Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pierre Alferi

DON’T CUT THE LINE

It’s wonderful
Not to know where things come from
Hidden sequences
Are finer
There are intrigues
In the midst of which you forget
The beginning, no longer anticipate the end
For another moment or so
Everything is penetrable.


It begins like that, in the middle
Of a conversation: the market has already blossomed
In the burning hot square
The budding phase
And to call this town
Venice it was necessary to camouflage
The infrastructure, to place
Forks knowingly
Spillikins over the orchestra pit.
The merchandise brought in
By convoys without headlights
Silently at night
Rivals nature.
Give us our money back! Yet it’s wonderful
Not to know where things come from
Not even children and when ethnologists
Pose as missionaries
Of family planning
To laugh with the savages.
Hidden sequences
Are finer. If you grasp them, lift them
By the neck like poisonous
Snakes, sticks
Entwined, many sentences
Are compatible. Their jaws
Open so wide beneath the pressure of your fingers
If necessary, another tube
Slots in and all the plumbing
Gets going with liquid joints.
What is it that gives this morning
With its well-punctuated accidents
Of the market, the café, the return to the dark-room
The cohesion of a film? Not the music
Stuck on top, redundant, the shame
Of cinema. No, a prosody, improvised
Perhaps which doubles back
On itself nonchalantly. Impossible to tear it away
From its pretext, it will pollute
The air, the film alone remaining
On walls and skin. Molded brass:
A link between two movements
Hidden between two currents. That’s how
It begins, when the journey’s underway. That’s pretty much
What I mean. – But it makes no sense
My poor friend. – Fine. There are intrigues
In the midst of which you forget
The beginning, no longer anticipate the end: gangsters on the run
Place themselves like paper sumo wrestlers
On a cardboard platform but it’s just a circle
Traced in the sand on the beach. So
Their associates beat the ground with the flats of their hands:
They fall still rigid, the reel turns faster
The spectators tremble in their seats
Until one of them crosses
The line. Fine art. What could you do
Today that would be better than to raise
The miniature to the real size of the game?
Miniscule fragments stretch themselves out
The breakdown vehicle here to save us is held together with rubber bands.
That happened for no reason at all
On our journey
Towards death. The tardy explorer
In mid descent of the Orinoco or the Amazon
Develops a fever, paralysed he watches the sliding
Of an interminable snake, the mouth seems
As distant as the source. Or
Sitting in the middle of a tree trunk, look
He remarks that it’s a crocodile.
Such things happen in life: halfway through
In the ambiguous zone where for another moment or so
Everything remains amorphous, penetrable – or so you would like to believe.
Anonymous well-wishers make sure ends meet
Fill the stalls’ empty boxes but we must
Hope that when night comes the dildos will adapt
To the universal harness. That’s how
It begins, that’s how
I understand it provided that no conductor
Decides to tap the rostrum with his stick
And that no date is fixed.

NE COUPEZ PAS

NE COUPEZ PAS

C’est beau
De ne pas savoir d’où viennent les choses
Les enchaînements secrets
Sont plus fins
Il est des intrigues
Au milieu desquelles on oublie
Le début, n’attend plus la fin
Quelques instants encore
Tout peut tout pénétrer.


