Pax Babeliana

Omar Berrada

no trace of a maker remains
these monuments we raise, books we write,
wind up in a lost tongue
                              bp Nichol

I’d speak if I wasn’t afraid (…)
                              Fanny Howe

A town full of holes
Munumental latencies
Ruins in reverse

La nuit après l'amour
La tradition se retire
Un désastre nous dévore

Time is officially ended

In the Odyssey there is a pig
that speaks fluent Greek

La ville fantôme est un champ de ruines mais la ville la nuit se lève et se relève, 
érige dans la nuit ses tours ses ponts ses murailles et son peuple.

In the confusion
        I seek
provisional light

In the confusion
            I speak

                              لخولة أطلال ببرقة ثهمد                                             

  أطلال ... تلوح

and fade

    Speaking in tongues
    of primitive simplicity

In Navajo there are three hundred fifty-six thousand and two hundred
distinct forms of a verb that translates as ‘to go,’ she says.

‘To be’ hardly even exists.

une folie sous surveillance
C'est le réel qui polyglotte

           The trace of a tattoo
on the back of a hand

                                               لخولة أطلال ببرقة ثهمد
                                تلوح كباقي الوشم في ظاهر اليد   

The trace of a tattoo
           appears and fades

On ne coupe jamais
la main des artistes

In the desert
lightning is elegiac

                        يا بارق يا حارج يا ثهمد

In the desert
art is civility

est une manière الأدب

I'd speak if I wasn't afraid
of inhaling

                        يقولون لا تهلك أسى

Don't lose yourself
in grief
         I follow
myself fleeing

                fuir, là-bas fuir
        a feeling

   le pays qui me ressemble

Your ignorance will be your foundation

in the Odyssey
there is a fawn
that speaks
fluent Greek

We embraced the world
before we knew it

                            يقولون لا تهلك أسى

True fiction
         false reality
Exit myth

Below the Hafa café
a highway was built
Tarmac ashes
Magic rubble

    Exit the sea
    Gone with the sun

             لكل علم وعمل بقايا وخفايا

Our fantasy found a form
in geology

              Sous les pavés

              عرب وعجم وكلام وخمر

An erotics of words and wine
in عراق or in يمن
A Babel of sighs and brine

    Il n'y a d'originel
    que le malentendu

En choeur on ventriloque

We are the earth

et la terre n'est pas si ronde

“Nadie le vio desembarcar en la unanime noche”

                              اعطني ديك الخريطة عافاك

in itself
is silent

And this mirror is a masterpiece

               Du lumineux
               et de l'obscur
               le mélange
               seul signifie

‘Your ignorance will be your foundation’

Finally all reference vanishes
                    —a sacrifice of matter

                              لخولة أطلال ببرقة ثهمد


           كباقي الوشم في ظاهر اليد

I'd speak
if I wasn’t afraid
of inhaling
a memory

                    ذكريات  ...  تلوح