Remember Barbara
It was raining ceaselessly on Brest that day
And you were walking smiling
Beaming delighted dripping
Under the rain
Remember Barbara
It was raining ceaselessly on Brest
And I passed you in the rue de Siam
You were smiling
And me I was smiling the same smile
Remember Barbara
You who I didn’t know
You who didn’t know me
Remember that day anyway
Don’t forget
A man was taking shelter under an overhang
And he yelled your name
And you ran to him under the rain
Dripping delighted beaming
And you threw yourself in his arms
Remember that Barbara
And don’t be mad if I speak to you familiarly
I speak familiarly to everyone I love
Even if I’ve only seen them once
I speak familiarly to everyone in love
Even if I don’t know them
Remember Barbara
Don’t forget
This sweet and happy rain
On your happy face
On this happy city
This rain on the sea
On the naval arsenal
On the battleship
Oh Barbara
War is such stupidity
What’s become of you now
Under this rain of iron
Of fire of steel of blood
And the one who took you in his arms
Is he dead disappeared or yet still living
Oh Barbara
It’s raining ceaselessly on Brest
Like it rained before
But it’s no longer the same and everything’s ruined
It’s a rain of mourning terrible and desolate
There is no longer a storm
Of iron of steel of blood
There are only some clouds
Who die like dogs
Dogs who disappear
In the wind over Brest
And go to rot far away
Far away very far from Brest
Of which nothing remains.

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Place du Carrousel

Place du Carrousel
towards the end of a beautiful summer day
the blood of a horse
injured and unharnessed
onto the pavement
And the horse was there
on three feet
And the other wounded foot
wounded and torn
Right next to it
there was also the coachman
and the carriage that was also motionless
useless as a broken clock
And the horse was silent
the horse didn’t complain
the horse didn’t whinny
it was there
it waited
and it was so noble so sad so simple
and so reasonable
that it wasn’t possible to hold back tears

lost gardens
forgotten fountains
sunlit meadows
oh suffering
splendor and mystery of adversity
blood and sparks
beaten-up beauty

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The New Order

The sun dwells in the ground
Broken liter of red wine
A house like a drunkard
On the pavement has collapsed
And under its porch that still stands
A young girl is stretched out
A kneeling man next to her
Is about to finish her off
In the wound where the bullet stirs
Her heart won’t stop bleeding
And the man lets out a war cry
Like an absurd cry of a peacock
And his cry is lost in the night
Outside of life outside of time
And the man his face covered in dust
The lost and damaged man
Straightens up and yells “Heil Hitler!”
With a desperate voice
Facing him in the debris
From a charred storefront
The portrait of a pale old man
Watches him with kindness
Stars shine on his sleeves
Also others on his kepi
Like the stars shining on Christmas
On the trees for the little ones
And the man of the assault platoons
In front of the marvelous colors
Suddenly finds himself with his family
At the very heart of the new order
And puts his knife back in its scabbard
And gets out of there right away
Automaton of new Europe
Scrambled by the evil of countries
Goodbye goodbye Lily Marlene
And his steps and his song grow distant in the night
And the portrait of the pale old man
In the middle of the rubble
Stays alone and smiles
Tranquil in the half-light
Senile and sure of itself.

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A horse collapses in the middle of a path
Leaves fall on him
Our love trembles
And so does the sun.

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He put the coffee
In the cup
In put the milk
In the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
In the cafe au lait
With the little spoon
He stirred
He drank the coffee
And he set down the cup
Without speaking to me
He lit
A cigarette
He made rings
With the smoke
He put the ashes
In the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking at me
He got up
He put
His hat on his head
He put
His raincoat on
Because it was raining
And he left
In the rain
Without a word
Without looking at me
And me I put my head in my hand
And I cried.

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The Sultan

In the mountains of Kashmir
Lives the Sultan of Salamandragore
During the day he kills a bunch of people
And when night comes he falls asleep
But in his nightmares the dead are hiding
And devour him
So one night he wakes up
Letting out a great cry
And the executioner shoots from his sleep
Arrives smiling at the foot of the bed
If there weren’t any living
Says the Sultan
There wouldn’t be any dead
And the executioner responds okay
Let all the rest die then
And let us not speak of it anymore
Okay says the executioner
That’s all he knows how to say
And all the rest die just like the Sultan said
The women the children the breasts and those of the others
The calf the wolf the wasp and the gentle sheep
The good honest old man and the mild camel
The theatre actresses the king of the animals
The banana farmers the writers of good words
And the roosters and their hens the eggs with their shells
And no one was left to bury anyone
There that’s just how I want it
Says the Sultan of Salamandragore
But stay there executioner
There right next to me
And kill me
If I ever go back to sleep.

