Claude Pélieu, poet & collagist extraordinaire…

pelieu 1976…left us on this day, 13 years ago. Which I suddenly realized as this morning I set to gather a dossier on his work for an issue of a French magazine (L’Homme sans épaules) to be published in the summer of 2016.  Here, in my English translation, a poem from the late sixties, from the volume Jukeboxes:

Good-bye tristesse, hello tristesse – we are in Paradise
       & the dead laugh their heads off,
I’m returning from heaven,  can tell you all about it – I took
       the space train and landed in the oasis of
       American colors.
The window-washers’ scaffolding sang, but the cold
       scissors of the carrion-man had handed themselves
       over to the cops & excited the man  with dysentery and
       supermarket eyes who prints the slogans of the day
       on my sky.
Death was wearing a crime-colored négligé – the fetuses were
       invading the external screens & the grammatical teats
       of nostalgia were pissing sulfur.
I plunged into their urban nature, this jungle of smells
       and sounds.
What world is this? Who finances it? To whom was it sold?
It was sold for a handful of coarse salt between 2 smirks and 3
       Dog’s barks — & the oppressed were fighting for their masters
       & their eyes were oozing under their masks of fake flesh.
(What would you be guilty of? Of everything? Of nothing? ) everybody
       winds up riffing thus in the empty streets.
Millions of you are slipping and sliding, the images slip hard by you,
       wound you or enchant you –
The Dead have invaded Earth,
       their fingers search the loam & a pale poisoned fog hangs
       over Wall Street.
Oh Manhattan, Island devoured  by grief, Indian island where today the
       Images print out the Journal of Shame & Fear.
The skin flicks are full up – Get out of this bronze forest! Drop everything!
Heat up the glue! Don’t run over the blacks! Don’t step on the Indians!
       Don’t let the words settle in! Don’t let the children croak in the
The comic strips & the advertisements stumble over  the film stock of
       your asses,a distant air of burning scorpions peels off the rotten trunk
of History –
For us the adversary is Death, Money, Hate & War (Death & all the old
       clichés & all the horrible death rattles).
One wakes up in another world with a bad taste between  the legs.
It’s over. The show’s over and done with. The slave words are
       being noisy in the service staircase, like the fascist foam
       on the airwaves.
A return to the past so as not to bother anybody – a jungle of curtains
       light years that stutter,
       imaged crowds stuffing themselves with cosmic shot – a trigger’s
       already thought too quickly – Goodbye sadness, hello tristesse.

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