Pierre Joris (Luxembourg/USA): Two Poems


Here, the end of the word, of the book, of chance.

Drop that dice. It is useless.

Here, the end of the game, of resemblance.
The infinite, by the interpretation of its letters
Denies the end.

Here, the end cannot be denied. It is infinite.

Here is not the place
Nor even the trace.

Here is sand.


& the sun rises at 7:05 a.m.
over the Habbous quarter in Casablanca
song birds that use the sky and the house
open house open to the sky to
the train vibrates walls
open to smells of Maghreb
the call of the muezzin at 4:30 a.m.
even though (even though?)
the windows have elegant bars
speech-grilles? sight-grills?
porous borders, but borders.
The cocks have been crowing
for an hour
I have been reading Kateb Yacine
on revolution, on the necessary fight
against arabo-islamism (feeling
relieved that he did not
need to see the horrors of the nineties
in his country — that place with the
“tourist” name, “The Islands” — who
would call a country the islands?
But who would call a country simply
the West, when it clearly has all four
directions? And when can I say
that syllable made my day,
my yesterday, reading Zrika
to the last glass at dinner,
the syllable of “ahh”
comes with or from the tea —
the idea, no the aaah that
is invisible link between
mouth & mint,
sugar & green tea,
in a pot shaped, he wrote,
like the country we call
the West.