Ça commence comme ça, au milieu
D’une conversation : le marché a déjà fleuri
Sur la place brûlant
L’étape des bourgeons
Et pour appeler cette ville
Venise il a fallu bien camoufler
L’infrastructure, placer
Savamment des branchages
Mikado sur la fosse d’orchestre.
Les marchandises acheminées
Par des convois sans phares
Silencieusement la nuit
Rivalisent avec la nature.
Remboursez ! Cependant c’est beau
De ne pas savoir d’où viennent les choses
Ni les enfants et quand les ethnologues
Se prennent pour des missionnaires
Du planning familial
De pouffer avec les sauvages.
Les enchaînements secrets
Sont plus fins. Si tu les saisis, les soulèves
Par le cou comme les serpents
Venimeux, les baguettes
Enchevêtrées, beaucoup de phrases
Sont compatibles. Leur gueule
Sous la pression des doigts s’ouvre incroyablement
Si nécessaire, un autre tube
S’encastre et toute la plomberie
S’installe avec des joints liquides.
Qu’est-ce qui donne ce matin
Aux accidents bien ponctués
Du marché, du café, du retour à la chambre noire
La cohésion d’un film? Pas la musique
Plaquée si redondante qui est la honte
Du cinéma. Une prosodie plutôt
Improvisée qui fait aussi retour
Sur soi nonchalamment. Impossible de l’arracher
À son prétexte, elle va polluer
L’air, seul reste le film
Sur les murs et la peau. Brasse coulée :
Un maillon entre deux mouvements
Entre deux eaux caché. C’est comme ça
Que cela commence, en cours de route. C’est plutôt ça
Que je dis. – Mais on n’y comprend rien
Mon pauvre ami. – Bon. Il est des intrigues
Au milieu desquelles on oublie
Le début, n’attend plus la fin : les gangsters en cavale
Se mettent en position de sumotori de papier
Sur une estrade en carton mais c’est un simple cercle
Tracé dans le sable de la plage. Alors
Des acolytes frappent le sol de leurs paumes :
Eux ils s’ébranlent toujours figés, la bobine accélère
Les spectateurs sur leur siège tremblent
Jusqu’à ce que l’un d’eux transgresse
La ligne. Du grand art. Que peux-tu faire
De mieux aujourd’hui que d’élever
À la grandeur naturelle d’un jeu sa copie miniature ?
De minuscules fragments s’étirent
Le véhicule qui nous dépanne tient par des élastiques.
Cela eut lieu sans queue ni tête
Au milieu du chemin
De notre mort. L’explorateur tardif
En pleine descente de l’Orénoque ou l’Amazone
Est pris de fièvre, il voit paralysé glisser
Un interminable serpent, l’embouchure lui paraît
Aussi lointaine que la source. Ou
Assis au milieu d’un tronc d’arbre, tiens
Il note que c’est un crocodile.
De telles choses arrivent dans la vie : à mi-course
Dans la zone indécise où pour quelques instants encore
Tout peut tout pénétrer – du moins veut-on le croire.
D’anonymes bienfaiteurs assurent la soudure
Remplissent les cases vides des étals mais il faut
Espérer que la nuit venue les godemichés s’adapteront
Sur le harnais universel. C’est comme ça
Que cela commence, comme ça
Que je l’entends pourvu qu’un chef
Ne s’avise pas de tapoter le pupitre de sa baguette
Et que l’on n’arrête aucune date.
Close

DON’T CUT THE LINE

It’s wonderful
Not to know where things come from
Hidden sequences
Are finer
There are intrigues
In the midst of which you forget
The beginning, no longer anticipate the end
For another moment or so
Everything is penetrable.


It begins like that, in the middle
Of a conversation: the market has already blossomed
In the burning hot square
The budding phase
And to call this town
Venice it was necessary to camouflage
The infrastructure, to place
Forks knowingly
Spillikins over the orchestra pit.
The merchandise brought in
By convoys without headlights
Silently at night
Rivals nature.
Give us our money back! Yet it’s wonderful
Not to know where things come from
Not even children and when ethnologists
Pose as missionaries
Of family planning
To laugh with the savages.
Hidden sequences
Are finer. If you grasp them, lift them
By the neck like poisonous
Snakes, sticks
Entwined, many sentences
Are compatible. Their jaws
Open so wide beneath the pressure of your fingers
If necessary, another tube
Slots in and all the plumbing
Gets going with liquid joints.
What is it that gives this morning
With its well-punctuated accidents
Of the market, the café, the return to the dark-room
The cohesion of a film? Not the music
Stuck on top, redundant, the shame
Of cinema. No, a prosody, improvised
Perhaps which doubles back
On itself nonchalantly. Impossible to tear it away
From its pretext, it will pollute
The air, the film alone remaining
On walls and skin. Molded brass:
A link between two movements
Hidden between two currents. That’s how
It begins, when the journey’s underway. That’s pretty much
What I mean. – But it makes no sense
My poor friend. – Fine. There are intrigues
In the midst of which you forget
The beginning, no longer anticipate the end: gangsters on the run
Place themselves like paper sumo wrestlers
On a cardboard platform but it’s just a circle
Traced in the sand on the beach. So
Their associates beat the ground with the flats of their hands:
They fall still rigid, the reel turns faster
The spectators tremble in their seats
Until one of them crosses
The line. Fine art. What could you do
Today that would be better than to raise
The miniature to the real size of the game?
Miniscule fragments stretch themselves out
The breakdown vehicle here to save us is held together with rubber bands.
That happened for no reason at all
On our journey
Towards death. The tardy explorer
In mid descent of the Orinoco or the Amazon
Develops a fever, paralysed he watches the sliding
Of an interminable snake, the mouth seems
As distant as the source. Or
Sitting in the middle of a tree trunk, look
He remarks that it’s a crocodile.
Such things happen in life: halfway through
In the ambiguous zone where for another moment or so
Everything remains amorphous, penetrable – or so you would like to believe.
Anonymous well-wishers make sure ends meet
Fill the stalls’ empty boxes but we must
Hope that when night comes the dildos will adapt
To the universal harness. That’s how
It begins, that’s how
I understand it provided that no conductor
Decides to tap the rostrum with his stick
And that no date is fixed.

