he looked at shoes · his reflection in the display case · shows signs of use · his deflated face / visibly the particu · lates of his voice splay · around him as he articu · lates the de— / buts of sonnets his tongue · it was that that-tongue · what did it say / in ten days we'd like to know it · which what to do and push on to see it · to see summer was hot every day
and if the mysterious will jail · the least appeal · the least appeal · is in the veil / over parts of you I'd like to reveal · nice and slow · to make time my goal · and never made real / imagine from a hill's crest · the finesse · of a body— yours / don't do less · be the witness · the decor
mister explorer · what's the program · to design a sham · or play the angelic consoler / if I were the conjurer · I would never take a gram · and even if I vanished on the lam · from the animals the animators / in my pocket my meteor · young as ever · would show me the north / but really I must decide either · to change guide or if easier · to change course
the first word is gong · but despite my tries · my efforts I · don't know which is the secong / is it the word tong · the word denied · the word that we read in the mind · of the other when we taste his tongue / you smile · I see clearly that you smile · at the creation / but it's not me it's the poem · that rolls out to show 'em · its deviations
in a parallel world · I / devise sonnets of surprising sizes
translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
Frédéric Forte was born in 1973 in Toulouse where he studied communication and sociology. He now lives in Paris where he does residencies, public readings, and workshops as an Oulipo representative. He is one of the few members of the Oulipo to be born after its inception, and reading their works, most notably Queneau's Exercises du style, had a big influence on him and his writing. After completing the bilingual N/S with the English Oulipian Ian Monk, and going on to publish his own Opéras-minute (forthcoming from Burning Deck), Forte was adopted into the group as its thirty-fifth member. To date Forte has published five books, two translations, and numerous chapbooks.
Emma Ramadan studied comparative literature at Brown University and is now pursuing a master's in cultural translation at The American University of Paris. Her translation of Anne Parian's Monospace is forthcoming from La Presse, and her translation of Anne F. Garréta's Sphinx is forthcoming from Deep Vellum. Her writing has appeared in journals such as Recess, Bluestem, and Gigantic Sequins.