Poetry for Cy Twombly


Gaeta. The fire of language. Naming that which has no name. There were all is lost. Is nothing but. Life, apparently. But not exactly still. Ageless landscape. Stateless image. Gorged on the laughter of demigods – and on the slumber of rocks. Old-style flowerings come and go. Peeling away the form to its first form. The sea suffocating under the sound of a united breath. Drowned in a screen of light. Who’s talking about massacres ?


The yellow is in the egg and the eye is open. Gaeta. I invoke your name. Your light. Your earth. Everything that has made me what I am. The days I bathed under the warm sun and drove into your soil the memory of Aeneas suckling his wet nurse’s breast. / ah ! blessed past / Then I fell from the tree. Gathered up by your eyes. Drawn by your lips. Actually : plucked from the branch by the concerns of the poet. Paradise lost. Pure artifice. I don’t know. Is he in love with me or with his own gaze.


Naked. Exposed. Against an unnatural background. The throat slit. Without garden or secret. A poet’s utopia. My yellow armour. The only veil between us. While my shadow delineates out of me another me, sombre. My leaves dry up – out of ideas. My petals wither without wind. That which gave me the name of flower decomposes before your eyes. Sic morieris, that’s how it’s written in books. Flower, if ripen you must, dead, you’ll be fruit.


As if my death were not a realist paintings. As if it concealed another life. A foreign body borne inside me, like a star emerging from the night. That might have been an old painting. To reinvent the memory of a minor Dutch master, enamoured of citrus fruit, and his patient search for the forgotten heart of matter. I envy the false sleep of starfish. Celestial imprint nestled on the ocean’s floor. Nocturnal reflections of an image without end. Dreamer.


The humiliation of losing your femininity ! It leaves a bitter taste, you see. I’m an apple who speaks the truth. A tiny, thick-skinned sun, spicy and scented. My juice will remind you where I’m from. Mutilated and bleeding because of your hands, I bear in me the taste of your voracity. The labour of light is my witness : the fire of language will one day burn your eyes.


language on fire / memorial / let us live of what has been /


(translated from French by Emiliano Battista)