“In This Dead End” by Ahmad Shamloo

They come sniffing at your mouth
Lest the words ‘I love you’ lurk within
They come to search your heart
These are strange times, my darling
As for love,
They whip it bloody
All along the city ramparts
We bury Love in the back room of the house
In this gnarled and frozen dead end
They feed the flames
With the kindling of song and poetry
Do not risk a thought
These are strange times we live in, my darling
Whoever pounds on the door at night
Has come to murder light
We bury Light in the back room of the house
And now here the butchers come,
Stationed at every crossroad
They bring cutting boards and bloody cleavers
These are strange times we live in, my darling
They cut corners from smiling lips
Cut songs from the throat
We bury Joy in the back room of the house
The canaries are lain on the coals
Burning with lilies and jasmine
These are strange times we live in, my darling
Iblis triumphant,
Blind drunk at the banquet of our grief
We bury God in the back room of the house

“In This Dead End” by Ahmad Shamloo
Translation of a translation by Yann Rousselot

***

“En cette impasse” – Ahmad Shamloo

On vient sentir ta bouche
Que tu n’aies dit je t’aime
On vient sentir ton coeur
Quelle étrange époque vivons-nous, ma toute gracieuse
Quant à l’amour,
On lui donne le fouet
Le long des remparts sentinelles
L’amour, on l’enfouit au fond d’une arrière-cour
En cette impasse torve, torturée par le froid
Brille l’amour
Par la grâce nourricière des chants et des poèmes
Ne te risque pas à penser, ma toute gracieuse
Quelle étrange époque vivons-nous
Celui qui, nuitamment, martèle à notre porte
Est venu en meurtrier de la lampe
La lumière, on l’enfouit au fond d’une arrière-cour
Et voici que viennent les bouchers
Veillant à tout passage
Ils apportent la planche et les hachoirs en sang
Quelle étrange époque vivons-nous, ma toute gracieuse
Et ils équarrissent le sourire sur les lèvres
Et les chants sur la bouche
La joie, on l’enfouit au fond d’une arrière-cour
Les canaris sont couchés sur la braise,
brûlante de jasmin et de lys
Quelle étrange époque vivons-nous, ma toute gracieuse
Iblis est triomphant,
Ivre, attablé au banquet de nos deuils
Dieu, on l’enfouit au fond d’une arrière-cour.

Traduit pour Libération par Reza Afchar Naderi. Petits Chants de l’exil, 1980.

/

On renifle ta bouche
Pour savoir si tu as dit « je t’aime »
On renifle ton cœur
Drôle de temps, ami-e
Et à côté du garde-fou
On fouette
L’amour
Il faut cacher l’amour dans l’arrière-chambre de la maison
Dans cette impasse tortueuse du froid
Pour alimenter le feu
On brûle des chants et poésies
Ne te risque pas à penser
Drôle de temps, ami-e
Celui qui au crépuscule cogne à la porte
Est venu pour assassiner la lampe
Il faut cacher la lumière dans l’arrière-chambre de la maison
Voici que les bouchers
Se postent aux carrefours
Billots et haches ensanglantés à la main
Drôle de temps, ami-e
Et on mutile le sourire sur les lèvres
Et la chanson dans la gorge
Il faut cacher l’enthousiasme dans l’arrière-chambre de la maison
On fait griller les canaries
Sur un feu de lys et de jasmin
Drôle de temps, ami-e
Le diable ivre de victoire
Fait ripaille à notre banquet de deuil
Il faut cacher Dieu dans l’arrière-chambre de la maison

Traduit par Marie Ladier-Fouladi, à partir de celle de Chahrâchoub Amirchâhi et Alain Lance, Iran Poésie & autres rubriques, Paris, Maspero, 1980.

***

دهانت را می بویند مبادا گفته باشی دوستت دارم

دلت را می پویند مبادا شعله ای در آن نهان باشد

روزگار غریبی است نازنین

و عشق را کنار تیرک راهوند تازیانه می زنند

عشق را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

شوق را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

روزگار غریبی است نازنین

و در این بن بست کج و پیچ سرما

آتش را به سوخت بار سرود و شعر فروزان می دارند

به اندیشیدن خطر مکن

روزگار غریبی است نازنین

آنکه بر در می کوبد شباهنگام

به کشتن چراغ آمده است

نور را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

دهانت را می بویند مبادا گفته باشی دوستت دارم

دلت را می پویند مبادا شعله ای در آن نهان باشد

روزگار غریبی است نازنین

نور را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

عشق را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

آنک قصابانند بر گذرگاهان مستقر با کُنده و ساطوری خون آلود

و تبسم را بر لبها جراحی می کنند

و ترانه را بر دهان

کباب قناری بر آتش سوسن و یاس

شوق را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

ابلیس پیروز مست سور عزای ما را بر سفره نشسته است

خدای را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

خدای را در پستوی خانه نهان باید کرد

                                               احمد شاملو

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THE HEAVY HEART

I am the sea elephant, my harem
awash with dead bodies
too heavy for the tide.
I am so heavy I sink, collapse my chest,
draw the moon to me.

