“Which is dearer, the name or the body?”

“The highest degree of presence is absence.”
Walter Benjamin

“It’s all too easy
to do what pleases
and what one wants.”

The small tin box
is round, and rolls
one side on the bottom half.
You can smell it,
if empty, and lick the shell
when the licorice is gone.

apple orange plum
apple orange plum

…from where they leap
out, dreams, with their
contour lines and clothes
of madness and monsterstyle,
milkshakes and puzzles
with pieces that don’t fit right,
like birds, their colours bright,
or huddledbats
that suddenly take flight
from the ink-blue tree.

“It must be a plot
grownups dream up
out of jealously or spite.”

From the impregnable tower
of one’s own castle-home
from which one holds the rest
in straight sight, all.
Akingdom even too small
but safe and quite secure,
as long as one makes sure,
at least, to lock the door.

(Balancing undressed
on the bathtub edge,
he stares and seeks
the form, into the mirror,
or only a reason
for the fire
of so much desire.)

judge your stride and easy stand
throw the stone with steady hand
stop now or go to a far-off land

“My mother says I can
take off the clothes.”
“Mine says not more than
my pants and undershirt.”

(To see oneself, to be
meantime beheld. To lay it bare:
To hold it up, if need be held.
But he believes inside himself
there must be, yes,
something else at last.)

Red. The red of fever,
of blood. Into the fire.
Of nails and lips.
Of godless people.
Of capes and flags.

Aboard the submarine, “Me”,
course set for the sea.
“Clear the deck,
secure the hatch.
Dive, dive fast.”
The limited space
sackful of smells
shadow of the bed.

“…heart, table, cast,
roof, glace, past.”

Again. Precise the dry old
rigmarole, word by word
in all its whole. Mirror
portrait, analogy and proof
-beyound the impression-
that the thing is there:
it always will be,
always has been,
though not everywhere
and as may be. Dictation.

…in the Book of
Famous Books,
in the encyclopedia.

“Well, it has the colors
of fire, of snow
and meadow, so tell the media.”

(Not, mind you that he stops.
Redoing it, it seems even more
delightful than before.
But he has the feeling that
if he stays so thin as a pin
it might be for this sin.)

“You’ll see:
the faster you go,
the better it will be.”

That a word
have gender or person…
But harder to conceive
the state of want,
of absence, in short
the denied presence
in a concept less even
that rejected, inconceivable,
of nothingness, and the wonder
to pronunce it.

“Where is her own?
How is it made?”

(For him, only the joy
of being held. And
then the thought
that it’s unjust
and not so much for her
at last, if she has not the dick.)

“You’ll find it out
when you grow up.”

Glimpsed in secret and said
in private, whispers
in the dark, indefinite
shapes and never clear,
clues to signals seized
in haste and fury
spelled, in fear
of getting found out
before laying bare
square inches
of crevices and down.

Peter Piper picked a peck
of pickled pepper…

Fear that a glass may shatter,
salt scatter,
boiling water overturn,
a gypsy enter the house,
the bottle of oil fall,
his health fail.
Fear of staying in the dark,
finding a murderer in his home,
losing an eye on a sharp spike,
not passing the exam as he’d like,
falling into a ravine,
ending by drowning in a lake,
being crushed to a mush.

“…you said it.
Already if you thought it
in little amount,
that it hasn’t been
doesn’t count.”

“Will you join us, then?
Come on, let’s talk, yes, dirty.”
“We have to say
all nasty words.”

Said and looked up
in the dictionary.
Accepted, therefore, shown
not totally unknown.
And the others, synonyms, more grey
with no features of their own
at least set down.

“This is the way they lie
on top, one of the other.”

(Sprawled on the bed,
rehearsing the part with the pillow.
Feverish, panting to do it right,
kissing and clutching it tight.)

One looking-glass
in front of another small,
moving it up and down
to check, to and fro on all
sides, the new effect
of a different view.

“You shouldn’t run around
with those good-for nothings.”

It may be true:
a trap for you
to tempt into sin
and make you fall in,
then caught in the snare,
doomed forevere
among shrieks and cries
down in a lake, a ditch,
deep in a fire of pitch.

“What is confessed is taken away,
resolved. You’re free
once you’re absolved.”

(Suddenly on a whim,
the idea torments him
that he doesn’t, of a surety,
match the ideal of purity
that he was raised with.)

…that he’ll blurt out
a blasphemy without
meaning to, that
it might be forming in his mind
like a bomb primed
to go off any time.

Sure, whoever has gone
to seven first-Fridays of the month
though living not right,
prayers and litanies every night,
he will be saved
no matter what he has done
or keeps doing still.

“Meanwhile, God sees you,
of course, everywhere.”

