Posts Tagged ‘English’

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Sitting on a bench, looking at the sky

22 juin 2011
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It’s been such a long forth week… You sit on the bench, too tired to go on, your body resting on the cold green wood, you close your eyes long enough to relax and at last you breathe. You are lost where you should be, it’s taken so long – your whole life – that a few more minutes or days even won’t matter.

It is all right

Maybe you’re going to stay there for a little while, in this foreign silent street you never knew existed. Just for a little while, just long enough to look up at the sky and dream with the clouds. When you were little, you thought they were made with sugar and that living there would be so exciting. To look down on the world, to travel from North to South as carefree as the wind…

The sky today is beautiful; maybe you could lie down and truly look at it. T'is the middle of the day and the street is empty, no one would see you – a man as old as you looking up at nothing, how silly. It is achingly whole and refuses to choose between the deep blue partly hiding behind white growing clouds. Far from spreading darkness, they are infusing light throughout and it is an odd breathtaking sight. And yet you breathe and it is your heart that’s requiring repairs.

For years your heart bled for a train you never took, everyday for eleven months you didn’t take that train, over and over, and when you looked back you had regrets and realized this was worse than feeling remorse.

One day, who knows why, you did stop overthinking and followed your instincts, but it was too late. Her patience had worn thin, she was gone. There was no one waiting for you at the end of your journey. Perhaps she didn’t love you enough, you thought bitterly, but you knew you were wrong.

Since then, never again, you forgot to be afraid and you lived. You took risks and you won, you travelled from North to South as carefree as the wind, you never looked back and nevermore had regrets, and even forgot about remorse. Of course what you built lacked stability, how could you on thin air, and what was the point. There was an eventual wife, children, women on the side, some thriving business ventures you sold when you grew restless as you always do.

Until two weeks ago and an envelope in the mail.

It looked as all mail does, uninteresting, and yet after reading it you didn’t know whether to feel drowned or saved. You learned of this street you never knew existed, you learned of silent words that had never reached you. There is hope you think, decisions to be made. You have a few days before you, enough time to think, to take the time. You probably already have the answers – for when did you not?

You look at the sky again… The wind is changing.

At last you get up and you walk away: you will come back tomorrow.

Maybe.

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Slow Down my Beating Heart – texte bilingue français-anglais (!blonde au volant)

7 mai 2011

 

Aujourdhui une blonde derrière un volant et un texte écrit simultanément en français et en anglais.

Today, a blond chick behind the weel and a story written simultaneously in English and in French (the spellcheck imploded)

Bonne lecture ! / Enjoy ! J 

 


La voiture ne lui appartient pas. Elle est basse, si rapide, elle colle presque à la route.

 La musique vibre ses tympans, U2 tourne autour delle dans cet engin de cuir et métal qui vole presque sous ses doigts crispés sur le volant.

La vitesse, elle aime ça.

Il ne reste plus de mot pour les émotions qui étaient si présentes en elle il y a à peine un instant : elle est immergée dans le présent. Comment elle a eu ces clés na pas dimportance, ou du moins elle  tente de sen persuader.

La voiture ne lui appartient pas et elle sen sert et elle se sent en vie, elle est plus quelle-même, elle est devenue lengin, elle a déployé ses ailes sur lautoroute et est prête  pour tout, pour ce que vous voudrez.

La voiture ne lui appartient pas. Pourtant, pour une raison quelle nexplique pas, elle est devenue sienne, quoiquelle ne soit pas de nature voleuse, elle sy est installée, les clés en main, elle a caressé le cuir des sièges, senti lodeur laissée par loccupant précédent. Un parfum intriguant et étrange imprégnant encore lintérieur du véhicule.

Pourtant, malgré l’étrangeté de la situation, tout était bien.

Ivre de sensation, elle sest enfuie sur les routes. Elle ne se souvient pas de ce quelle fuie, elle ignore vers quoi elle va. Rester immobile n’était plus possible.

Cette voiture est incroyable  Cette voiture, cest elle, elle ne veut plus en sortir, jamais, elle ne veut pas la rendre, elle ne veut pas se souvenir quelle nen est pas la propriétaire. Parce qui sait, vous savez, peut-être quelle pourrait le devenir.

Peut-être. Lespoir fait vivre.

En attendant, Elle conduit de plus en plus vite alors que la musique enfle et que le monde sestompe.