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Don’t Let Them…

Do not let intellectuals play with matches
Because Messieurs when one is left alone
The mental world Messssieurs
Is not at all brilliant
And as soon as he is alone
Working arbitrarily
Building himself up for himself
And speaking to himself generously in honor of the builders
A self-erected monument
Let’s repeat it Messssssieurs
When one is left alone
The mental world

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Rue de Seine

Rue de Seine ten-thirty
at night
at the corner of another street
a staggering man… a young man
with a hat
a raincoat
a woman shakes him…
she shakes him
and she speaks to him
and he shakes his head
his hat is all askew
and the woman’s hat is ready to fall off behind her
both of them are very pale
the man definitely wants to leave…
to disappear… to die…
but the woman has a furious desire to live
and her voice
her voice whispers
so that you can’t help but listen to it
it’s a plea…
an order…
a cry…
so insistent this voice…
and sad
and lively…
a sick newborn who shivers on a grave
in a winter cemetery…
the scream of fingers caught in a door…
a song
a sentence
always the same
a sentence
without stopping
without response…
the man looks at her his eyes rolling
he makes a gesture with his arms
like a drowning man
and the sentence comes at him again
Rue de Seine at the corner of another street
the woman continues
continues her anxious question
a wound impossible to bandage
Pierre tell me the truth
Pierre tell me the truth
I want to know everything
tell me the truth…
the woman’s hat falls
Pierre I want to know everything
tell me the truth…
stupid and grandiose question
Pierre doesn’t know what to say
he is lost
this one named Pierre…
he has a smile that maybe he would like to lose
and he repeats
Look calm down you’re crazy
but he doesn’t know how right he is
but he doesn’t see
he can’t see how
the man’s mouth is twisted by his smile…
he is suffocating
the world crushes against him
and he suffocates
he is a prisoner
caught by his promises…
they hold him accountable…
facing him…
a machine that keeps accounts
a machine that writes love letters
a machine that suffers
seizes him…
clings to him…
Pierre tell me the truth.

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Paris de Nuit

Three matches lit one by one in the night
The first to see your face in its entirety
The second to see your eyes
The last to see your mouth
And the darkness all around to remind me of all of them
As I take you in my arms.

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The Garden

Millions and millions of years
Would not suffice
To speak of
The little second of eternity
When you kissed me
When I kissed you
One morning in the winter sunlight
In Montsouris Park in Paris
On the Earth
The Earth that is a star.

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The Return To The Country

Here’s a Breton who is coming back to his native land
After having done many horrible things
He walks in front of the factories in Douarnenez
He doesn’t recognize anyone
No one recognizes him
He is very sad.
He goes into a crepe shop to eat some crepes
But he can’t eat any
There is something that’s preventing them from passing through his lips
He pays
He leaves
He lights a cigarette
But he can’t smoke it.
There is something
Something in his head
Something bad
He gets sadder and sadder
And suddenly it appears in his memory:
Someone told him when he was very little:
“You will end up on the gallows”
And through the years
He didn’t dare do anything
Not even cross the street
Not even leave on the ocean
Nothing absolutely nothing.
He remembers.
The one who had predicted this was his Uncle Grésillard
Uncle Grésillard who was a jerk to everybody
The bastard!
And the Breton thinks of the war
Thinks of all the things he’s seen
All the things he’s done.
Sadness clenches down against him
He tries another time
To light a cigarette
But he doesn’t want to smoke
So he decides to go see Uncle Grésillard.
He goes
He opens the door
His uncle doesn’t recognize him
But he recognizes his uncle
And he says:
“Hello Uncle Grésillard”
And then he wrings his neck.
And he ends up on the gallows in Quimper
After having eaten two dozen crepes
And smoked a cigarette.

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Jailer’s Song

Where are you going handsome jailer
With that key covered in blood
I am going to release the one that I love
If there is still time
And who I locked up
Tenderly cruelly
At the greatest secret of my desire
At the height of my torment
In the lies of the future
In the stupidity of vows
I am going to release her
I want her to be free
And also to forget me
And also to leave me
And also to come back
And to love me again
Or to love another
If another pleases her
And if I stay here alone
And she leaves
I will only keep
I will always keep
In the hollows of my two hands
Until the end of days
The softness of her breasts sculpted by love.

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Immense and Red

Immense and red
Above the Grand Palais
The winter sun appears
And disappears
Like my heart will disappear
And all of my blood will run out
Run out to look for you
My love
My beauty
And find you
There where you are.

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Green Zone

I put my helmet in the cage
and I left with the bird on my head
do we not salute anymore
demanded the sergeant
we don’t salute anymore
replied the bird
Oh I see
sorry I thought we were still saluting
said the sergeant
That’s okay everybody makes mistakes
said the bird.

