Breaking down cultural barriers
Transposer une culture dans une autre par delà les barrières culturelles

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Vahé Oshagan - BEYOND DEATH

The film hardly over
I take awareness down the walls
I wash I dry and iron
I fold it with great care
and put it back
I empty my pockets
lock the door of my house
and step out for a walk in neighborhood streets
in tight tedious transparent silence
windows open puzzled faces sway hanging by a thread
they water the flowerpots man and wife stare in silence facing each other
behind the curtain
miles of cars crawl leaning against the prison wall
in the distance loveless vicious nudity of a jobless over-sixty
lays down licentious holiness
a vast amassed massive blanket of shame reaching
covering creatures in a hurry to hide
god-conjuring sluggish sperms of immaculate conception will soon swim
on the surface of a single drop of time’s swamp
dripping from the rusty dry faucet
in demented quest as to why
only word can conceive and craft birth through word yet to be born
leaning on the tub of its awesome solitude
now cracked imbibed in the drab desert midday
a callous voracious hunger sucks it and shields it from its shame
enormous sheet of the cosmos keeps shimmering soft and vast
extended yearning soars breaching the light
with no need to hide
there is no more call for passport, no more appointments
the word knows only itself
cowering in a corner on the floor of a locked orphanage cell.

* *

So this is what it was –
that which looked at me with my eyes from the sightless light
with the thin white staff in hand
clearing the way for me out of the canvas of wilderness
paths get lost before coming to life.
Was this then the old tailor that gamboled around us?
We were neither allowed to touch the mannequin
nor to scream or protest
as to why we were crucified on an unsolvable crossword puzzle
with eyes gouged tongue clipped heart seared and abandoned.
Was this what murmured in the mist enthralled threatened
stammering from the prompter’s dark pit half asleep
chuckling under its breath
while below
we take it seriously we sink into mourning incense singeing our eyes
until it is Saturday night and a thousand crumbs after the feast
in the messy teeming hall god dances dead drunk feeling no pain
dragging us along over shards of broken bottles to a gypsy peek-a-boo refrain
does anything show?
He smokes all alone standing beyond the short fellow
waiting for the Hungarian waiter to come near whisper in his ear
“there’s a phone call Monsieur Jaques”
and still farther much farther somewhere someone in the night
sitting by the phone eyes on the door in the din of the cabaret
and even further at the helix of the anchors’ root memory
so many echoes within each other until the last and first query…
which is no question – than what is it? – a butterfly’s ellipsis of growling
until this place
from where nothing is seen of the answer pasted on boards
demonstrators with eyes shut we whirl around and round
this apparently is what they call life
the leaves of the storm the drops beneath the walls of the ruins
we rally for a moment
there is no rest for your remains they wait for you they will take part in
the demonstration
hurry, hurry… Attila’s soldiers abduct and move on
in the darkness of the movies they will screw everyone
nothing is heard above the screams and sobs, if they would only turn on the light
but it’s too late, it’s always late, it all restarts from the start behind your back
life was born and died where were you? What were you up to…?
But there is nothing to be afraid of
death is a word
gratis worthless mirage of a lifebelt thrown into a vagrant
moment’s ocean
glittering among nipples of untouchable prancing waves
it glistens under the unreachable ceiling
lying down in its glow
hugging my life my mistress runs away like a conjured song
leaving me there disconsolate – but I’m still alive
behind the light in the core of the pyramid the mummies disrobe
I shall enfold in my arms enchanted appearances
those naked souls in labor in gardens of adolescence
seemed to have suddenly found me.
Death is a word that does not die with men
it loiters nearby in the shadows
waiting for people to set a supper table once more
so that he may mingle with this noisy crowd
we are all gathered near one restaurant door
clueless that it’s locked from inside and out
they told us there are openings for help and we came
we are here now, seeking an excuse to remain
and our noses stuck to the windowpane
we look inside hungry as hell
there was once a fugitive word that found refuge there
orphaned widowed half naked lascivious body coiled up in a corner
it snoozes in an insomniac’s dream of a myriad grains of sand we go astray
each one of us sleepwalking and wandering in a cell
hanging on to syllables we are carried off scrap by scrap…
how are we to wake up, to whom shall we relate our dream?
We must get the word drunk extort swiftly the secret
and kill it
then while at it get hold of the mystery as well
silence it
and listen to the divine rant and rave.
Go mad if you can
sit on the stone threshold and play checkers all alone
the cloud’s shadow slides, who is singing in the bathroom?
That which falls out of the words will laugh forever
tongue-tied for three hours we are shivering around the stranger’s cadaver
in the cracks of the monumental parapet the bees have built hives
from halitosis the crud of feet beatings spit and shit we were born
seven brothers
where shall we get gasoline? We split up in the midnight of nuptials
and we still look for each other on the sidewalks of life’s demise
in the early morning teetering silent tourists standing in groups around the bus
we shall stare at the ramparts of bafflement until late night
there is no place to remain concealed from now on
from this point on the bones become visible under the skin of the meaningless
there is no return from the grave any more
there’s no more standing room by the mound to hang on to the last glimmer of grief
nor to suddenly lighten up and hover above the earth,
with pale meaty palms we shall greet each other from some distance
asking “is this my forebear… is this my ill-fated offspring?”
For heaven’s sake do something a word a sound a sign
I don’t know what, who is dead who is alive until they reach me
everyone I see is in mourning clad in black moaning for something
and who the hell cares?
I laugh at them from indoor mirrors and outdoors
holding their breath at bus-stop sheds scattered here and there
the only canvas of lavish mulish and pointless nature
I stretch and yawn yet I am awake
my very core thrown out like a pan-handler from the kitchen of all fare
runs to me crying begging me at least not to take him in jest
this my good man is no joke it is death
when do we ever meet again?
We who did not fall victim to a crash at a muddy crossroad
but were there by chance as pedestrians
hang around staring at it while years go by
praise the lord, clueless of life death remains our only hope
to fetch the echo of meanings from beyond
who knows? Maybe that’s what covers the nudity
of the blood soaked stranger on the ground.

