the death of guillaume apollinaire


we know nothing
we knew nothing of grief

the bitter season of cold

digs long furrows in our muscles

he would have preferred the joy of victory

wise under calm sorrows    caged
unable to do anything at all

if snow fell upward

if the sun rose to meet us during the night

to warm us

and trees hung with their crown upside down

—unique teardrop—

if birds were here with us to contemplate themselves

in the tranquil lake above our heads


death would be a beautiful long voyage

and an unlimited vacation from the flesh of structures and of bones.

Tristan Tzara


the ransom

Come, let’s find the secret of the clear waters;
I’ll adore you, as a drowned person does the sea.

Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead flesh
Will be our friendly escorts, in joy.

Queen, I raised to you this shining palace,
From the remains of a vessel shipwrecked at night . . .

The gardens of corals, anemones, and algae
Lose nothing from the autumn’s breath.

Laughing like harlequins in a burlesque,
We’ll mount astride the backs of sharks.

Your eyes will gleam like phosphor
Through the dusk where no dawn laughs.

I am the being your bare breast once charmed,
Unable to hate or love you enough,

Whom you devoured as does your own escort,
Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead flesh . . .

Come, I’ll draw you the bitter water,
To love your death there in the sea’s night.

Renée Vivien

the horse

It is true that I believed in the immense privilege of living.
Each step amplified in me old but always mobile adorations.
It was a tree, the night, whole forests of roads,
or the sky and its troubled life, certainly the sun.
One day I saw solitude.
At the top of hill, a horse, alone, immobile, was planted in an arrested universe.
So my love, suspended in time, gathered to itself in one instant its petrified memory.
Life and death completed each other, all doors open to possible prolongations.
For once, without sharing in the meaning of things, I saw.
I isolated my vision, enlarging its borders infinitely.
I left for later the concern of seeing what one was to see.
But who could maintain that the promises had been kept?

Tristan Tzara

The Lion Tamer Remembers

look at me and be color
your laugh eats sun for hares
for chameleons
squeeze my body between two thick lines
let famine be light
sleep do you see we are heavy blue
antelope on a glacier ear
in the stones
lovely frontiers—hear the stone
old fisherman cold tall on
new letter learn the girls
in iron wire and sugar return
long time the bottles are tall
like white parasols listen
roll roll red

in the colonies
memory odor of a clean pharmacy
old servant
joyful horse and cereals
horn cry
baggage obscure menageries
bite saw do you want
horizontal to see

Tristan Tzara