book of Things appeared from BOA Editions in 2010 and won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry. He has received numerous awards for his work, including fellowships from the NEA, the Howard Foundation, and the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Ljubezensko drevo

 
Drevo, ki raste tam, kjer ljubezni se vrtijo v krog,
nevedni naraščaj strasti, drevo je že mogoče sveto,
ampak če pod njim ležiš, kot jaz, s prepolno glavo
in drobovjem, ki drgeta kot trop sestradanih meduz,
 
ti ostane bore malo možnosti. Kar se mene tiče,
je razglednica prispela že prepozno, vozni red
odprave se ni spremenil, sploh ne. Odpreti moram
usta: večerna sluz, stopinje do bifeja, slane preste
 
in riba, ki jo izpljunem v jutro brez pridevnikov.
Treba bo dvigniti zapornice: kdor zdaj sam ostane,
ne na varnem, ampak suh, kdor zdaj noče s tokom
usklajeno tarnati, kdor v tenki plamen raje gleda
 
kot pod gladino, ta bo še dolgo sam ostal, kavarne
komaj obiskane in knjige o vremenu in hladne pipe.
Drevo, ki raste tam, kjer ljubezni se vrtijo v krog,
je znane vrste, veliko moje blaznosti in malo lipe.
 
 

The Tree of Love

 
The tree that grows there, where love turns in a circle,
the ignorant offspring of passion, the tree might be holy,
but if you lie under it, like I do, head overflowing
and innards trembling like a swarm of starving jellyfish,
 
few options remain for you. As for me, the postcard
arrived too late, the timetable for the expedition
hasn’t changed, not at all. I have to open my mouth:
the evening slime, footsteps to the bar, salty pretzels
 
and fish, which I spit out into the morning without adjectives.
The floodgates will have to open: who is alone now stays,
not safe, but dry, who refuses now to lament in harmony
with the stream, who prefers to stare into a thin flame
 
rather than below the surface, he will long remain so,
hardly visit cafes and books on weather and cold pipes.
The tree that grows there, where love turns in a circle,
is of a known species, much of my madness, a bit of linden.
 
 
 
Raznašalec časopisov

 
Zlezel sem skoz lino južne svetlobe, nekateri
so jo imeli za mrak, in šel peš do mesta, dobro
ga poznam, imel sem težke žepe in naletaval
je moker sneg: čakali so me časopisni snopi.
 
Nujna zadeva: kdor ljubi, tvega mnogo oblik
začudenja. Listi šelestijo, gorijo naslovnice
in popularni komentarji v zgornjem levem
kotu. Poročila o prepirih med štirimi zidovi
 
in stropom mrgolijo, med nebom in prosečimi
pogledi. Zlivajo se v reportaže o lakoti in
črno kroniko, osmrtnice za kurirje fantazije
in poglavja o govorici divjih rož, mogoče
 
sivka, tulipani gotovo ne. Bos hodim v tuji
zimi, nič prav dobro ne pomaga, zlorabljam
mnoge bralce in tiskarske škrate, novice
nadomeščam s ploščatimi skalami otoka Paga.
 

 
Paperboy


I climbed through the window of southern light,
some considered it dark, and walked to the city
I know well. My pockets were heavy and wet snow
fell: piles of newspaper were waiting for me.
 
An urgent matter: whoever loves risks many forms
of astonishment. Leaves rustle, headlines
and popular commentaries in the upper left corner
burn. Accounts of arguments between four walls
 
and the ceiling swarm, between the sky and pleading
looks. They flow into reportage on hunger and
the crime page, obituaries for messengers of fantasy
and chapters on the language of wild flowers, perhaps
 
lavender, certainly not tulips. I walk barefoot
in the foreign winter, nothing really helps, I abuse
many readers and misprints, replace
news with flat rocks from the island of Pag.
 

 
Na palubi

 
Prišla sva gledat, kako se je prijelo seme
na tujih tleh, fin arabski pesek v mednožju,
prijetno ščemenje med plovbo redne linije,
bazarji in dišave, mehke kaplje in ostre čeri,
 
med moškim in žensko je vsako srečanje prvo,
vročični poljub, možna izbira med tu in tam,
kjer ni opore, se je treba odločiti na lastno pest
in vlogo odigrati, ki ni prosila, ampak zahtevala,
 
da sem po terasah velikega trajekta, po kabinah
za potnike lovil vonje in strani, iztrgane replike
brez pomoči in šepetalke. Dobro ve posadka,
kaj je treba delati in kaj storiti, drugače kakor
 
ti in jaz, ko sva prišla pogledat, kaj se skriva
v črnici med razpokami lesa, tatinski prsti
in slabost v želodcu. Palubo so zasedli zbiralci
perja in zamujenih priložnosti: kdo je zdaj na vrsti?
 


On the Deck

 
We have come to see how the seed had taken root
in foreign soil, fine Arabian sand in the crotch,
a pleasant tingling during the regular voyage,
bazaars and fragrances, soft drops and sharp rocks,
 
between a man and a woman every meeting is the first,
a feverish kiss, a possible choice between here and there,
where there is no support, one must decide on his own
and play the role, which did not ask, but demanded
 
that along the terraces of the large ferry, through passenger
cabins, I chase odors and pages, torn-out replies
without assistance and a prompter. The crew knows well
what it must make and what to do, unlike
 
you and me, when we came to see what’s hidden
in the black dirt between the cracks in the wood, thieving fingers
and nausea. The deck has been occupied by collectors
of feathers and missed opportunities: whose turn is it now?


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