The Faraway (Les Effarés)

By | 1 April 2016

from The Sad Songs of Hell

nights for sleeping, days for sweeping
if you missed the allusion wait
next time it’ll make sense

age & youth are equals out there
everyone celebrates, everyone
tries to hurt the blond lords

but violence is white & well-protected
barely anything is less enforceable
you’ll see it but you’ll be dead

the only cure for pain is discomfort
a lot of fine lawns baked into bread
new songs rising from smog

I don’t know, it’s late, I’m wasted
let’s have blood soup for breakfast
& talk communism some more

the best heirlooms are small,
sharp, aggressive, & almost sickening
wearing one should damage us

that’s what smokers think anyway
happy in their cloud of cologne
& carcinogenic meat

their life is fluff, it’s true
they don’t understand love, or ranting
for them it’s all cataclysms

resent, but exist
in any gap of turned earth it’s clear
this is paradise, people

hang us by ropes of archival roses
roast us alive, just say what you want
& we’ll parse the difference

it’s so much better! I’m winning
by speaking this way, lightly
all the way to the horizon

yes, it’s a form of white jail
but look how subtly language trembles
when it escapes the life it was…

Les Effarés

Noirs dans la neige et dans la brume,
Au grand soupirail qui s’allume,
Leurs culs en rond,

À genoux, cinq petits, – misère ! –
Regardent le boulanger faire
Le lourd pain blond…

Ils voient le fort bras blanc qui tourne
La pâte grise, et qui l’enfourne
Dans un trou clair.

Ils écoutent le bon pain cuire.
Le boulanger au gras sourire
Chante un vieil air.

Ils sont blottis, pas un ne bouge,
Au souffle du soupirail rouge,
Chaud comme un sein.

Et quand pendant que minuit sonne,
Façonné, pétillant et jaune,
On sort le pain,

Quand, sous les poutres enfumées,
Chantent les croûtes parfumées,
Et les grillons,

Quand ce trou chaud souffle la vie ;
Ils ont leur âme si ravie
Sous leurs haillons,

Ils se ressentent si bien vivre,
Les pauvres petits plein de givre,
– Qu’ils sont là, tous,

Collant leur petits museaux roses
Au grillage, chantant des choses,
Entre les trous,

Mais bien bas, – comme une prière…
Repliés vers cette lumière
Du ciel rouvert,

– Si fort, qu’ils crèvent leur culotte,
– Et que leur lange blanc tremblotte
Au vent d’hiver…

Note: the poem above is a “transmutation” of Arthur Rimbaud, which I define as a translation made by
someone lacking nearly all knowledge of the source language. Its primary method is to stare at the
source text and somewhat arbitrarily decide what it possibly/probably means.

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