Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pierre Alferi

Traminiscences

There were
octrois
cabarets
slums
factories
film studios
are still
warehouses
silos
cement works
canals
 
The track lines and splits
the frost of a past left
incompletely masked in the no
man’s land and now the memories
trapped in the suburban limbo
prisoners of a transit zone
spatter flutter wandering souls
freed from their amber beads
innocuous zombies stuck
to the window they hurtle down obliquely
with the raindrops are we
under attack from the people of memory
the works have accidentally exhumed?
isn’t it just the violent tremor
caused by the excavation of section
T3 that briefly caused                       a movement of
 
TRAMINISCENCE?
 
a tent
a portable stove
 
an eighteen year-old seamstress
eyes on her work
 
a boy pulling a cart
 
cats with eyes wet
with coryza
 
a schoolgirl in clumpy shoes
 
an old bearded man lying flat
on a great coat
 
a wounded soldier
with his medals
 
a young black worker
 
children running wild as if streets
were forests
 
a Sunday gardener
 
a robust old lady
 
two mechanics in blue
with moustaches
 
aunt Isabelle, who only discovered Paris aged thirteen, at the Liberation, back from Egypt where the family had no news of her father during the four years of occupation, walked with her best friend Catherine every Sunday around the old fortifications, completing, or so she said, several complete circuits of the city, but in disconnected sections that she never managed to link clearly in her mind, because already the works – destruction of the last bastions, diggings, then the périphérique tarmacked – were changing, from month to month and even week to week, the landscape
 
La Chapelle is a village
on a hill known for its mills
the way Belleville
Montmartre Ménilmontant
are for their vines
 
and yet most
of the events that affect us
most strongly leave no physical trace
or barely an alley lit for a fraction
of a second among the synapses a puff
of smoke dissipated by a gust
of wind the imagination alone
– or what remains of it in a deep coma
overtaken by events
far more powerful than any image –
 
inscribes emotions
in the cement the stone
the earth the glass
 
giving them
 
the three dimensions
 
of a
 
 
décor
 
 
 
 
disturbing the earth
frees the dead
 
a gas
         the past briefly escapes
 
         dissipates
 
 
the presidential suite
of the bank is a raised
jetty the desk
a capsule overlooking
the canal where
grain-loaded barges passed
the only flux followed there
now: that of the stock exchange
 

TRAMINISCENTIES

Er waren
tolhuizen
tingeltangels
sloppenwijken
fabrieken
filmstudio’s
er zijn nog
pakhuizen
silo’s
cementfabrieken
kanalen
 
Het tramstel trekt en snijdt
de vorst van een verleden dat door niets
duidelijk werd bedekt in het nie-
mandsland en nu gutsen en fladderen
de herinneringen gevat in de schemerige
voorstadsgebieden gevangen
in een overgangsgebied dolende zielen
bevrijd van hun barnstenen bellen
ongevaarlijke zombies geplakt
op de ruit waar ze schuin afdalen
met de regendruppels worden wij
bestookt door het geheugenvolk
dat het bouwterrein per toeval heeft opgegraven?
is het niet meer dan de uiterste tremor
te wijten aan de graafwerken van de lijn
T3 die voorlopig leidde tot                                    een stroom van
 
TRAMINISCENTIE?
 
een tent
een komfoor
 
een achttienjarig naaistertje
de blik op haar werk
 
een jongen die een kar trekt
 
katten met ogen die tranen
vanwege een coryza
 
een schoolmeisje in turftrappers
 
een oude man met baard uitgestrekt
op een grote jas
 
een oorlogsgewonde
met zijn medailles
 
een jonge zwarte arbeider
 
kinderen die in de straten werden losgelaten
als in een bos
 
een zondagstuinder
 
een rijzige, forse dame op leeftijd
 
twee besnorde monteurs
in het blauw
 
tante Isabelle, die Parijs pas op haar dertiende ontdekte, bij de Bevrijding, terug uit Egypte, waar de familie gedurende de vier bezettingsjaren niets had gehoord van haar vader, nam de gewoonte aan om elke zondag te gaan wandelen met haar boezemvriendin Catherine rond de oude vestingwerken, en aldus deed ze, naar ze beweert, verschillende keren de ronde van de stad, maar door niet aaneengesloten stukken weg die ze niet helder in haar geest kon verbinden, want de werken – vernietiging van de laatste bolwerken, uitgravingen, daarna aanstampen van de périphérique – veranderden toen al, van de ene maand of zelfs week op de andere, het landschap
 
La Chapelle is een hooggelegen dorp
dat bekend staat om zijn molens
zoals Belleville
Montmartre Ménilmontant
om hun wijngaarden
 
en toch laten de meeste
gebeurtenissen die ons het meest
aangrijpen geen fysieke sporen na
of bijna een verlicht steegje een fractie
van een seconde tussen de synapsen een wolkje
rook verstrooid door een vlaag
wind enkel de verbeelding
of wat ons ervan in coma overblijft
voorbijgestreefd door de gebeurtenissen
groter dan elke afbeelding –
 
graveert de emoties
in het cement de steen
de aarde het glas
 
en verleent ze
 
het verdachte reliëf
 
van een
 
decor
 
 
 
de aarde doorwoelen
bevrijdt de doden
 
een gas
ontsnapt het verleden voor even
 
lost op
 
 
de presidentssuite
van de bank is een verhoogde
pier het kantoor
een capsule die uitsteekt
over het kanaal waar
graanaken voorbijtrokken
de enige loop die er nu nog
wordt gevolgd: die van de beurs