Du doigt, elle pousse un bouton qui libère le ciel. Le vent sengouffre dans ses cheveux blonds, un sourire illumine son visage. Ceci, tout le reste, tout ira bien.

La voiture ne lui appartient pas. Le monde ralenti alors quelle accélère, bras tendus sur le volant, pédale au pied, elle accélère sur une ligne droite, sur la route vide et large et immense et pourtant étroite, encore quelques notes, Bono au micro et the Edge à la guitare Elle aimerait senvoler réellement, tendre corps et âme vers le ciel et sy fondre. 

Elle ferme les yeux.

The car isnt hers. Its low on the ground, and oh so fast.

 Music vibrates within her ears, U2 twirls around her in this machine made of leather and metal. Its almost flying under her fingers clenched on the weel.

Speed She likes that.

There are no words left for the feelings that were so much alive right before : as of now shes lost in the moment.

How she got the keys its not important, or at least she wants to think so.

The car isnt hers and shes using it and shes alive, shes more than herself, shes become the machine, shes spread her wings in the highway, shes ready for anything, whatever you want.

The car isnt hers. Yet it became hers for a reason she cant explain, althought shes not a thief by heart she settled inside, keys in her hands, her fingers caressed the leather seats, she smelled the perfume left by the previous occupant, a strange intriguing fragrance still lingering within the vehicule.

Yet, withstanding the foreigness of things, she was home.

Drunk on sensations, she flew away on the roads. She cant remember what shes running from, she doesnt know what shes driving towards. Standing still wasnt an option anymore.

This car is amazing This car is her, she doesnt want to get out, ever, she doesnt to give it back, she doesnt want to remember that it isnt her.

Because, who knows, perhaps it could, you know, become hers.

Maybe. We all live in hope. (whatever works J)

In the meantime, shes driving faster and faster as the music goes louder and as the world blurs.

By a push on a button, her fingers free the sky above her head. Wind engulfs in her blond hair, a smile lights up her face. This, everything, its all going to be OK.

The car isnt hers. The world slows down as she goes faster, arms straight on the weel, foot on the pedal, she goes faster on a straight line, on the empty and large and immense and nevertheless narrow road ; there are only a few notes left, Bono on the mike and The Edge on the guitar… She wishes she could fly for real and merge with the sky, soul and body.

She closes her eyes.

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Old Love Letter

28 avril 2011
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January 12th, 1917
 
My beloved,

I walked along the shores this morning with your letter in my hand, as a new day’s light shyly spread over the sleeping sea.

A new day without you yet again.

I didn’t want to be reminded of your absence, of the past and the awaiting solitary hours : it doesn't matter anymore. Your "dead status" was officially cancelled yesterday, with the arrival of both your letter and an announcement from the Army.
I watched the boats floating still, I looked for the non existent wind. My bare feet on the fresh grass, my eyes on the water, grey as the sky and so quiet, like a dormant dream. I held my happiness silently against my heart… There are so many women who are waiting to know, and so many more who cry, confronted with the harsh certainty that their son, their brother, their husband won't come back. 
I was so afraid that perhaps I was wrong in thinking that you would. 
I waited. Here in France, in your country. They said so much blood was shed that the soil turned red, somewhere called Verdun, and that you had very probably died there too. I looked at the map to see where it was. That you could be gone was simply impossible… it felt untrue but none of the locals here would believe a stranger’s heart. They almost sent me home, and they would have, had travelling not been so difficult!
With you gone, there was nothing for me left in the village they thought, for I was nothing but the promise of a wife, of a life with you, for you. I am twice a foreigner here, once for not being born within half a day’s walking distance, and twice for not being French. And yet I am a cousin too, the Irish blood in my vein speaks to their heart and memories.
Your words were faintly written but nonetheless strong and filled with such love and hopes, and pain and sadness too. I fear this war has aged you beyond what I could expect… Yet I trust that you will still be the man that left – that the soulmate I love so dearly will be the same underneath the scars. I cried for the agony you had to endure, for the pain that must be yours still and the mutilation this ongoing war inflicted on your body. But the tears on my face were also of relief: you are alive, you will soon be close to me again.

Yes, today I did not want to be reminded of your absence, even though I’ll count the days. I simply wanted to follow our walks by the sea and bathe in the thought that soon you will be home. You may not be whole again, I cannot imagine what it is to be without a limb, but we will walk slowly my love, you and I, together.

