Mathias Svalina



  • in a country I only understand 
  • through poems written 
  • by Tomaž Šalamun. 
  • And again the wonder of art
  • makes me wonder why 
  • we wonder at the power 
  • to kill that each thing has, 
  • why we resist joy, 
  • & why this resistance 
  • can feel like a face. 
  • A metaphor is a figure of speech 
  • in which a battery is cut in half.
  • A simile is a figure of speech 
  • comparing injury to scar.
  • The theme of a poem is a cube.
  • Fuck poems, poetry. 
  • I want to dance with you 
  • until the seams decay. 
  • I want to follow your blue voice 
  • that lives in my mouth 
  • & hold a plastic tarp 
  • outstretched in my arms over you 
  • so the falling songbirds 
  • become a balcony.
  • Tomaž: Do you like American music?
  • Me: Yeah, I like American music. 
  • Tomaž: Are you terrified?
  • Me: I am terrified—
  • it is December Eighth 
  • & I feel no such thing as change.
  • Being alive confuses me, 
  • exiled from a center 
  • to a triumphal arch
  • & each time I see my face
  • it reminds me of me. 
  • Fuck poetry & everything 
  • makes the day a magician
  • of white noise & cotton.
  • Tomaž, I never knew you, 
  • but I want to read all your poems,
  • everything, forever,
  • to never stop, like a train, 
  • like skin, like a throat,
  • to believe in love & fill 
  • each house of each breath
  • with the hips of the ocean,
  • in a room filled with preachers 
  • with the hills growing human hair 
  • with the very thing 
  • our muscles need 
  • to hold the dirt we are
  • to be buried in
  • inside. 

MATHIAS SVALINA is the author of five books, most recently The Wine-Dark Sea from Sidebrow Books. He is an editor for Octopus Books and runs a dream delivery service (

Issue Two
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