The huge filthy buzzard flaps its wings with fervor
through the stench of carrion hyenas open up to the smell of spring
the ashes leave a taste of sour medicine on the tongues of lame saints
it is the last gas station abandoned nameless
a thousand miles of desert stretches fore and aft
from dumb plant roots to the stone periphery of thundering
mountain range
immobilized the masked abstruse and enormous processions
linger in the dust…
Do not be terrified of words
they are by far more befuddled than us by the event
that at this minute rises with the sun saturates all depressed
motionless on its way home.
“Am I dead?” One can barely hear the voice
there’s a big concert of bare-assed pigmy cells all day long
gathered from streets forests hallways
in my house they dance and dance around the coffin
all the inhabitants of the suburb are already there
the murdered bride and groom lie on the ground side by side
men in women’s garb and disguise loiter along the walls
illicit deities in deacon-frocks seek employment all around
wherever I turn -- are curtains going up or slowly coming down?
Before and after me
boundless seashore of the mill of sands and sunshine.
I have always been different
trivial cork banished by the growl of futile conflict with disgrace
tackling the flight of the flow from this massive bottleneck of a universe.

I reject the armistice of life and death
arranged immortality is at hand patched with the remains
of my minutes
along the loins of which fiery-cheeked meaty brides lay down quivering
until lines form around the eyes and bloody black knots come to rest.
My combat has no noun has no verb
it is a protest about itself for itself to itself
at its awful hunger and depletion
while the machine rumbles in hearts demolishes impossible to stop
people mesmerized by turn every hour on the hour are taken away immobilized
only my death arrives on time for the appointment but does not wait
picks up whatever it finds and leaves
and we stay
all that I inherited from love of life illusion of bliss
the slip-up of being human
whatever was left of the substantive’s dream.
It comes home
opens wide doors and windows
leaps out to the yard
washes in the rain
dries itself with a whiff of the wind
enfolds in a leaf with great care
grabs a filament of light
curls up in a grain of dust,
stands in line behind the others, motionless.

Waiting at a distance
I watch.

Poem by Vahé Oshagan
July 30th, 1992 - Radnor, Pennsylvania
Translated by Tatul Sonentz

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