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tumbledown

© www.jansochor.com

EARTHQUAKE

by Aimé Césaire

such great stretches of dreamscape

such lines of all too familiar lines

staved in

caved in so the filthy wake resounds with the notion

of the pair of us? What of the pair of us?

Pretty much the tale of the family surviving disaster:

“In the ancient serpent stink of our blood we got clear

of the valley; the village loosed stone lions roaring at our heels.”

Sleep, troubled sleep, the troubled waking of the heart

yours on top of mine chipped dishes stacked in the pitching sink

of noontides.

What then of words? Grinding them together to summon up the void

as night insects grind their crazed wing cases?

Caught caught caught unequivocally caught

caught caught caught

head over heels into the abyss

for no good reason

except for the sudden faint steadfastness

of our own true names, our own amazing names

that had hitherto been consigned to a realm of forgetfulness

itself quite tumbledown.

(Translated, from the French, by Paul Muldoon.)

From The New Yorker, January 2010


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www.jansochor.com

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