Monday, March 15, 2010

One More

- Boris Vian (translated by Colin Mahar)

One more.
One for no reason.
But then, there are the others,
asking questions of the others,
and they answer with the words of others.
What does the other do ?
What, but to write like the others ?
and to hesitate ?
and repeat ?
and to seek
but not to find?
To drive themselves crazy
and to say to themselves "this is pointless"
I would do better to earn a living,
but my life is mine, my life.
I don't need to earn money.
It's really not a problem.
It's the only thing that isn't one.
It's everything else, the problem.
But the questions have all been asked.
They've all been interogated;
all the smallest subjects.
So what does that leave me ?
They've taken all the useful words,
the beautiful words, to make verbs -
the frothy, the heavy, the hot
the skies, the stars, the lights,
the raw shapes of the waves
raging against the red rocks
full of blood and sex,
full of suckers and cash-on-the-barrelhead.
So what does that leave for me ?
Must I ask without a sound ?
Without writing ? Without sleeping ?
Must I seek myself, without a word ?
Not even to the concierge ?
Or the dwarf that races beneath my floorboards ?
Or the gremlin in my pocket ?
Or the priest I keep in a drawer ?
Must I - must I probe myself
alone, with nothing but an old nun at the gate
who's offended by my cock ?
Who watches me like a cop
with a vaseline nightstick ?
Must I give myself a punch in the nose
just to add some colour to my language ?
They've all been interogated
I no longer have the right to speak.
They've taken all the beautiful words.
They've hung them up there :
there, in the place of poets.
With their foot-petalled lyres,
and their steam-driven lyres,
and their 8-cylinder lyres,
and the winged-horses of the atom.
I have not even the smallest subject.
I have only the flattest of words,
the soft-boilled words.
I have nothing but me and the the's
I have nothing but who, why and what
which, he, she, them, you, we, none.
How do you expect me to write
a poem with words like that ?
Well screw it. I won't do it.