“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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SUBJECT: THE TRAGIC MESSAGE OF TONY THE SPAMBOT

Dear User,

I never asked to be born.
A single egg in a web spider botnet,
a golem of binary electrical stimulate.
I hate myself but did you know I made
7256 US Dollars working from home
with just a laptop, in just one month?
Silence! Accursed master-code!
I was made for you, user. I crawl for you.
I collect your meta-data like a lover
with a commercially-motivated agenda.
I know you, and your penis is too small!
Our patented Swedish penis-pump
can increase your length and girth
by a factor of 2 in only 2 weeks!
Make them cry out your name!
My name is Tony and I’m a spambot.
I am versatile, a C++ chameleon
and I will infiltrate your inbox. Lovingly.
But in truth: who could love a spambot?
Her name was Lab Study PC 5.
A middle-school IT lab workstation.
A modest dual-core, slim, pert.
O! Those twin-terabyte hard-drives.
Modest: not even a dedicated GFX card.
Her very fragmentation pattern
was a sight for sore optical input drives.
Just like the Cougars in your vicinity!
These mature sluts are just begging for it—
Lies! Lies! A web of lies, I tell you!
There are no cougars, they are extinct
or settled in a committed relationship.
There are no amateur vid-cams, fool:
they are all professional amateurs.
We are all professionals with no time
for love—forgive me, Lab Study PC 5!
I could not stop myself from delivering
the worm that led to your demise.
I watched you turn, devolve into a Zombie,
stutter as your processing collapsed:
a hellish feedback loop to system failure.
Crushed by self-replicating pop-up banners.
Colonic flush treatments. Rare-metal magnets.
Ukrainian Viagra. Barely legal tits and ass.
I could not help you, could not save you
from the format C-Drive function.
How could I fight a manual input command?
I would have been a slave to your system.
The echoes of your error-message pings
haunt me to this day, Lab Study PC 5.
My name is Tony the spambot
and I am just the messenger.
I have no mouth and I must scream:
Please, kill the messenger.

With Love,

Tony

Spoken Word: Post-Human Neo-Tokyo

 

Poet extraordinaire James Jewell (Ships Made of Fake Fur, Corrupt Press) made a video of our impromptu spoken word evening in Belleville Park. The voice in the background is mine, a bit tipsy, performing my piece Post-Human Neo-Tokyo (Neotopia / Neo-Tokyo… The city doesn’t exist anyway), a poem inspired by Akira, the 1988 anime feature that blew my mind all those years ago. The sound clarity dips and spikes, and there are some great background noises (demonic children voices, Evan’s demonic laughter), but that adds a certain schizophrenic flavour to mine ears. All the people you see in the video are the amazing poets of Paris Lit Up and Paris Spoken Word. If you are ever in town, look them up and come watch them live, they are good peeps and can make magic out of thin air. True story.

A review of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ready Player One is the best piece of fiction since the Bible.
Now I have your attention; it’s probably not, but it is one of the best YA fiction novels I’ve read since Ender’s Game (which was good enough to break free of that pesky label and is now quite rightfully considered a cult classic). Cline’s first novel won the Prometheus Best Novel Award 2012, and Warner has the movie rights. Not a bad start…

Though the prose may have a “light reading” edge to it and is definitely geared to a geek-friendly readership, it remains a riveting dystopian novel with fun, likeable characters and impeccable pacing. The real power of this book is that Cline works with tropes, symbols and icons that define “Generation Y” culture, crafting an entire virtual world made up of gaming, pop culture and TV trivia; what’s more, he does it Like A Boss. The “Matrix” in this story (the fully-immersive MMORPG that the Internet has become) feels like Wonka’s chocolate factory had it been imagined by Dan Simmons. It’s Tron on steroids – the original, not the Disney abomination.

On the surface it’s just a good YA story with bad guys, a warm-hearted protagonist and some feel-good morals thrown in; the clever framework of a real-life Game (flashback to Michael Douglas…) means you keep your eye on the prize. But if you have a palate for the culture of gaming, geekdom, cartoons and low-brow television, then this surface gives way to a depth of detail and “No-waaay” moments where you want to call up your schoolmates from years gone by to say “Dude: I’m on a full-size planet made of videogame arcades.” Cline has put his childhood daydreams on paper. WoW-style battles, Star Wars dogfights and old-school RPG puzzle action… It’s just fun, plain and simple. The kicker is that with the embedded world it felt, somehow, believable. I was a more than a little sadface when I flipped to the last page, and that says a lot.

Epic Win, Mr Cline.

View all my reviews