Franz Wright
Jenn Morea
Ted Pelton
Susan M. Schultz
Amanda Nadelberg
Standard Schaefer
Matthew Cooperman
Ed Taylor
Coralie Reed
Gretchen Mattox
Mark Rudman
Ales Debeljak
Simon Perchik
Bendall on Wagner
Schroeder on Mullen
Thompson on Gibson
Minor on Tran
Rippey on Hannah

ALES DEBELJAK : soaked with a need to refuse the reign of objects

Addict's Song

In the mirror across from our bed
the image of a paradise rises halfway
and the scent of island lavender
wakes up a thunder in the spine.
Unannounced and impossible to restrain,
its sound rips the arc of the body open
down the middle. To endure the rhythm
dictated by a dark silhouette of grace
and a blossom that smells sweetly
even when closed. To bear the happy ignorance
of whether youíre a person or a narrow passageway
that sometimes withholds. To bear the whims
of a lost god, take penance upon myself:
this is the price to be paid, to endure and not
to leave the source, be bent as necessary,
and to drink, drink without stopping
from the honeycomb between your parted legs,
every moment spinning a promise of more.

Revelation of Milk

It's uncomfortable to lean against
the round walls of the fountain.
But the peace a crying child demands
must dwell in every corner. This
is the first law. Now as before.
And so, the baby falls asleep
on his mother's breast, here and there
still sucking a little, sinking into sleep.
In the gap between two houses
on the square, the sea appears and fades
and reappears. The mother's tiniest finger
glides along the edge of his mouth
to stop the drooling milk. The fortress
in Istria murmurs, a tree comes to life
out of stone, its roots hold to earth
tighter than desire. The tongue stirs.
I would like to try, the voice says,
soaked with a need to refuse the reign
of objects, and frail as if not spoken
by the father. You move closer and kneel,
naturally, gazing into the blue of nipples
and breasts, their pale gleam stretched
like an olive before it gives oil.
A few hairs around them, like a faint light
at the end of a tunnel, the opening
of a channel you will go through.
The warm glow is inaccessible
until your final breath, and so airy
you can surrender with ease. Roads
once left behind in friends and books,
they disappear, and you recognize
that every drop is yours, as the woman
over you lifts the swollen fruit.

Persistent Storm

A coastal wind blows cold around the corners,
so passionate, so strange, it cannot arrive
any other way, the shirt and scarf are torn
from my body, it rushes my bones and enters
electric lines, turning orchards to ash.
But there is no choice: now and then
a storm from the south imports a draft
of despair, dying down and leveling off
to routine. Only the beauty of extremes
can dissent, that and maybe a little flame
centered within a circle where we dance.
There's no choice: I will be orphaned
if I spit out what surprises my own throat,
if I am too quick, donít get around to holding
back the miracle in my mouth, or between
the hips of a naked self, weightless
and letting the light pass through
like dancing a final time with the rest
of my tribe. I must get up and run
on behalf of everyone sleeping alone,
run and keep running in spirals, in sweat,
all the way down to the base of the spine
which bows like a mast in the storm,
driven into the space my semen fills.

Before a Throne

Wait for me, my lord, I would like
to stop for a moment, I would
like to sit down, to cross my legs and look
at nothing but you. Please excuse me,
but I would like to see you up close
and from the top of a dizzying tower,
want to see myself as you see me,
you who take shelter from history
in the flickering of flat, impassive stars.
You see a woman dressed in a cotton shirt,
her talent for comfort, her loyal physique,
a woman who wants to make a home
in all this: let her, lord, in your huge hand
reaching toward the north, where it vanishes
like silver among the fish, in the no man's water
of the Atlantic. Maybe I myself will see her
just as I am seen, beneath a sky that fades
as memory fades, totally alone in the world,
a garden of compulsory twilight.
While my family and children, playing
somewhere, slipped out of earshot
at your approach, you pressed against me
tighter than the need, entered and
devoured me in an instant that knows
no end. With a glue as white as dolphin fins
you splashed my forehead and face.
I would like, if only once, to see this as you do.

translated from the Slovenian by Andrew Zawacki and the author



(c) 2005 Slope. Slope is ISSN # 1536-0164.