playing the breaks

      KARAWANE
joliffanto bambla Ô falli bambla
grossiga m’pfa habla horem
égiga goramen
higo bloiko russula huju
hollaka hollala
anlogo bung
blago bung
bosso fataka
ii  ii ii  ii
schampa wulla wussa ólobo
hej tatta gôrem
eschige zunbada
wulubu ssubudu uluw ssubudu
tumba ba- umf
kusagauma
ba -umf

I have always known
That at last I would
Take this road, but yesterday
I did not know that it would be today.

— Nirihara
(translated by Ken Rexroth, One Hundred Poems from the Japanese)

Those Who Sit

Dark with knobbed growths, peppered with pock-marks like hail, their eyes ringed with green, their swollen fingers clenched on their thigh-bones, their skulls caked with indeterminate crusts like the leperous growths on old walls;

in amorous seizures they have grafted their weird bone structures to the great dark skeletons of their chairs; their feet are entwined, morning and evening, on the rickety rails!

These old men have always been one flesh with their seats, feeling bright suns drying their skins to the texture of calico, or else looking at the window-panes where the snow is turning grey, shivering with the painful shiver of the toad.

And their Seats are kind to them, coloured brown with age, the straw yeilds to the angularities of their buttocks; the spirit of ancient suns light up, bound in these braids of ears in which the corn fermented.

And the Seated Ones, knees drawn up to their teeth, green pianists whose ten fingers keep drumming under their seats, listen to the tapping of each other’s melancholy barcarolles; and their heads nod back and forth as in the act of love.

– Oh don’t make them get up! It’s a catastrophe! They rear up growling like tom-cats when struck, slowly spreading their shoulders … What rage! Their trousers puff out at their swelling backsides.

And you listen to them as they bump their bald heads against the dark walls, stamping and stamping with their crooked feet; and their coat-buttons are the eyes of wild beasts which fix yours from the end of the corridors!
And they have an invisible weapon which can kill: returning, their eyes seep the black poison with which the beaten bitch’s eye is charged, and you sweat, trapped in a horrible funnel.

Reseated, their fists retreating into soiled cuffs, they think about those who have made them get up and, from dawn until dusk, their tonsils in bunches tremble under their meagre chins, fit to burst.
When austere slumbers have lowered their lids they dream on their arms of seats become fertile; of perfect little loves of open-work chairs surrounding dignified desks.

Flowers of ink dropping pollen like commas lull them asleep in their rows of squat flower-cups like dragonflies threading their flight along the flags – and their membra virilia are aroused by barbed ears of wheat.

Arthur Rimbaud
(translated and prosified by the folks at Penguin)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.