Silence of the Gospel – after Paul Éluard (1926)

We sleep alongside red angels who show us the desert without microscopics and without soft, sad awakenings. We sleep. A wing breaks us, escape, we have wheels older than flown feathers, lost, to explore the graveyards of slowness, the only luxury.

*

The bottle which surrounds the cloth of our wounds gives in to the slightest want. Let us take hearts, brains, the muscles of anger, let’s take the invisible flowers of pale little girls and tied children. Let us take the hand of memory, let us close our souvenir eyes, a theory of trees liberated by thieves hits us and divides us, all the fragments are good. Who will reassemble them: terror, suffering or disgust?

*

Sleep, my brothers. This inexplicable chapter has become incomprehensible. Giants pass by, breathing terrible moans, giant’s moans, moans like the dawn wants to push through them, the dawn which can’t complain anymore, after all this time, my brothers, after all this time.

Ships and Stars III – Solar

This star really cares for you. It sends out tiny formules to subtly alter your life – waves the size of solar fields flow through the gaps between things whilst hugging each living crowd, and silent material

indiscriminately fast. It sees oceans blasted off in clouds of silver crystals – pearlesce in the bright darkness, the mystery of the cards – that is, the infinite planes, stars arrayed in contusions.

Here, a crab, a fool, a drift of the aeons, each of which with a particular twist and flick, sends spells to raise us almost unnoticeably from the darkness – but en masse they make a thrumming cascade.

If there was not this support – each star’s clean cut influence – then the world would end, fold in. And that would be it. A proof of the love of everything for everything else, is this asteroid collapse into

V.39

I thought I was done writing love
poems. Then I had a moment.
Now the only poem that’s worth
thinking about consists of your

name, repeated as many times
as the structure will allow it.
The river is getting drier
and revealing my face, my hands

supplicant, on the cracking shore
encased in mud and algal growth
A face of pain, or quietness
and ducks scamper about on it,

clouds of gnats making me avert
my gaze. Can I redo this verse?
It was meant to be a love poem
I’ve lost track of what’s going on

When the new becomes coeval
with the dreamlike, we know true life
in our world has reached a strange point.
I assume the sun once felt like

a hand caressing your shoulder,
I assume. I think of your hand
caressing my shoulder like breath
pours out from within – there we go

On First Watching Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’

what has returned here
lacking limbs lacking hands
fingers toenails

what has been left behind
outside the glass box of your brain
where the scream shudders in
slapping kissing mutilating

what has been lost is smile
pie, coffee.

The knowing grin, but warm.

a cold darkness fills it
and flesh and facemap and wounds
wounds in the head

what has been let free
was inevitable as the scream

in its shackles it was complete
beautiful, horrifying

now the bullet passes through
cold, and leaving behind it
cold

A horror, a beautiful horror
but cold

Anti-Plato by Yves Bonnefoy

Yves Bonnefoy was a poet who worked in the french language in the second half of the twentieth century. He died last year. Here is my translation of the short series called “Anti-Plato” first published in 1947.

Disclaimer: I am not yet fluent in french, I translate in order to learn. That said, if you notice what you might call a ridiculous error, feel free to offer your corrected translation for my perusal.

ANTI-PLATO

I

What it’s really about is this object: a horse’s head, bigger than usual. Encrusted with a whole city, roads and defenses run between its eyes, hugging the twisting, turning, lengthening muzzle. Someone knew how to build this town out of wood and cardboard, how it should be lit by a real moon, It’s really about this object: the spinning wax head of a woman all tousled up on top of a phonograph.

All things from here, the willow country, frock country, stone country, that is: the country where the water runs over willow and stone, the country of dirtied frock-coats. All this laughter wrapped in blood, I tell you, traffickers of the timeless, you symmetrical faces you, forgetful of the gaze, weighs heavier in our minds than any of these perfect ideas which know only how to slowly bleed out in our mouths.

II

The horrendous weapon, a shadow-horned axe carried over the stones,
Weapon of the pallor and scream when you turn, wounded in your festival dress,
an axe because it’s time for time to draw away on the nape of your neck,
O heavy, with all the weight of a country in your hands the weapon falls.

III

What sense to give to this: a man form of wax and colours the sham-copy of a woman, the shield-guard of all resemblances, the necessity of living, given to it by a clever game of lights this doubt on the edge of the movement, the movement which expresses the smile.

Then arming itself with a torch, abandoning the entire body to the caprice of the flames, aiding the deformation, the bursting of the flesh, projecting at once a thousand possible figures, lighting-up in the process a horde of monsters, feeling like a knife the cut and thrust of this funereal dialectic where the blood statue is born again and divides itself in the infatuation of the wax, of the colours?

IV

The blood country goes on under the frock in a perpetually black rush
When we speak, here begins the night-flesh and gets bogged down in sand, the wrong paths
And you, madame scholar, you dig for the light of the brightest lamps of the flock,
and end up tipping over backwards onto the threshold of death’s bland country.

V

Imprisoned in a room, in a noise, a person shuffles cards. On one: “Eternity, I despise you”, on another “Let this instant free me”

And on yet another, a third, they write “essential death”. So they walk on time’s rift, lit up by their wound.

VI

We are in precisely one country on the mouth of the earth,
You, with one burst of melt-water thanks to the foliage,
and this one which we call “me”, when the day dims
and the gates open and we speak of death.

VII

Nothing can tear him from this obsession with the black chamber. Perched on a cistern, he tries to still the face under the water’s surface: but as always the lip’s movement triumphs.

Dismasted face, distressed, sinking face, is it enough to just touch her teeth, will she then die? At the passage of my fingers she could smile, like sand collapsing under footsteps.

VIII

Imprisoned between two thieves with green scorched surfaces
And your stony head, open to the wind’s drapes and tapestries
I watch you enter into summer (like a funereal mantis into the canvas of black grass)
I hear you cry out from summer’s rear.

IX

Someone said: dig this piece of loose earth until your teeth meet a stone.

Sensible only to the modulations, to transitions, the quiverings of balance, to the presence already given away by its explosions from everywhere, they look for the coolness of invasive death, they easily overcome a youthless eternity, a perfection without burning.

Time boils around this rock. O, to have touched this stone: the lamps of the world turn, the hidden light moves on.