DON’T CUT THE LINE

It’s wonderful
Not to know where things come from
Hidden sequences
Are finer
There are intrigues
In the midst of which you forget
The beginning, no longer anticipate the end
For another moment or so
Everything is penetrable.


It begins like that, in the middle
Of a conversation: the market has already blossomed
In the burning hot square
The budding phase
And to call this town
Venice it was necessary to camouflage
The infrastructure, to place
Forks knowingly
Spillikins over the orchestra pit.
The merchandise brought in
By convoys without headlights
Silently at night
Rivals nature.
Give us our money back! Yet it’s wonderful
Not to know where things come from
Not even children and when ethnologists
Pose as missionaries
Of family planning
To laugh with the savages.
Hidden sequences
Are finer. If you grasp them, lift them
By the neck like poisonous
Snakes, sticks
Entwined, many sentences
Are compatible. Their jaws
Open so wide beneath the pressure of your fingers
If necessary, another tube
Slots in and all the plumbing
Gets going with liquid joints.
What is it that gives this morning
With its well-punctuated accidents
Of the market, the café, the return to the dark-room
The cohesion of a film? Not the music
Stuck on top, redundant, the shame
Of cinema. No, a prosody, improvised
Perhaps which doubles back
On itself nonchalantly. Impossible to tear it away
From its pretext, it will pollute
The air, the film alone remaining
On walls and skin. Molded brass:
A link between two movements
Hidden between two currents. That’s how
It begins, when the journey’s underway. That’s pretty much
What I mean. – But it makes no sense
My poor friend. – Fine. There are intrigues
In the midst of which you forget
The beginning, no longer anticipate the end: gangsters on the run
Place themselves like paper sumo wrestlers
On a cardboard platform but it’s just a circle
Traced in the sand on the beach. So
Their associates beat the ground with the flats of their hands:
They fall still rigid, the reel turns faster
The spectators tremble in their seats
Until one of them crosses
The line. Fine art. What could you do
Today that would be better than to raise
The miniature to the real size of the game?
Miniscule fragments stretch themselves out
The breakdown vehicle here to save us is held together with rubber bands.
That happened for no reason at all
On our journey
Towards death. The tardy explorer
In mid descent of the Orinoco or the Amazon
Develops a fever, paralysed he watches the sliding
Of an interminable snake, the mouth seems
As distant as the source. Or
Sitting in the middle of a tree trunk, look
He remarks that it’s a crocodile.
Such things happen in life: halfway through
In the ambiguous zone where for another moment or so
Everything remains amorphous, penetrable – or so you would like to believe.
Anonymous well-wishers make sure ends meet
Fill the stalls’ empty boxes but we must
Hope that when night comes the dildos will adapt
To the universal harness. That’s how
It begins, that’s how
I understand it provided that no conductor
Decides to tap the rostrum with his stick
And that no date is fixed.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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