French compositeur Byron Coley

C'est la guerre in the Composer's section at the Centre George Pompidou bookstore
(picture by Thurston Moore)

We've put out Byron Coley's C'est la guerre : early writings 1978-1983 in may last year. A lot of talk about it on the web in the US but very little press. Europe seems strangely more into inking the good news : first there was a great article in the Wire , there was also a nice word on it in Mojo. Now, it is in France (where the bilingual book is widely available only since november ) that the press is picking up. Check out Guy Mercier's great article in Paris' free cultural rag Balise (november 2011). And, just this week, came out a beautiful little note in the new issue of France's foremost literary magazine Le Matricule des Anges ( january 2012). Blogs there are also buzzing over it but this, anyone can find.

Under the applause : Byron Coley
(picture by Benoît Chaput)


Boulevard des Invalides

I saw it this morning:

twenty-five years, my love,
twenty-five years have gone by.

You don’t take them out anymore
your painted wood scarecrow
your clear day companion
You don’t take out your horses
your madmen and whales
you don’t tidy your seagulls
in the seagull drawer
you don’t have animals anymore
or much hope
you don’t light up the fire
more than once or twice a summer
you don’t sleep in the snow
you don’t hunt the cherries
with your great gay airs
and it’s rare, it’s quite rare
for you to remember me
our fears, laughter
and six p.m. trains
You don’t rumple the forests
of laundry
you don’t pin lace
onto the face of the sky anymore
you don’t open these wings
or very little
and nothing ever takes off
much farther than the end
of last winter
when we followed the stream
embroidered with a balustrade that had
white or
green highlights
which lasted until night
You don’t last until night

more easily than in the past
when I used to hold the key to it
I wander in your hollow
I say more easily
because it’s been empty of you since
it’s been empty of me
I don’t even see that
spear planted in the morning anymore
Boulevard des Invalides
I can’t picture your voice
Yet, I know—
the down of your body
still burns inside the earth
the wind along your shoulders
still makes that husky chant
but you no longer have shoulders
you don’t even have wings
and the lioness tosses
in her bed of dead wood
and every Sunday writes
to Sundays that were
and the envelopes are empty inside
like those shelves under the sea
with their empty boats
and empty fishes
you don’t bring in your wolves
you don’t take off your gloves
to stroke the rain
you don’t have
naked fingers left under those rings
that naked mouth amid the haze
and those knees, those pigeons
those clouds above your breasts
you don’t come back in at night
with your big cold beasts
and that smell of the city
afar the black alleys
and I don’t know your neck anymore
or your nape that moved slowly
in the heavy air for me alone
Even the coal bucket
the little nuggets of water
you won’t bring them in
your purple house anymore
with your fifteen fur coats on
Now even your tongue is dead
though I still speak it

Pierre Peuchmaurd, Parfaits Dommages et autres achèvements.
Translated by E.C. Belli

Pierre Peuchmaurd
(picture by Antoine Peuchmaurd)