 

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Noreen’s poem of Hopelessness

17 mars 2011

Hopelessness  
 

Hope is a thing there's less and less of

As the rude world falls apart

But a blue tit built a nest to sing

It was Spring in his birdy heart

And the poet wrote another note

Of hope that springs in human breast *

Have I lost my humanity

Or am I just weary?

Weary like Rutebeuf,

Whose friends were few and scattered far

Maybe a bird would be hopeless if it hopped less

Should I change my step, some other thing?

My hair, my face, maybe my car,

Or, be like birdie and learn to sing? 

Noreen V 
 * “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” Alexander Pope

Noreen and I have been sharing our love for words for the past eleven years (we were teenagers then, obviously ;) ). It's been my privilege and honor to have read her and to have been read by her through the years. This poem comes from an assignment half jokingly given to her in the comments of this post, and she was kind enough not only to oblige but to also let me share it with you.

I hope you enjoyed it. 

Thanks Noreen! 

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And then I remembered to run for the rain

11 mars 2011
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Oh Brother

26 février 2011

Her brother always seemed to get away with everything he did and she both envied and hated him for that. He had the guts and the arrogance to do as he pleased and never seemed to give second thoughts about consequences nor gossip.

Of course, someone had to walk behind him and clean up the pieces. Life is about balance she thought… He had no boundaries and therefore she lived surrounded by walls of duty. She took care of their parents as they declined in age, she kept their house cleaned and livable. She eased things up with ex-girlfriends and bartenders and even went as far as to pay his tabs once or twice. 

Yes, when her brother moved away from Oldbrooks to cold and wet Perth in Scotland, she had felt relieved. 

For seven years, her life fell into a well oiled routine, between her part-time job working for the public library, her parents in their lovely house with a garden and a spruce, and Olbrooks’ Ladies’ Bookclub. She had been courted once or twice in the past by the doctor’s son and by the Pastor. The son followed his father’s step. He became a doctor and grew both a moustache and a beer stomach. The Pastor married Jane who was blond and carefree and younger, with light grey eyes and lips like pink rosebuds. 

The idea of love appealed to her, but her heart never fluttered. At 34 she didn’t think she had it in her to make any man happy, and even less for her to be happy.

When their mother died, her brother barely made it to the funeral and seemed nonplussed. He’d « made it good » over there in Perth, and was planning on marrying a widow of some sort. He kept his visit short, which was fine by her as it meant less time fearing whatever mishap he was bound to make. It there’d been any she never heard. He stayed out mostly, looking sombre and mysterious, and she didn’t pay much attention to rumours about poker games and money he may have owed.

After he was gone, she reflected that not once had he asked if there was anything she and her father needed.

A few years went by, news from him became scarce. He appeared to succeed in marrying his widow but the marriage didn’t last long. She had no idea how he earned his living. Some letters addressed to their father sometimes pleaded for money. He would sigh, then shrug, then write a check swearing it was the last time.

Now her brother was coming back, arrogant as ever, and she was waiting for him with a vengeance. He’d written with instructions about how he saw fit to « handle » things and the succession… About him being « the Man » now… But she was well prepared and ready, she had her little secret boiling in her heart and making it beat slightly faster and a mite too hard. 

Their father had finally given his last breath, poor soul, after months of agony during which she’d stayed at his bedside, fed him like a baby and cleaned his sheets. Some friendly souls from the parish came to look after him so she could keep on working. Their father left them with a good house thanks to her, and a very lovely bank account. She knew all about this, she’d kept his books and made good choices with the investments. She also knew what she wanted to do with some of the money. She wanted to go on a cruise and have the kitchen repainted. The house would feel more like it was hers, and after all these bitter years dedicated to others, she felt she’s earned it all right.

Her brother was coming back, tonight. He would be welcomed with the Irish stew he’s requested, but with a twist. She had finally given in to the Doctor’s son’s attentions, with a few conditions well spelled out. It wasn’t so bad after all, sleeping with a man, she could get used to it. She could get used to being courted on a regular basis and to being his mistress, marriage was out of the question now, she was going to have a little house and sharing was out of the question. 

She put her hand in her pocket and took a vial out. A few drops, that was all that was needed.

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Valentine Sisters ((tag :thankyou))

14 février 2011

Yes love is about the 365 days of the year. 

