Friday, October 30, 2020


from Whores

With me is a railroad man

in a railroad uniform,

with a railroad whistle and pocket watch,

and a railroad cap.

He talks about trains,

the express, the cannonball.

He remembers a girl

he left behind on the train.

Before he lies down

he turns off the lamp.

Outside, falling snowflakes

mingle with electric sparks.

Asleep he holds me

by my breasts,

still wearing his wool socks

with a toe sticking out of each one.

In the morning he runs

across the tracks.

He loses his cap.

He finds his cap.


With me is a man

who talks too much,

talks about everything,

so he sees nothing.

The washpan with red

and blue roses,

or the frog in the pan

with twelve baby frogs.

Sees neither my left

nor my right shoulder,

nor my cheeks caked

with thick powder.

Sees neither my thing,

nor his thing,

babbling so much he forgets

why he came.

I stuck a finger

under his tongue

and my finger stayed

in his mouth.


With me is a young woman

who loves only women.

She smokes unfiltered cigarettes,

sways while she walks,

pays for my services

in foreign currency.

Her breasts are still

just two drops of honey,

she uses a whip,

sips ghastly concoctions.

We dream of each other,

exchange places.

When I wake, I see beside me,

my own funny childlike face

with buck teeth

and high cheek bones.

At night, a beard and a mustache

grow on her. In the morning,

she is again herself,

neither better nor worse than she is.


With me is a long-legged,

long-eared stallion.

His other horsy virtues

I won't even mention.

He bolted from under

his master's whip.

He's tired of high-class mares,

he wants only me.

He strokes me with his head

and his tufted mane.

He's happy when I ride him

naked, wearing only boots.

His eye is human

and so is his impatience

and his well-developed

sense of humor.

He eats blue-tinted sugar cubes

out of my hand.

In some respect, he's a man.

In others, just a horse.


With me is a grinning


when he walks, the bones

make a racket.

At times he loses

some small bone,

so we look for it

among the bedding.

Expertly, I fit

the missing bone between two others

It's tiring work,

but it gives me pleasure.

At times, he tries to drink

from my glass.

The way the wine puddles on the floor

makes him truly miserable.

If he had any nerves,

he'd lose them in bed

having to listen

to the rattle of his bones.


With me is the God

of all gods.

I have no other god

but him.

Without fuss

he kisses me everywhere;

on my head, on my forehead,

on my undone hair,

on my mouth while I speak,

in my armpits,

on my wet tits,

on my left and on my right knee,

inside my lungs, in my heart,

in my bowels,

in both kidneys,

and in my full and in my empty gut.

With great art he handles

the venerable tool.

God is truly within me,

or any other girl like me.

Devil's Lunch
Aleksandar Ristovic
selected poems
translated by Charles Simic

I'm always returning to Ristovic.
There is a accent mark over the "c"
I can't do it, but I do it with a pen in hand.
And again Charles Simic at the helm.
They should give him a prize for his
decades of work as translator, always
sizzling, and maybe they have.
The only prizes I pay attention to now
are the birthdays of our two
granddaughters, the rest
is filigree.
I also adore this edition
and design from Faber & Faber.
Did you know there was only one Faber?