Tuesday, August 12, 2014

from TRISTE TRISTAN by Paol Keineg

Tristan and Isolde; Salvador Dali (1944)

from TRISTE TRISTAN by Paol Keineg
trans. from the French by Rosmarie Waldrop

Tristan, Iseut, etc.
take nudity by storm —
the poor girl has escaped,
bursts of hate
all around the woods,
and the burghers
end up with a beautiful wedding,
the dog taken in with the loot —
the gift of oneself estranges the self,
we’d like to ruin
these militant lovers.

to the lady’s ass
for hours —
poetry’s can’t-do-a-thing
no worry to him —
years near sovereignty
forbid his touching a corpse —
the forest experienced
as basis of
civilization —
the lady with the prominent nose turns into a scold.

Give weight to her breasts
lift them up with both hands —
life in the fields
a bit rough
with the pissing cows —
Iseut is sick to her stomach
of being torn open `
belly to sell not for sale,
everyone’s object of desire
lives under trees.

The moonlight again
so round, dispensing selves —   
round, astonished eyes
see disant satellites —
funny how bloodless the real.

A cottage for two hearts —
mum or swearing,
they recoil from a unified tale —
the hermit in this remote place
is a foil of a good god good goddamn 
good evening good teller of tales —
a pause in the Morrois forest,
can’t stop pissing — he draws  
his bow most tight, the arrow’s for her.

Clavicle, sternum, breast of the man —
Iseut anal, oral, social, a sport,
pawed near the wells —
complains: get a move-on,
big savage — erogenous 
zones planted with gorse —
he marks his territory with piss,
she gets up on her hind legs.

Ear to the ground
strip bare whom you’ll betray —
undress her ass
in the lyric tradition
screams sublimated
into scientific exhibits —
balls aching
for love of poetry.

Uniform pink
the tongue 
deceives — glorious bodies
apart at the hip —
masterful brains
by the long fucks.

Kelenn,* the holly that, in spite of its name, doesn’t teach —     
she puts her head on his lap,
closes her eyes against sleep —
would be a great fragrant void,

an amphibian.

* Breton kelenn is both holly and teaching

Paol Keineg was born in Brittany in 1944. His first book, Le poème du pays qui a faim (1967) became a manifesto of Breton militancy. While remaining intensely interested in Celtic mythology, he taught for almost thirty years at Brown and Duke before returning to France in 2009. He is both playwright and poet.  His most recent  book is a Collected Poems: Les trucs sont démolis (2008). Burning Deck has published a translation of his Boudica.

Rosmarie Waldrop (b. 1935) Poet, translator, and editor Rosmarie Waldrop has been a forceful presence in American and international poetry for over forty years. Born in Germany in 1935, Waldrop studied literature and musicology at the University of Würzburg and the University of Freiburg before immigrating to the United States in the late 1950s. She received a PhD from the University of Michigan in 1966. While at the University of Michigan, Waldrop married poet and translator Keith Waldrop. In 1961 the Waldrop’s began Burning Deck Magazine. (from Poetry Foundation)

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