Everyday, every second. 

Today is for you : today is for my tribe of good girlfriends out there who listen when I need a sympathetic ear, who shed their tears on my shoulder when they need comfort, who share drinks and sillyness and laughter.

I love you because of everything you are, because of the joy you are in my life.

I love every moment, every second, with you or apart, things are more tasty, music more vibrant, life is more beautiful because you are… There… Somewhere…

You are happy, sad, in good health, sick, hopeful or hopeless, but always you shine.

You are in France, you are in the Netherland, you are in the USA, in Greece, Italy, you are all over the world, time is not always our ally, some phone calls in bed are with you going to sleep and I waking up. You are next to me, on twitter, facebook, on the phone, via regular or digital mail, we toast in pubs or via chats… 

Hey you sisters, I love you.

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White (translation)

30 novembre 2010

Blanc

 

 

My memories of you are in black and white. You’re sitting inside a french window’s frame, your feet against your thighs and your hands around your knees, on which you rest your head. Your back is propped up against the white wooden frame, you stay thus, patiently, while your mother and your sisters take out, unfold, dust and puff your immaculate dress and veil.

Your skin glows from two months in the south of France, your dark hair is tied wildly in a knot in your back and your eyes (green), can’t but laugh at all this fuss. You stay without moving, you let them do what they need to do. You know that today isn’t your day but theirs.

You, well, your happiness is elsewhere, in chestnut eyes in which sparkles got lost somehow. You never needed the symbols, your rules were clearly established, it’s crazy how much the two of you already talked then. Our eyes went from our silent couples to yours and we could not understand where this river of words came from. We knew that, every day, you would share every insignificant details of the moments lived in the absence of the other, and we found this strange, childish and even ridiculous (we didn’t have a clue).

All this white… It made you nervous. A white meaningless to you, you’d lived with the man who was to wait for you at the town-hall and then the church for two years, you would have preferred colors, something lively and joyful that could withstand stains and dust, Celtic music in the church and a party under a circus tent with juggling clowns and sea lions spitting fire. You would have wanted your day to start slowly with the languor of an XIXth century waltz, the which would have turned faster and faster with time and left your guest breathless and dropping on a bench to drink their champagne glass straight up before getting to know the cute girl next to them.

You’d have like that, that your guests leave with sparkles in their heart, a je-ne-sais-quoi filled with whimsical audacity.

But and very quickly, you let go. You gave this day to your family knowing very well that the rest of your life together was yours to own. 

I have other images of you with a lot of white and little black, just enough to create a contrast and let the light stand out on your face, in your smile and gestures. You standing in the middle of your room, arms apart while your mother dresses you, you eyes closed and your head turned towards the window and your older sister who applies your make up. You in the stairs as you’re going down with precautions,  you laughing so heartily as you discover the mule your husband to be graciously provided for your transport (your father substituted a collection car to it), you getting out of the car as the engine was still running in your hurry to make it quicker to the town-hall, almost closing the door on your dress… You’d rolled it’s train in a bundle under your arm while you ran.

From all these images, from this day, one stands out that I chose to keep. We can’t see your face, we wouldn’t recognize you – nor would we recognize your husband. We see you kneeling by the side of your beloved, white on black, light on dark. I remember your faces bent and harmonious. And a veil with white lace, coming from your hair and resting very elegantly on your armchair thanks to your mother (again). This picture was taken by someone else than I and I find it special and peaceful. What you gave us on that day was just a symbol but it was precious, you gave us the possibility to rejoice with you and share a piece of your happiness. You both were like this veil, present and invisible, exposed to our scrutiny yet protecting your shared secrets, your details, your still daily banter and words.

 

The French version of this text originated quite a discussion on facebook with both French and English speakers who made the effort to use google trad (heh!). Thus this translation for the « lost » passages. Thanks for your feed back and ideas and questions. Your interest in my work help me so much on unmotivated and grey days…

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Fire in the Sky

27 novembre 2010

The sky is on fire. Its flames extend beyond clouds and buildings and hits your face which you've instinctly turned towards the window. All this gold on your dark skin and curls, it is beautiful. 

Your eyes closed, your wobbly head resting on the train's door, a quiet smile on your face tilted towards the dying sun, I sit next to you on a folding seat and I envy your peace. 