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Birdwatcher’s Song

The bird that flies so gently
The bird red and warm as blood
The bird so soft the bird that mimics
The bird who is suddenly afraid
The bird who suddenly hits himself
The bird who would like to fly away
The bird panicked and alone
The bird who would like to live
The bird who would like to sing
The bird who would like to cry out
The bird red and warm as blood
The bird who flies so gently
It’s your heart pretty child
Your heart that beats its wings so sadly
Against your breast so strong so white.

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To Make A Portrait Of A Bird

First paint a cage
with an open door
then paint
something pretty
something simple
something beautiful
something useful
for the bird
then place the canvas within a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide behind the tree
without saying anything
without moving an inch…
Sometimes the bird arrives quickly
but he can also take many years
before deciding
do not become discouraged
wait for years if you have to
the speed or the sluggishness of the bird’s arrival
has no effect
on the outcome of your painting
When the bird arrives
if it arrives
keep the most profound silence
wait for the bird to enter the cage
and when he is inside
gently close the door with the paintbrush
erase all of the bars one by one
while taking care not to touch any of the bird’s feathers
then do the tree’s portrait
choosing the most beautiful branch
for the bird
paint the greenery and the freshness of the wind as well
the spray of the sun
and the noise of the animals in the grass in the heat of summer
and then wait for the bird to decide to sing
If the bird doesn’t sing
it’s a bad sign
it’s a sign that your painting is bad
but if it sings it’s a good sign
it’s a sign that you can sign
Then you very gently pluck
one of the bird’s feathers
and you write your name in a corner of the canvas.

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The Florist’s Shop

A man enters a florist’s shop
and chooses some flowers
the florist wraps the flowers
the man puts his hand in his pocket
to look for some money
money to pay for the flowers
but at the same time he puts
his hand on his heart
and he falls

At the same time that he falls
the money rolls to the ground
and then the flowers fall
at the same time as the man
at the same time as the money
and the florist stands still
with the money that is rolling
with the flowers that are spoiling
with the man that is dying
obviously everything here is very sad
and she must do something
the florist
but she doesn’t know what path to take
she doesn’t know
where to begin

There are so many things to do
with this man that is dying
these flowers that are spoiling
and this money
this money that is rolling
that just won’t stop rolling.

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Despair Is Sitting On A Bench

In a square on a bench
There is a man who calls to you when you pass
He has binoculars an old gray suit
He smokes a cigarillo he is seated
And he calls to you when you pass
Or he simply gestures to you
Don’t look at him
Don’t listen to him
Just pass on by
Go on as if you didn’t see him
As if you didn’t hear him
If you look at him
If you listen to him
He gestures to you and nothing no one
Can stop you from going to sit next to him
Then he looks at you and smiles
And you suffer horribly
And the man continues to smile
And you smile the same smile
The more you smile the more you suffer
The more you suffer the more you smile
And you stay there
Sitting motionless
Smiling on the bench
Children play right by you
Passersby pass by
Birds fly away
Leaving a tree
For another
And you stay there
On the bench
And you know you know
That you will never play anymore
Like those children
You know that you will never pass by anymore
Like those passersby
That you will never again fly away
Leave a tree for another
Like those birds.

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Demons and marvels
Winds and tides
Far away already the sea has gone out
And you
Like seaweed gently caressed by the wind
In the sands of sleep you stir dreaming
Demons and marvels
Winds and tides
Far away already the sea has gone out
But in your half-open eyes
Two little waves remain
Demons and marvels
Winds and tides
Two little waves to drown myself in.

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The Barrel Organ

I play the piano
one of them was saying
I play the violin
the other was saying
I play the harp I play the banjo
I play the cello
I play the bagpipes… I play the flute
and me I play the kazoo
And the ones and the others were talking talking
talking about what they played.
You couldn’t hear any music
everybody was talking
talking talking
no one was playing
but in the corner stood a man:
“And what instrument do you play Monsieur
you who are standing there not saying anything?”
asked the musicians.
“I play the barrel-organ
and I also play the knife”
said the man who up until now
had said absolutely nothing
and then he advanced the knife in his hand
and he killed all the musicians
and he played the barrel-organ
and the music was so true
and so lively and so beautiful
that the little daughter of the master of the house
came out from underneath the piano
where she had fallen asleep out of boredom
and she said:
“I played with a hoop
with jacks
I played hopscotch
I played with a pail
I played with a shovel
I played with my father and mother
I played tag
I played with my dolls
I played with my parasol
I played with my little brother
with my little sister
I played cops
and robbers
but that’s over over over
I want to play assassin
I want to play the barrel-organ.”
And the man took the little girl by the hand
and they travelled through the cities
through the houses through the gardens
and they killed as many as possible
after which they got married
and lived happily ever after.
Their first born learned the piano
the second the violin
the third the harp
the fourth the kazoo
the fifth the cello
and then they started talking
talking talking talking
you couldn’t hear the music anymore
and everything happened all over again!

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