(He points there
before he is aware.
By instinct is drawn
and sucked, meanwhile, his hand
to her convexity
without grip.)

“I’m going to tell your mother
you keep feeling me up.”

…let it happen now
and doesn’t matter how,
let all restraint
be lifted, yes, at last
and, whatever the cost,
let what will be, be.
In spite of the thought
of disgust, even in the stink,
in the sweat, in the blood.

“She likes it too,
not to believe.”

To be done quickly
in the dark, behind
the room’s closed doors,
so no one can know or see,
in secret, stealthily,
to someone’s detriment
a risk, an offense
what’ more a shame,
profaning as you must
the trust.

…it is, it proves to be
the more it’s claimed,
ordered, required,
against the standing
firm and deaf, the same,
imperious and urgent
of its name.

Once more repeated
out loud or in his mind,
putting it down again
long lines in notebooks,
in large or small letters
cursive or block capitals,
in the Greek alphabet
in the oldest style
drawn, even chiselled:
the same name.

“You don’t do that
to a girl you like.”

That she is damned,
impure and dirty
and lost… still meant
to be a lure
to quench a tempting thirst,
for just this thing
so painfully desired.

(He dreams to lose himself,
to fall into the arms
of a woman who’s
utterly without scruples.)

“They let you do
whatever appeals to you.”

To spell it out, clasped
to another, straining
on the borders, voice almost
pitted, clipped speech
between the teeth
like under a sheath
in a desperate puff of breath:
nothing more, just… whore.
Transl by James Laughlin


Prisonniers du rêve
Issus du corps de
nature, détachés, ayant
pris leur vol, mais,
de peur, retombés
dans l’angoisse.
Pourtant aimant
la vie, certes,
pour elle-même.
par expérience
aux choses humaines,
mais s’accoutumant
peu à peu à les considérer
de loin et, grâce au recul,
les voyant plus belles.
Prêts à supporter
privations et déchirements,
méfaits et malheurs.
Prisonniers du rêve
intact d’en sortir,
Dieu sait comment, indemnes.

L’objet de la pensée
C’est une abstraction et
non un fait:
l’objet d’une
pensée, un concept
plus qu’un sentiment,
un état désiré
poursuivi par l’esprit
mais insatisfait,
perdu avant même
d’avoir été conquis
et dont on ne jouit jamais
(toujours sur le point
d’être…), cru
et déliré: le
sens du plaisir.

A la mode litote
“Sans offenseur, pas
d’offensé, comme
sans jouissance, pas de douleur.”
… subtil raisonnement
certes, et ô combien
voilé par le halo
débordant de la litote.
Ce qui est détruit
souffre et ce qui détruit,
nonobstant, ne jouit pas.

En attendant l’événement
Le nom pas encore
ce qui, dans le secret
d’une pensée, chaque fois
entièrement se répète
et pourtant n’a pas été…
amorce continue
de l’action restée
prise dans
ses propres crocs.

Jamais plus
Le mot réduit
à l’incroyable, avec
toutes ses
incertitudes, ses remords,
ses sous-entendus. Un
point final pour
le reste qui se meut,
pensé, répété,
prononcé comme
une impossible donnée:
“jamais plus”. Pour ce
qui se pouvait
et qui ne fut.

La joie et le deuil
La vie qui
s’allume et
s’éteint par
hasard, la trace
lumineuse, le
sillage que laisse
derrière soi
ce qui fut,
la joie et le deuil:
précipité, tout cela,
dans le vase obscur
entre les bras de
l’ombre. La trace,
flétrie, de
toute chose.

Entre temps
L’origine secrète
la faille
d’où sourd
la source, la projection
vers le mieux, le positif,
ce qui, étant,
se croyant durable,
devient ensuite
immuable, a cessé.
Cependant il est
geyser, soufflard
d’où naît le borax,

Nécessité du leurre
Je sais qu’il est inutile
de savoir que le soleil s’est
levé ou couché, qu’il
fait chaud ou froid,
qu’ici ou là il a
plu ou neigé. Je me
laisse tromper
par les signaux qu’émet
l’objet mort,
pour l’amour que je porte
encore, malgré moi, aux
sept péchés capitaux.

Serviteurs du monde
Les erreurs de la pensée,
les monstres obscurs de
la raison, l’effet des
vaines images sur
le cœur, l’éternel
recours aux ressources
de l’amour, une ombre
de vérité escamotée sans
solution concrète. Avec juste,
au fond, une donnée sûre,
et même plus une prévision:
le temps perdu à
servir le monde.

L’être aimé
Frôlé enveloppé
flatté emprisonné,
miroir confident
aliment tyrannique
oxygéné, l’être
aimé, prétendu
et déclaré.
(Trad. Lorand Gaspar)