I want a verse as taut as bamboo

I want a verse as taut as bamboo

buffalos’ anathema, Satan’s hard planks

snails’ anathema, flabbiness of those succumbed in wars

worms! I want a carpet of hunger to heaven’s gates

I want fanfare, splendor, genuflection

the service of the priests, blind churning of the crowds

I, the king, want blessing for the slaughter

from Your Hands O Lord, a pillar for the abyss

I want a scepter, a gift for black lips

dry crackling pretzels, silk of Lilliput

I smell mattresses on rusty hooks

brushwood in my arms, I smell wounds in shrieks

bread anathema, lodged wheat of the dead lineage

ants drowned in bogs, punctured moths

travelers & sailors, juniper, holy sites

I crush the gravel in souls, I drink glory

— Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author