Podolski trans. Legault

Podolski trans. Legault
Sophie Podolski  translated by  Paul Legault
from “The country where everything is permitted”

We have the Sun by its mane. The firefighters have
written of everything in signs and still the fire-alarms are
sounding. A Letter to The World(s): you are all whores -
where there is good, you break it down until all that was
good is now whores – because this planet is an
incomprehensible whore-planet with nothing in it worth
comprehending. – She is a succubus. – She is the (third-
world) suicide of modern Philosophy (which she never
studied) – why debate the true-or-false-ness of this
demon-woman-hybrid – when all thought is the
awareness that she wants nothing to do with our human
organism and its every function – Doubt is a hysteria that
relieves the frustration of those who have undertaken to
make her up – You are not sages – you are spacemen -
see you later, then – the weed’s in the drawer – do you
really think you can handle what will happen next -
really, on this planet you’re barely on? – someone’s
demanded the total postponement of the mailmen’s
acidic routines – someone’s demanded all these
frightening grotesques be placed into a slow
bureaucracy until we learn through perseverance how to
ban all failures of expression – Behold her, she wants
you to take her Moos literally – Let’s go back to the times
of the steam-trains and the telegraph wires when you
could lose weight as easy as smoke lifts from a railroad
baroness – from page 50 of Dynamo 13: When someone
passes through pleasure, as through a room, he passes
between doubt and certainty – Pleasure is a plastic thing,
is placed in acid – it is what lasts the desire for it. Thus,
we, the Good and the Just, control our own separate
badnesses for the possibility of living without pain – Shed
the red strings of despair – The whale-bones in the
corset collapse at the feet of the endlessly weeping-
willows – the answering machine announces the undoing
of its animal-life – at this, the ham begins to dance again
- the nomadic houseboat rots in the harbor – the caravel
you keep in your lil’ Susie suitcase will never again run
its feet over saltwater – In the Kasba Noissette you strut
around with your nappy hair like one of those Pakistani
widows, sometimes wearing burgundy, sometimes
bustling around like a vacuum cleaner untying knots -
your boys wrestle over the last of the heroin – one falls
asleep in the hallway – in the lobby – in the lab – so he
can get injected with whatever it is that will let him take
off his face, finally – to abandon the mask and enter
tranquility as into sudden applause – the way one
unlaces a boot – They keep my mask in the ice-cube
compartment – in the fridge – for your dinner – Zap-ada! -
Someone must govern the foldaway beds of the
pedophiles – with their hands and asses out on full
display – O, Gallery of the Queen! – Crankily, the little
gentleman barges through – the unkempt bush of the
labiate-badlands – into the thick velvet. – The viola’s
small thighs, – slotted mandatorily under his arms, -
attend his final monument – He is their musician – he
plays “Love or Confusion” by Jimi Hendrix – And
suddenly his instrument is transformed into something
half-bicycle/half-machine-gun – Within the institution of
marriage and animal husbandry everyone sidles up to
the white enamel bar – and with a little help from the
bartender, the girls loosen up enough to waddle off
deeper into the cave to lie down in the hay – like dogs to
lick themselves thirsty – it’s not entirely the opposite of
disagreeable – Mr. Stationmasterrrrrrr – I am the phantom
ghost – I follow the sun because it is leading me to that
paradise – that is my fist – raining down on your little-
doll’s-tea-parties, you dear, you sweet little cabbages -
Meanwhile us admirals are strophe-ing ourselves -
sometimes the cream-cupboard darlings call out: help -
hup – TAXI! – Your luggage rotted – you can never
associate with the malt-shop-Suzies – you, with your
constantly shaven head – I will stand with you in the
shade of a fern, slowly rising into time, and lead our own
two selves, humble and certain, from scrutiny – But it
must be that I am constantly myself and chaos – and am
myself in every remnant of myself – albeit a traumatized
version of myself – on the coast, meeting some future
twin or ghost of myself – You want to take the subway – I
want to buy an ice cream cone – HA! – we are,
essentially, milksmiths – we love our beaten path and if
the sheepdog is crazy, there’s nothing we can do about
it – but graft our pleasure to this EXIT – You can’t take
the boys with you – the amateur sailors you keep on
balconies and on terraces to make it with at your
convenience – who you haven’t granted permission – to
overflow from their ashtrays – to inject themselves with
death – to sever – all that’s you from them – They’re
planning to steal your patio furniture – after putting away
all the leather accessories you keep them in – even their
adorable singlets – because the only life is a life of love -
Destroy – yours, theirs, and the others’ bright academy -
it isn’t necessary – to drink pure lemonade, with two ice
cubes, at all times, endlessly smoking menthols – Quit
your, their, and the others’ constant bitching – it isn’t
necessary – in your parents’ basements, where you hide
away, honing your pinball-skills – two lips and two shiny,
plasticized filets – like your grannies’ gigantic clits – the
cat with its hair standing on end —- like a cumbersome
anxiety – you don’t smoke the joint with me – I am here -
I am there – not here – the wet figs eat themselves – they
eat the other figs, the dates – the cherries – as thieves
tug at the policemen’s sausage – The cops stand around,
mutely eating horse-meat – they never speak – of their
own mythology – but pass into it like the legend of the
hidden airplanes – flying on a train somewhere -
preferring the rhythm of the tracks, passing under – you
wish a Happy Anniversary to the Israeli War – MAO is
becoming younger, bowed at the feet of his great AGE -
China advances – say it – the color-television hen agrees,
in Italian – sometimes mumbling in French or in English -
how at all times they will never love the men they are
saying they love here – the suns’ pin knows that when
the moon fills its basket that the other side of the basket
will be empty – speed’s superb and grandiose
demonettes – are their translucent green – and a trance -
and LUCID – and the winking green eyes’ confessions -
and I am persuaded by – the crisis of phosphorescence -
the 9 black arts of language will turn the palm trees in on
themselves – like conches turned to music – the same
palms feed the air – their exotic makings – each fruit the
color of television – each color for the color blind – a
constant green – little changes in the blue range – and
the red range – a little acid in the orange’s fluorescent -
something’s turning it yellow


Sophie Podolski was a Belgian poet and graphic artist. She published only one book during her short lifetime, Le pays où tout est permis (The Country Where Everything Is Permitted), in which the poems were reproduced in her own artistic handwriting. Podolski studied graphic design at the Académie de Boitsfort and was associated with the artistic community at Montfaucon Research Center. She suffered from schizophrenia and spent time in psychiatric clinics in Paris and Brussels. She attempted suicide in Brussels at the age of twenty-one and died ten days later as a result.

Paul Legault is the author of The Madeleine Poems (Omnidawn, 2010) and The Other Poems (Fence, 2011). He co-edits the translation press Telephone Books and works at the Academy of American Poets.



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