Wednesday, August 28, 2013

28 August 2013

André Breton

from André Breton’s Earthlight, tr. Bill Zavatsky & Zack Rogow:

The Vertebral Sphinx

Patient and curved the beautiful shadow takes a trip around the cobblestones
Venetian windows open and close on the square
Where beasts run free followed by traffic lights
Wet streetlamps hum framed by a blue-eyed storm cloud
Which covers the countryside upriver from the city
This morning prow of the sun how you’re engulfed by wonderful songs crooned in the old 
         style by naked women watching behind curtains
While giant arums wind around their waists
And the bleeding mannequin hops on its three feet in the attic
He’s coming say the women as they crane their necks on which bouncing braids unleash                slightly pink glaciers
That crack under the weight of a ray of light falling from torn-open shutters
He’s coming the wolf with glass teeth
The one who eats time in little round boxes
The one who breathes the all-too-penetrating aromas of herbs
The one who gives the third degree all night in the turnip patch
The columns of marble and vetiver state chambers cry out
They cry out they’re caught up in the motion of coming and going which until then had
         driven only certain colossal rooms in factories
Women motionless on turntables are going to take a look
It’s daytime to the left but night completely night to the right
There are branches still full of birds which pass by at full speed blocking out the casement 
         window opening
White birds that lay black eggs
Where are those birds now being replaced by stars surrounded by two strings of pearls
A very very long fishhead that’s not him yet
Young girls shaking a sieve are born from the fishhead
And hearts made of Prince Rupert’s Drop are born from the sieve
He’s coming the wolf with glass teeth
The one who flew so high over the empty lots that reappeared above the housetops
With sharp plants all turned toward his eyes
Green enough to challenge a bottle of foam spilled on the snow
His jade claws in which he admires himself as he flies
His coat the color of sparks
He’s the one snarling in the ironworks at dusk and in abandoned linen closets
He’s visible someone touches him as he walks out with his balancing pole on the tightrope
          made out of swallows
The women watching lean out lean out of their windows
With all of their darkness with all of their light
The day’s bobbin is jerked a little at a time in the direction of the sand paradise
The pedals of the night keep on moving

Bill Zavatsky
Zack Rogow

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