Close

Traminiscences

There were
octrois
cabarets
slums
factories
film studios
are still
warehouses
silos
cement works
canals
 
The track lines and splits
the frost of a past left
incompletely masked in the no
man’s land and now the memories
trapped in the suburban limbo
prisoners of a transit zone
spatter flutter wandering souls
freed from their amber beads
innocuous zombies stuck
to the window they hurtle down obliquely
with the raindrops are we
under attack from the people of memory
the works have accidentally exhumed?
isn’t it just the violent tremor
caused by the excavation of section
T3 that briefly caused                       a movement of
 
TRAMINISCENCE?
 
a tent
a portable stove
 
an eighteen year-old seamstress
eyes on her work
 
a boy pulling a cart
 
cats with eyes wet
with coryza
 
a schoolgirl in clumpy shoes
 
an old bearded man lying flat
on a great coat
 
a wounded soldier
with his medals
 
a young black worker
 
children running wild as if streets
were forests
 
a Sunday gardener
 
a robust old lady
 
two mechanics in blue
with moustaches
 
aunt Isabelle, who only discovered Paris aged thirteen, at the Liberation, back from Egypt where the family had no news of her father during the four years of occupation, walked with her best friend Catherine every Sunday around the old fortifications, completing, or so she said, several complete circuits of the city, but in disconnected sections that she never managed to link clearly in her mind, because already the works – destruction of the last bastions, diggings, then the périphérique tarmacked – were changing, from month to month and even week to week, the landscape
 
La Chapelle is a village
on a hill known for its mills
the way Belleville
Montmartre Ménilmontant
are for their vines
 
and yet most
of the events that affect us
most strongly leave no physical trace
or barely an alley lit for a fraction
of a second among the synapses a puff
of smoke dissipated by a gust
of wind the imagination alone
– or what remains of it in a deep coma
overtaken by events
far more powerful than any image –
 
inscribes emotions
in the cement the stone
the earth the glass
 
giving them
 
the three dimensions
 
of a
 
 
décor
 
 
 
 
disturbing the earth
frees the dead
 
a gas
         the past briefly escapes
 
         dissipates
 
 
the presidential suite
of the bank is a raised
jetty the desk
a capsule overlooking
the canal where
grain-loaded barges passed
the only flux followed there
now: that of the stock exchange
 

Traminiscences

There were
octrois
cabarets
slums
factories
film studios
are still
warehouses
silos
cement works
canals
 
The track lines and splits
the frost of a past left
incompletely masked in the no
man’s land and now the memories
trapped in the suburban limbo
prisoners of a transit zone
spatter flutter wandering souls
freed from their amber beads
innocuous zombies stuck
to the window they hurtle down obliquely
with the raindrops are we
under attack from the people of memory
the works have accidentally exhumed?
isn’t it just the violent tremor
caused by the excavation of section
T3 that briefly caused                       a movement of
 
TRAMINISCENCE?
 
a tent
a portable stove
 
an eighteen year-old seamstress
eyes on her work
 
a boy pulling a cart
 
cats with eyes wet
with coryza
 
a schoolgirl in clumpy shoes
 
an old bearded man lying flat
on a great coat
 
a wounded soldier
with his medals
 
a young black worker
 
children running wild as if streets
were forests
 
a Sunday gardener
 
a robust old lady
 
two mechanics in blue
with moustaches
 
aunt Isabelle, who only discovered Paris aged thirteen, at the Liberation, back from Egypt where the family had no news of her father during the four years of occupation, walked with her best friend Catherine every Sunday around the old fortifications, completing, or so she said, several complete circuits of the city, but in disconnected sections that she never managed to link clearly in her mind, because already the works – destruction of the last bastions, diggings, then the périphérique tarmacked – were changing, from month to month and even week to week, the landscape
 
La Chapelle is a village
on a hill known for its mills
the way Belleville
Montmartre Ménilmontant
are for their vines
 
and yet most
of the events that affect us
most strongly leave no physical trace
or barely an alley lit for a fraction
of a second among the synapses a puff
of smoke dissipated by a gust
of wind the imagination alone
– or what remains of it in a deep coma
overtaken by events
far more powerful than any image –
 
inscribes emotions
in the cement the stone
the earth the glass
 
giving them
 
the three dimensions
 
of a
 
 
décor
 
 
 
 
disturbing the earth
frees the dead
 
a gas
         the past briefly escapes
 
         dissipates
 
 
the presidential suite
of the bank is a raised
jetty the desk
a capsule overlooking
the canal where
grain-loaded barges passed
the only flux followed there
now: that of the stock exchange
 
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
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère