translated from the French by Nathaniel Tarn

alligatorzine | zine

                                        to Raphaëlle & Julien


yet –
        but what were you saying
        on the forecourt at Phaistos?

– a stream of silent words
        waves of transparent silences

– on the flagstone at the theater’s edge
facing the field of olive trees – their gray syllables
        with that sun, like a full stop:

        interrogation with no other substance
        than the all-presence of that stop

        or affirmation nailed to the sky,
        the most insoluble of questions

& Ida, the holy mountain in the background
grumbling a bunch of gut gurgles at us,

        belching gusts, a storm, and again:

        great cloud draperies roiling
        with other voices than those of the cave’s god

                of rough stone voices and stale
                stable stench of a goat-milk gorged runt,
                tantrums of a filthy kid loving its own stench

                with the limpid voice of another than yourself
                who looked like you and faded

– so what were you telling us,
        you, already lost to yourself
        now become a legible thread over time

        body reduced to your gaze on things
        heart shut already, but feeling life
        in what it         at that very moment
        had of immobility, prehensibility

yes, how tell, what were you, already absent from self –

        saying, self’s nullity, already?


nothing –
        nothing not dust

& that light

        itself resembling itself

        as much as you, so like your reflection
        your absence from yourself         transparency

        that light polishing these empty ruins

                & your gaze turned on Messara Valley
                plain at rest under sky at rest

& dust of centuries, yes         lustration

                white baptism, absent gods
                both blind & blinding gods

        great wash of light on the flow of time

oh sure you enter that solution of desiccated acids,
you are live flesh,         yet dry

you don’t belong to yourself, you display nothing of being

you will certainly have gone back to your plain atom state
in the infinite moment which follows this condensation

        above the Phaistos platform

        & eagles scream & the air deepens

on your trajectory                 you cross

        that slow, breathable air

        mineral like you

        solemnly disturbed by birds’ flight feathers


the drunkard, you

                on the raw flagstone

on the depot of time
                on the sharp crest where dry air
        battles the clouds downing from the mountain

he gets high on that sun

        he has found the equilibrium of the secular boozer

& the true balance between affirming and decomposing

        between fable and reality

and that shot of dark, sharp clarity which creates him
        keeps him going that way
                on the cusp –

everything concurs to delimit his circle of certainties

        & to terminate

                                the air flickers
                                on the cusp

        the drunkard and the air he breathes are

                reliably sourced

                & their ends


                                        tabula rasa


then the storm, yes

        the cataract then
        has taken out the sky

        your life since your start
        has been a function of these rain showers

        you only write well under showers,
        the irony of those waterfalls –

visible only the wall of dark water streaming down on creation

ravines have gobbled down rubble, ditches trash

        rivulets mourning abundantly, packed with dead sprouts
        on the edge of the road, raging garbage dumps

the whole mountain has barfed out its decay, its inflammations

        toward the gorges, at Omalos, sky
        has married gravel
                (will’ o’ the’ wisps
        under headlights, it’s the red eyes
        of sheep sleeping
        on the flooded tarmac

– once more this farce, played out
in the theater where shadows run to bring down
the platitudes thought of as basic truths:

        get going now, go soak
        in the stream of mud

        you’ll only earn more merit
        by catching breath, lungs
        cleansed by the wave

If you lie down here, be aware that your back, ribs, loins
will also know how to remind you there is no dawn in the sky
but for armfuls of violent night you’ll have had to digest

        spit it all out then, get rid of dross

        wash the sky’s sewers, your burden of sky

        come back once again onto the flagstone
        where this sun cooks & roasts the residues of time


allow it allow

the knife’s blade on the ram’s throat, –
                                                                what splendor
                                        that black blood!

lean, lean

        your head over the pit

        once split open the bellies of the arrogant pretenders
        the traveler went down into cellars with servant girls
        to get drunk on rough wine, and the girls washed
        the blood off his body, and he got back into his boat
        after honoring the spouse, and the place where he was born

        and cutting all ties

                                                        double faithfulness

the pit is open, the pit is open

shadows from down there mutter their vanities
number their fainting, the impossible possibles

grasses rise in armfulls to close their mouth

extremely slow animals come to orchestrate the theater
that knife blade drew on the cavern’s stomach

& you, you’re going to go down to take your turn bathing

you’ll throw yourself from the headland,
dumb bundle of drunken blood, bag of winds

with Africa’s sea in the background

& huge slides of sand at the edge of savannahs

& those springs & those resting places for the migratory

                back from the north, in the dawns’ arms

This material is © Auxeméry
English translation © Nathaniel Tarn
www.alligatorzine.be | © alligator 2013