Nicole Brossard
translated by Peter Dubé


these are the names of places, of cities, of climates that make characters. The clear mornings, a fine rain fallen for twenty-four hours, rare images originating in America and elsewhere, two natural disasters that oblige us to stick together in the midst of cadavers, these are the gestures quiet or purple, the shells, the icicles in the happy hour glasses, crockery noises or a light stuttering that torments an instant, a slap, a kiss these are the names of cities like Venice or Reading, Tongue and Pueblo, the names of characters Fabrice, Laure or Emma. The words sharpened over the years and the novels, words one spoke while breathing badly, while laughing, while spitting, while sucking an olive, the verbs we add to the lips' pleasure, to success, to a certain death. These are words like knee or cheek or still others stretching as far as the eye can see making us lean over the void, stretch like cats in the morning these are the words that make one stay awake till dawn or take a taxi on week nights when the city falls asleep before midnight and solitude sticks in our jaws like an abscess. These are words spoken from memory, from want or from pride, very often words pronounced with love while placing hands on nape of neck or filling a glass of port. These are words whose etymology must be sought, that must then be plastered to what's called a wall of sound, in a manner like those who cry out in pain and sigh with pleasure that wander in dreams and documents assault the heart's mysterious obscurity. These are words like bay, hill, wadi, via, street* stasse dispersed through the dictionary between flame-trees and neons, cemeteries, dismal and forests. These are words sound the body of meanings that are claws or soft* on our chests, cold, shivers, furrows and fear in the back without waiting while we try to split the sleek future tense with trenchant quotations. These are words swallowers of fire and life, one no longer knows whether they're Latin, French, Italian, Sanskrit, Mandarin, Andalusian, Arabic or English, whether they hide a number, an animal or old anguishes eager to gush before our eyes like cloned shadows filled with light and great myths.

Translated by Peter Dubé

* These words appear in English in the original text.

Issue Two
Table of Contents