We cross path often, you and I, we take the same train from Paris to the Eastern suburbs. It is usually late in the day… as the winter crawls upon us, we feel heavier and spent by the time we commute back to our respective towns. We don't always chit-chat, there are days, like today, when we let each other rest in her thoughts and from her day. 

I know that you're a dentist, that you have two twin boys, I know that your days are long, from the time you get up to get them ready for school to the moment when you can rest your feet, you only have so few but precious hours of sleep. I've never heard of any man in your life, I've never asked but from your sad smile I guessed there were some disappointment and tears. 

You always look prim and proper and neat. You have to, you explained once, your clients are already stressed enough as they are. "If I dress as I usually do during the weekend, they'd never let me touch their teeth!". And then you laughted with warmth and amusement and it was as if a new flower had bloomed on the train. 

"This light burning the sky outside, it is so heart wrenchingly superb" you utter suddenly. "You should take a picture". You've learned by now that my twitching hands constantly snap shots of the most useless and sometimes the most amazing things. You open an eye and let out a laugh, for, of course, I have already taken a good dozen pictures with my phone. You take yours out and shoot me. Snap!

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The spring in your steps

4 novembre 2010

Sometime, you think you've reached the end. The end of the road, the end of your will. You don't understand how you go on but you do, because there is no other way, because you won't know of different paths than your own. Because the unthinkable does not exist in your world and values, and so there it is, there is no solution but to walk forward in the darkness.

After all, it is your own road on which you walk through life, or rather, you belong to it, you've lost yourself in its hills, somewhere along the way, bend after bend, obstacle after another, you've shed bits of yourself and can't remember being something else than what you are today. There's been happy moments, shiny memories filled with carefree joy and light, and maybe that's where your energy comes from nowadays.

Most days you feel grey and unseen and unimportant. You're the tallest girl I know, and also the thinnest, yet you feel petite and obese. You're trapped in your life, you're trapped in your body, in your unfulfilling job, in the unseen pain of the everyday details and futilities. 

Every detail is so important and failed. 

You feel invisible, like, no one sees you, no one really needs you even though you're indispensable and so demanded upon that you never seem to have time for yourself. You manage a team of eight in a marketing firm and you can't remember having time on your own, just you and the silence and the wind in the leafs. You'd walk down the river and lie on the grass under an old tree, and you'd watch the sky and the sun through the branches, and you'd listen and be heard. 

How horrifying… To be alone with yourself once more and face the truth of what you think you've become. You've put the bar so high for yourself that you're bound to fail.

Sometime though, you forget that you hate your life and yourself and the choices you've made. You had reasons for them, they were probably sound ones but now that you look back everything seems wrong. Yes, somedays you let go of what you think you should be, your soul takes a break and puts its personal cross aside. For a while your body relaxes, your face becomes appeased and the shadow of a smile that I've sadly become used to gives light to a true laugh. You tilt your head gracefully, (unbeknownst to yourself you are a truly graceful and beautiful person…), your eyes look upon the world with happiness for a short while. It is not easy for you, to be happy, to be carefree.

I see you. From afar I close my eyes and I see your chestnut hair, your grey eyes that always reminded me of a painting of the ocean. There are storms and stories behind your eyes, unspoken tales that even I don't know.

You could never be invisible to me, I could never not need you in my life. And I could never ask anything of you other than what you would want to give me. It's like that. We met in the crib, our mothers had the same nanny, we went to the same schools, the same library and bell-ringing club, we fought over opinions and candy and sometimes dated the same boys. We helped each other with acne cream, college choices, husband decisions and anti-wrinkle cream shopping. You're my kin. I saw you grow up and make choices, I gave you my opinion and sometimes we fought and I gave up, but even I can't quite say when the corners of your mouth took a sad turn.

Strangely enough, I've seen a new spring in your step lately. Something that looks a lot like hope and will. The determination to be who you are and nothing else, as if you were in your car and turned left instead of going on the same old boring road. Your path seems rockier and harder, and yet new and exciting and scary and perhaps fulfilling. 

I think it's called being yourself again. 

You could never be careless but you seem carefree, or at least carefully free… I can't put my finger on it, and it doesn't matter. I think I can trust you to make your own path, I'll worry for sure, I'll wake you up in the middle of the night and ask you silly questions, and, well, maybe next Saturday we could go to the pub and get drunk like old times, and you'll tell me the story behind this new smile haunting your lips.