from The North Face of Mount Juliau, Six

The Poem as Installation: Overyellow

Nicolas Pesquès

What color do we live in after the eyes?
when does it begin?

YELLOW opens a reading space to which we are attached:
seed, hill, painting compressed

thus fitting into new sentences

. . .

and if yellow is compressed, then YELLOW is something said
several verbs, several aspects sensed

owed to another resemblance, as if one more letter
had been added to the alphabet

yellow seen and YELLOW read.

Once YELLOW is pronounced, the poem becomes unthinkably real.
You see that you no longer know what you see. You see
that what you wanted in the forest of English broom cannot be taken in.

A cyst as injurious as it is magnificent.

Extracted, an embodied difference.

­­­Don't think I've left the mountain, nor encountered a miracle of language.
Yet what remains impossible is very much here; the pain seems to stretch
all the way to the expressible.

Undescribed, indescribable.
YELLOW somehow digitized, extremely blindingly thin.

. . .

yellow hindered by its splendor.

The color of love will be thwarted.
At the moment, it's called a collapse into certitude.

YELLOW on tomb
my body from somewhere else, my other bodies.

. . .

easily inciting a negation in the landscape:
tender animals, constrained trees,
black wind.

Overthrown, double-exposed—and at the same time, platform.
To believe that it's enough. That breathing is abolished, that the echo of the heels is binding

Yellow not denied and NOT-YELLOW accepted.
A convergence of circumstances. A vital minimum.

. . .

A minimum of silence.

decapitated law,
so poor, so little an image.

. . .

YELLOW-LAW right up against the eyes, air's awls, raising the hill, the watching body

a single sentence could, through infirmity, find its duration, take care of the pain.

Out there in the landscape, YELLOW is what's added, both trimming and giving breath, a margin in which the broom maneuvers.

It's lit up, like turbulence
by which what is already lost in the words and pictures
goes back and settles on the horizon.

. . .

YELLOW gives a powerful push. Powerful is evidence
for the eye, a lighthouse emitting night.

We think that, faced with a landscape, words can
supply a reproduction, but it's something else
entirely, and the resulting construction is oddly
so hard to live with, so much less Edenic than
its model.

. . .

I wish the sentence could be seen coming out of a wall,
carrying off its chasm, reading the woods.

translated from the French by Cole Swensen