Kit Schluter is co-founder and bookmaker of O'Clock Press & CLOCK magazine. His translation of Marcel Schwob's 1894 Book of Monelle is forthcoming from Wakefield Press (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in October 2012. He was recently awarded the Glascock Prize and lives in a garret in Villefranche de Rouergue, France.
The smell of mint, smoke, and smothered candles stolen from a highway memorial,
And slow-burning red lights, rotating in the golden throng of elsewhere's crickets,
Approach like a strange animal in the dark brush.
Rustling bodies, supine beneath a triangle of stars, previse arrivals,
The approach of one segment's ending and another's beginning.
They seek the waning Pleiades, which no longer illuminate the coupled nights
Constellated throughout the vegetable garden.
As if spitting our images onto film, they synchronize their movements
With the conductor's wand of these first breaths of autumn
To find the narratives concealed by the overflow.
But you mustn't say never, mustn't say a thing,
Lest you spoil the dream of becoming a bird,
And having access to these secret plains of basilica.
And once the traces of significant events appear to have been swept away,
Where your vision and its blankness wait around the corner
In the shadow of the rain that widens more gradually
Than the smoke of images here left unchosen
For the vagueness of their Fibonaccian expansion,
Where I learn a lesson,
Where I undergo changes imperceptible until I return to the foraged nest,
Where I find myself begging you to return to the habits by which you were once identifiable,
Where I lurch apprehensively toward our friends,
Whom I mistrust for their capacity to steal you, whom I love by keeping still . . .
I know. I hope to change and not waver
Beneath the impossibility of remaining tangible.
If only the heart, as a fruit, were yours to consume.
A proper namesake comes in all sizes. The skies collapse
Around him, who begins to scan the street
For distracting marginalia, having spent too long a time remembering
Her face. The grainy quality of the first morning light hits him heavy, although many days have passed
Since those first few difficult nights without sleep,
And necessary precautions have been taken to prevent him from drowning himself as well in the bathtub.
As for his mother, must it have been suicide? Because I heard her husband’s coffee had been drugged.
The head in French-speaking countries has historically
Been represented by a clay pot, and in those Spanish-speaking, by
The hole in the shirt through which the head passes. In certain islands off of Italy, the head
Is a conch shell. The majority of European heads used to be condoms,
But these condoms are now used for pen caps. Being French,
He is merely what he follows; he waxes like the moon when he believes;
He was injured by the priests who blessed him in front of a mess of a congregation in
A church filled with banks; he inherited nothing but embarrassment from his parents,
But nothing of the body endures these renderings.
How could she have let him find her like that in the water?
Nevertheless, I’m sure she was proud of several things he had done.
Maybe once or twice she had even heard him sing.
So the car horns get under the skin and cause nightmares. So the kids that have no money tend to sell haschisch. So you can’t stand the tree you call “the mourner” because it looks like fireworks.
Had she taken him to see fireworks when he was younger?
Now I ask you why you didn’t let this happen to me. Later I will ask why not sooner.
If he had been Italian, her death would have moved toward him like a gift,
And in Latin, words interacted like his body and his mother's. I mounted the stairs once,
And she was weeping, her face stuffed in a pillow. Like August, some words are too short to be left alone.
Certain colored windows assemble in beautiful geometries at night.
There is a soprano who lives in blue. I make noise in the courtyard, such that she hears me.
We might make a record together, but we haven’t met. It extends like a vertical plain,
The apartment complex. It’s unfair to mention her like he does to you, however, to liken you to her, to tell you
You lead him again and again into the bathroom where it all happened. You are his roof. You kill him.
Something about it is just too brutal,
The way he believed himself to be home alone.
Do you remember diving into the bushes by the Pompidou
As the ambulance car rushed past?
We didn't know it was her inside.
Or was I alone?
All I remember is that it was punctual,
The descent of the clouds.