curated by Adam Fitzgerald

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ghostly Stances

I don't attach any importance to life
I don't pin life's least butterfly to importance
I'm unimportant to life
But branches of salt white branches
All the bubbles of shadow
And sea anemones
Go down and breathe deep inside my thought
They come from tears I don't shed
From steps I don't take which are steps twice over
And which sand remembers when the tide rises
The bars are inside the cage
And birds come from high up to sing in front of these bars
An underground passage connects all perfumes
One day a woman entered it
That woman grew so radiant I couldn't see her
With these eyes that have even seen me burning
I was already as old as I am now
And I watched over myself over my thoughts like a night
     watchman in an immense factory
The only watchman
The traffic circle still cast its spell over the same trolleys
The expressions on the plastic figurines hadn't changed
They were chewing the smile's rye
I know of a cloth in a vanished city
If I felt like appearing before you draped in that cloth
You'd think your end was drawing near
Just like mine
Fountains would finally understand that they shouldn't
     say Fountain
Wolves are lured with snow mirrors
I own a boat that isn't moored to any climate
I'm swept along by an ice floe with flaming teeth
I chop and split the wood of the tree that will always be
A musician gets caught in the strings of his instrument
The Jolly Roger from the time of any children's story
Boards a vessel which is only the ghost of itself
Maybe there's a hilt on that sword
But in that hilt there's already a duel
During which the two opponents disarm each other
The dead one is the less-offended party
It's never the future

Curtains that have never been opened
Float at the windows of houses yet to be built
Beds made of all lily beds
Slide under lamps of dew
An evening will come
Nuggets of light roll to a stop under blue moss
The hands that tie and untie love-knots and air-knots
Keep all their transparency for those who see
They see palms on hands
Crowns in eyes
But the brazier of crowns and palms
Catches fire just barely catches fire at the deepest part of
     the forest
There where stags take aim at the years as they lower
     their heads
Now all you can hear is a dull thud
From which comes a thousand noises more faint or muffled
And this thud goes on
There are dresses that quiver
Quivering to the beat of this thud
But when I want to see the faces of the women who wear
A huge fog rises from the ground
At the foot of steeples behind the most elegant reservoirs
     of life and wealth
In gorges that grow dark between two mountains
On the sea at the hour when the sun cools down
The beings who signal to me are separated by stars
And yet the carriage traveling at a gallop
Carries away my very last hesitation
Which waits for me over there in the city where the
     statues of bronze and stone have changed places with
     the wax statues
Banyans banyans

by Andre Breton
Translated by Bill Zavatsky & Zack Rogow