from Love is Colder Than the Lake

Liliane Giraudon

the infection you cured with what
                                                        a little coarse salt
the whole tube thrown into the water

he says that no it just happened
just through crying and waiting
                                  stretched out there without waiting for anything
not from life really or from anything

the women especially who always
had wounded or betrayed

To start with his mother whom he hadn’t known     Had left him on the ground
one summer evening     Not far from a passenger station     One would think it
was a bad novel from the last century     Shared cruelties          Memories screens
Bonus: a still dragon        Placed in the center of the image      While under the
mountain of clouds                  Orange sun with almost green reflections

I no longer keep a journal
I no longer draw
                                  what is happening



without a single word

he says now
                                    my slumber is deep
it’s the sleep of a bird who knows
                       the forest its turmoils not a breath
between the trees but everywhere in the air
some bits of slogans

and you why do you never respond
to the real questions

we might think that’s a dog barking

a car passes one of them remembers
                                        others move a plate

The  little  artichokes  in  a glass jar                                               As if they were
flowers            That could be charming                     Living completely displaced
Delicious although also distressing            She knitted her hat               She says
she repeats            At the end of the act she is slapped                      It’s written in
        the stage directions   
Everyone has to slap her      Before jumping out the window

Mephisto combines all the characters at once




Snow White rots on her feet

she is mushroom but it’s the apple
which sticks, poisonous
                                         in the deceased’s throat

the children’s slipper found after
the accident he says I kept it I could not
throw it out I am sure that the child is dead

how to show what’s off-screen in the poem

when going becomes necessary
                               to work the voice place it each
evening each time you open your notebook
                               sun or lamp middle of the day
early morning double choir
                               of the birds from the other side of the lake

In a Sade play                                        A tiger metamorphoses into a young man
           Very pretty young man       Whom the marquis names Lili           A cream-
colored gauze cravat, very voluptuously tied                    A little lace ruffle
For the marquis, iris powder          Elderflower eyedrops                       Chervil
poultice       Foot baths               Application of leeches



It’s not a girl
                                more like a panther
it’s a boy
                     who has a girl’s name

you have to proceed to a test

at times the remark is analogous
to the reasons

I no longer entertain myself
I no longer
     keep myself company
                       even cutting my toenails

becomes difficult

Some evenings      The critic like her sister                  Must define the impossibility
of the theory of reflection     It’s he who gets the inertia moving       Making clear
that technical agility doesn’t have to hide itself             Beneath a clumsy exterior
            At the indicated time          The shadows detach from the bodies

we can note the numerous accommodations
for violence

hunger misery death seem
always necessary to the proper functioning
of the State

we work on it it’s obvious

open the door let
                            in the ghosts
here intervenes
      the legend which includes
all the photographs

the decomposition process
of our existences
they say they don’t give a damn

it calms

like a glass of water
in five columns and without indent

The story of the stags in the forest          Bury under real branches                 What
is the meaning of this apparition   Saying at night I make piles of logs      I dream
that I pile up logs                                 It requires incessant attention              An
attention, incessant                   Don’t go thinking it’s funny           Each morning
I wake up       Exhausted

Faust’s destiny embodies the destiny
of the bourgeoisie the horror of that class



those we have the right to kill
and those we don’t have the right to kill

in Shakespeare already
we find all our everyday

make it so that
                                some are killable

Do you eat horse             Some birds                                 Your power of existing is it
strong enough      And your wife      Have you sufficiently penetrated her            Is
she satisfied

but what’s it about

He says he’ll come back when everything is finished   That nothing will be possible
anymore             Since it’s the poet who surveys                           The spiritual door
opening onto the Third Reich                             While far away the night begins to
fall      Violent      Wild

a submission
impassioned by the object that occupies it

when one of the victims recalls
                               that to realize is to vomit one by one
the anachronistic pages

to realize the whiteness of the cod

to be pragmatic then see what happens

like Molloy calculating the average
time of his farts

to act she says “I want to act”

everything turning liquid means
that everything happens
to liquefy someone means
also to kill the person

the dislocation of the world
the true subject of art

We will no longer go to the wood      I should learn to be quiet        The day is sad
because the departure lasts          The territories are clearly drawn           Dream
machinery           Facing interactive consensual abjection                   A concept
that does everything     As was said about maids                  Room under the roofs
       With neither water nor electricity       If the service is too long            You will   
wear diapers                            We will deduct them from your salaries

the communal body
it’ll get cold again

she says mayonnaise
rather than fresh butter




repeating in love I am a little colossus
tracking the ambiguous rhyme lower down
dampness of brain the same and the opposite

a concept of the lake
added to that of the crack
random identity of the sirens
                                                     LZ great predator
disorientation in scales

one and the same fishbone
                                     LN displaced functions at a loss
a germinative conception of letters

paean to place
                                     a poetics of the cannery

Sweet life my love           Have you ever tasted this delicacy                The marrow
of the bone       And don’t be afraid of spilling wine on the cabbage        I saw a star
whistle before falling      Under a proper name a common name      Something
backlit                       Lost in the grass                        She says I learn to condense
                    No layoff from this condensery

the words auto-braided each night
hair white that’s to say dead

exception made unless
seven years the same dress
torment infested with  
                     taking books and chrysanthemums



the question of form in language
                              how to live it while making it
                              fusion and confusion
the virus is an information
logic of transparency

she says a nation without State
                                    it’s possible look at the Roma
transnational minority spread
across territories of many States

tsigane gypsy that means

here is a white

missing a page
                                 without a doubt torn off

the next day

                                 he says he won’t come back

We don’t need words                                   They bury them alive up to the neck
Then they smash their skulls with spades                                    This additional
act is called          The flower          Psychic close-up          A partial visual object

the sun swam in a sauce
red not a breath

in case of catastrophic emergency
everything will be eaten cold


he says the retina is too hard you
have to displace the lens

incise your arm Faust
                                        show a little courage

I hear the sky which moves

damned be the one who flies
                                            the meat of its holiness

the only winning gesture is not to play

Don’t leave us                   Keep your hand in mine                Do you remember
how much we have suffered                   Since they separated us one from another
                     These times are not so far                           To find the pure event
of the image     Its living currency             It would be so difficult           Bite into
a body as raw as a turnip you would dare

that they come in a profound silence
                                   and then they leave

let’s stay here or there
                                             the place doesn’t matter

when the evening falls the heart
tightens a point set lower down

and that a finger enters

translated from the French by Sarah Riggs and Lindsay Turner