DON’T STOP THE MUSIC

Eagles_Of_Death

DON’T STOP THE MUSIC

This is for the punks and the pop divas.
This is for the pirates and the producers.
This is for everyone who ever sang along:
fuck the noise, but don’t stop the music.
Dance till your Converse kicks fall to pieces.
This is for the mosh-pit and the VIP.
This is for the ravers and the metal-heads:
keep thrashing because once the music stops,
you may as well be dead.
This is for the bobos and the foodies in the Marais:
enjoy your gay bars and your 2 Many DJs.
This is for the loners and the cynics
in that improbable place of worship,
six beers deep in the dark with no ear-plugs.
Enjoy the creepy doorman and the clipboard-bitch.
Enjoy the sticky shoes and dirty toilets.
Enjoy the list you never get on.
This is for the snares and the wah-wah pedals:
fuck the squares and their wartime medals.
This is for the PTSD survivors in platform shoes,
flashing bar-staff at the BO18 in Beirut.
This is for Ibiza, Goa, and Black Rock City.
This is for the nectar of the damned,
but you’ve got it all wrong: ours is not
the nature of the damned, just the dancers.
This is for the last-minute ticket to the Bataclan.
Make peace with your dead phone.
Grab a busted vélib and enjoy the ride home.
Enjoy the back seat of the vomit comet.
Enjoy your walk of shame.
Hell to pay come Monday 8AM
but until then don’t stop the music,
or you may as well be dead.
This is for the secret dance parties
in the deserts of Iran and Afghanistan,
where the thought police can’t see you.
This is for the weekend warriors,
night-crawlers and vampires.
This is for the right to sin.
The right to almost, but not quite, fall in.
This is for the mother of all fat ladies
when she breaks into song:
enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

ALL WE NEED IS FOREVER

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Play the voodoo doll,
make me dance—break
the laws of thermodynamics:
react before the very act.
We don’t stand a chance
against each other.
Whisper of wishbones,
knuckles in a dice cup.
Listen: the rune stones.
Heed the old wives’ tales.
Look: a heart in the mail.
Step into my sandcastle
built on a wing and a prayer.
The first brick is golden;
blood-red, all the others
flow upwards—sand
can petrify, break the tide.
All we need is forever,
Milagros.

DotA Teaser: COLD WAR GAMES

COLD WAR GAMES

I will keep you warm in the cold, cold war
even though you are a Montague and I am KGB.
Hang on to this rose while I holster my PPK.
Now put on this latex dress, I’ll get the Cabernet.
Let’s pillow-talk Renaissance painting, architecture,
and your country’s key military infrastructure.
Have a drink, tell me about that place you’re from.

I was trained in the brothels of St. Petersburg,
trained by the best in the amorous arts.
I was also trained by the Stasi in the arts of torture,
but I wouldn’t want to bore you, lover.
Just slip into this bathrobe while I defenestrate
this M15 spook—don’t look, close your eyes
and think of wherever it is you’re from.

“O Romeo!”—I am tired of hearing my name
exhaled by an Octopussy of exotic secretaries.
My heart is probably made of solid gold.
In the world of counter-counter-espionage
there is no room for emotional growth.
I cut hearts with diamonds for king and country.
Pick a card. Any card. It looks like I’ve won.

CS-Cold WarCut
Cold War Games – Christiana Spens

This poem is featured in my forthcoming collection Dawn of the Algorithm, published by Inkshares and out in bookshops real and virtual on May 30th, 2015.

Pre-order your copy here:
http://www.dawnofthealgorithm.com

Goodreads reviews

DotA Teaser: IMMUNE RESPONSE

IMMUNE RESPONSE

I watch the television, I’m no fool.
Size matters in the war against the microbes.
I’m working to boost my immune system,
juice up my intestinal flora.
Starts with a bulletproof breakfast,
a nice, bloody chicken tartare,
essence of Salmonella.
I’m field testing a vaccine for swine flu
by French kissing an infected sow.
Never in my life have I felt so low,
but no one likes the bitter taste of truth.
I’ll be the last man standing
after all these jack-in-the-box plagues
hiding like cyanide capsules in a rocky tooth.
I lick all the metro rails on the way to work,
bump and grind with that hobo chick
loitering platform 3 at République.
On weekends I eat cows
that were fed other cows,
sheep fed other sheep.
From dirt, we were made to eat dirt,
to tango with the bacterial secret agents
the government designed to water down
the global population density.
I’m no fool: I’ve got my own mithridate.
I’m saving up to buy an Ebola monkey.

***

Immune Response - Samantha Wong
Immune Response – Samantha Wong

***

This poem is featured in my forthcoming collection Dawn of the Algorithm, published by Inkshares and out in bookshops real and virtual on May 30th, 2015.

Pre-order your copy here:
http://www.dawnofthealgorithm.com

Goodreads reviews

VOLCABULANO

Yes, strange title. This is a strange one.

So a colleague linked me this vocabulary test by the University of Ghent. (I got 83% the second time I did it, this particular time I got 73%, which was quite a blow to the ego.) It’s clever and really challenging, I recommend you give it a shot. One of the perks: the software generates fake words that sound almost credible. So I ended up with a list of semi-realistic computer-generated nonwords…

GhentVocabTest

So obviously I wrote a tragic love poem using as many as I could.

VOCABULANO

I kissed her hemcrack,
chelublerously, her smile atrulant.
The stecatil slope of her engid,
was simply stenalning.
She looked into my clumpery
with the neuvel eyes of a gisho.
My propudets were on fire.
She took a sharp breath, awtich,
the samboard between us stoftwase,
a thermokoid glistening constossly
in the cantydrass of our bungstourness.
It was an apeant love song,
krombope with corcadable mowergantness.
The rebraratois, so French, so sengeily,
falling across her naked ubtramamoid.
A dreabb flango of spearbite, forever.
Adieu, Pililodas.