Claude Pélieu, poet & collagist extraordinaire…
…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
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
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.