Wednesday Sep 20

GuyJean Guy Jean resides in Gatineau, Quebec, where he is much involved in the development and promotion of literature. He collaborates in creative and translation projects with artists and poets in Quebec, USA and Europe. He has just recently published his seventh book of poems.
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IlyaKaminsky Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing In Odessa, which was published by Tupelo Press in 2004, and editor of Ecco Anthology of International Poetry forthcoming from Harper Collins in 2010. His translation of Polina Barskova's This Lamentable City will also be forthcoming in 2010. He lives and teaches in San Diego.
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Versions
 

1.

Un vieil homme déverse sa colère
à tout venant
capitule, referme la main sur l'aumône
Marionnette grincheuse
rire des enfants

Ses questions rongeuses se perdent au soleil
reviennent dans la nuit esseulée
les entrailles tordues de soif.

(Terres frontalières du quotidien, poèmes, Écrits des Hautes-Terres, Ripon, Québec, 1999.)

2.

Il a laissé sa mère au creux de la glaise, enfermée dans ses secrets.

Il gratte au vif les trahisons maternelles.

De retour auprès de sa sœur, de sa femme, de sa fille, fuira-t-il les radotages des drapeaux, la vertu pesante, l'honneur assassin?

Saura-t-il danser dans la poussière au rythme des respirations animales, se baptiser des railleries des gargouilles et payer rubis sur l'ongle le prix de l'amour ?

3.

Une clôture à perte de vue. Une foraine en équilibre jongle. Ses jambes entrouvertes invitent le rêveur.

Les drapeaux se branlent. Grisaille de novembre. Crevasse entre saisons, expiation pour les excès des récoltes et l'oubli des labeurs généreux.

Au réveil il met le masque des dimanches, court dans la ville, met le feu à ses amours. Un cœur y bat-il encore?

Il enterre. Son deuil laboure l'hiver. La tempête enneige ses errances.

Il fouille au-delà des yeux. Le mirage d'un feu de bois, d'une femme en chaleur, dans le froid à perte de vue.

4.

Danser dans la rue. En perdre le nord. Chanter l'amante à tue-tête des fleurs plein les bras. Saut au-dessus de l'abîme.

Écrasement à la porte du jardin. Sang sur les astilbes.

Drame passionnel.
Trois balles dans la tête, une corde au cou dans un placard.

Drame passionnel.
Nous nous sommes abîmés dans la métaphore, l'hiver nucléaire à bout de doigt.

Entre la Terre et l'éternité, un papier de riz.

(# 2, 3, 4 : Du sang sur les astilbes, poèmes, Écrits des Hautes-Terres, Montpellier, Québec, 2003.)


No Wind

1.

An old man licks anger
in the wind, at passers-by
holds up a hand, on the handout,
clenches a fist

In the park children laugh at puppets. Furious puppets.

Morning sun.
His guts aching for booze.

(an old man in the wind, furious with puppets).

2.

He has left his mother burried in the day, shut in the
secrets of each day. His mother, in each day. He has
left.

He scratches in his skin her words, her betrayals. His
nail scratches in his skin her words.

He is returning to his sister, to his wife, to his
daughter. He flees the ramblings of the flags. Flags,
a heavy virtue. Flags, of a murderous honor. He flees.

Know this: he will lift his arms and legs, dancing to
the rhythm of breathings of his animals. He will
baptise himself with the mockery of gargoyles. He
will pay cash on the nail. Cash, the price of his
love. Of his days, dollars.

3.

A fence. As far as the eye can see. A fence. The
traveling gypsy, performs as she walks along it, she
juggles. Her legs opened, partly. To invite the
dreamer.

Flags along the fence. They wank. November. Gray wind.
Crevice between November and January, atonement for
excesses of the fruits in harvest. For the forgetting
for the labors. A generous forgetting.

A generous forgetting. To invite the dreamer, as he
walks.

As he walks, he puts on the face of Sundays, his mask;
he roams through the city streets, sets fire to his
loved one's appartment. A heart there—does it beat
still? It beats.

He calms. His mourning ploughs the winter. He calms.
The snow drops on his steps as his legs lift and fall.

It beats. With his eyes he wants to touch the earth.
He does not see in a wood fire, what he wants to
touch. He does not see it in a woman in heat, what he
wants to touch. That coolness, a loss of sight. He
wants. As far as the eye can see.

4.

Dance in the street. Till you lose your North. Dance.
At the top of your voice. Dance. With flowers in each
arm. Jump over the hole in your head. Dance.

Crash the door of your garden. Blood on the astilbes.
Crash the door. Slap it.

« Tragedy is a crime of passion. »

Three bullets in the head. A rope around the neck in a
larder.

« Tragedy is a crime of passion. »

We have lost ourselves in a metaphor, in a winter's
nucleus at the end of a finger.

Between earth and us, a paper of rice.