Poems by Linda Maria Baros
When night no longer decants its violet blood,
morning launches itself savagely onto the city,
like a wave of bikers,
stripped by speed on the way,
until nothing is left of them
except for studs and earrings,
until they stay glued
like spit on the handlebar,
on the crankcase, on the stainless oil pan.
The hoarse morning opens fire with its exhaust pipes:
launches the fine spit of indifference on the city,
pounces frisky on the motionless domes
and on the bald skulls
of cirrhotic functionaries
who circle in the offices
like headless flies.
(It comes from there,
the drone of ballpoint pens
that they tap against their chests,
against their cuirass of snot.)
A yellowish morning,
that fires with its particle accelerators
on the fixed domes.
And flows out at last along the walls
like piss, in little amber ingots.
The bureaucrats sell me off,
tranquil, in their papers.
B.C.B.G: The expression “bon chic, bon genre” translates to “good style, good taste” and refers to members of the Parisian upper class.
The inverted horse of Saint Vaclav
Before knowing the sly age that I myself am today,
my father had learned to weld at the corners
canvases interspersed with the wolves
(he raised, muzzles shoved in his armpit,
some wolf cubs).
– Because, he would tell me, from the jaws of wolves,
among the teeth of their chainsaw,
man learned speech, solitude, hi-fi…
Before believing secretly
that he is made of urethras and grunts.
Before thinking in right angles
of the biblic of his walls.
Yet the wolves, the cubs, had not completely devoured him.
One would still have difficulty seeing his bones.
– Look, it’s normal, my father would say.
The wolves have arrived from a frozen distance.
Siberian nights, when they came toward us,
alongside the north wind, they caught some horses.
They disemboweled them, they ate their guts.
And curled up in their entrails,
covered in newspapers, to escape the frost,
to be alive the next day.
The wolves tore quarters of flesh from him
and came into the city, bringing home burst pipes
and the eternal iron folds that the city wore on its neck
(the folds spilling over the charcoal lapels of overalls),
and the howls macerated in the liquor of the suburbs,
basements full of people, twisted mouths,
the walling up, the tearing off, the clinical tone,
the hole in the chest and everything that still remained inside.
They went back home with all these things
to fill the holes in his body.
But my father would refuse all these gifts.
The wolves kept tearing quarters of flesh from him,
The sky was like the time of the plague.
Witnesses, in the hall.
Years later, my father would feign indifference;
he would invert the wolves their feet in the air
and straddle them like Saint Vaclav.
He would seem embarrassed about those black wolves
torn from his skin.
He would straddle them up to the edge of the city
and strangle them there with a saw chain.
translation by Zachary Anderson
Poet. Translator. Publisher. Born in 1981. Green hair. Holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne University. Lives in Paris. La Maison en lames de rasoir (The House Made of Razor Blades) and 5 other poetry books. Pomes translated into 35 countries. Winner and general secretary of the prestigious Apollinaire Prize. Full member and general rapporteur of the Mallarmé Academy. Has translated 38 books. Director of Poésie Poetry Paris/The French-English Poetry Festival and of La Traductière publishing house. Editor in chief of the poetry and visual art magazine La Traductière. Huge silver claw ring on right hand. Website: www.lindamariabaros.fr