Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Michel Houellebecq & Iggy Pop


By the death of the purest

All joy is invalidated

The chest as if hollowed,

And the eye knows darkness in all.

It takes a few seconds

To wipe out a world.


My former obsession and my new fervor,

You quiver in me for a new desire

That's paradoxical, light like a distant smile

And yet profound like the essential shadow.

(The space between skins

When it can shrink

Opens a world as lovely

As a loud burst of laughter.)


When I have to leave this world

Make it be in your presence

Make it that in my last seconds

I look at you with trust

Tender animal with arousing breasts

That I cup in my hands;

I close my eyes: your white body

Marks the limit of the kingdom.


When it is cold,

Or rather when you feel cold

When a centre of coldness settles with a gentle movement

Deep in the chest

And jumps heavily between the lungs

Like a stupid fat animal;

When your limbs beat weakly

More and more weakly

Before stopping on the sofa

Definitively, it seems;

When the years turn flashing

In a smoky atmosphere

You can no longer remember the scented river,

The river of early childhood

I call it, in accordance with an ancient tradition: the river of              innocence.

Now that we live in the light,

Now that we live right next to the light,

In endless afternoons

Now that the light around our bodies has become palpable


Traces of the night.

A star shines, alone,

Ready for distant Eucharists.

Some destinies gather, perplexed,

We are marching I know towards strange mornings.


The fine and delicate texture of the clouds

Disappear behind the trees

And suddenly it's the vagueness that comes before a storm;

The sky is beautiful, hermetic as marble.


When the meaning of things disappears

In the middle of the afternoon

In the gentleness of a Saturday

When paralyzed by arthritis.

The disappearance of railway sleepers

On the iron tracks

Happens just before the rain,

Memories are exhumed.

I think of my call signal

Left at the pond's edge

I remember the real world

Where I lived, long ago.


I am as free as a lorry

Crossing driverless

The territories of terror,

I am as free as passion.


In the mindlessness that takes the place of grace

I see immobile lawns unfold,

Blueish buildings and sterile pleasures

I am the wounded dog, the cleaner

And I am the lifebelt supporting the dead child,

The unlaced shoes cracked by the sun

I am the dark star, the moment of awakening

I am the present moment, I am the north wind.

All happens, all is there, and all is phenomenon,

No event seems justified;

We would need to attain a pure heart;

A white curtain falls and covers the stage.


Poems 1991-2013 
(bilingual edition)
Farrar 2017
Translated  Gavin Bowd