Javant Biarujia

Translations plus Pataphysical Interpretations of some
Petits Poèmes en Prose by Charles Baudelaire

Le Désespoir de la Vieille

The Desperation of the Old Woman

The shrunken old woman felt quite jolly herself when she saw the jolly little child whom everyone was indulging, whom everyone wanted to please; this pretty little thing, so delicate like her, the old woman, and with no teeth and bald like her as well.
               She approached her, making faces and smiling.
               But the child, scared, struggled to avoid the decrepit old woman’s caresses, and filled the house with her howling.
               At this, the old woman withdrew into her shell, eternal, and whimpered to herself in a corner.
               “Ah for us unhappy old females, the age of pleasing has passed. We’re scary even for innocent little children whom we’d love to love!”

Dazed Pears in the V&A

The little city rat-a-tats this centime: Toot, toot! Rejuvenated in travelling, this jolly enfant terrible, a key tool in mind for fair volition this pair/pear, this jolly beach, so Fra Angelico in its Elle, lapping up a tent city and liking it too, so sanctimonious but sanguine.
               Aye, a saprophagous de luxe hell, vol-au-vents Louis IV-style, rillettes and agreeable minces.
               May infantry be long approved, counterfeiting sous (getting laid karezza-style) that has maid/made/Taylor Mead’s day, crackling and chomped in the May zone with naysaying knelling/nelly piss.
               The mad city retains for itself a law in eternal solitude, dieseling, pleurisying a coin:
               “Ah, poor new, malodorous and fetid city, large but passé, innocent memes of pleasant horrors. Oh, please! (As Joan Rivers would have said.) We aim to please.”

Le Confiteor de l’Artiste

The Confiteor of the Artist

How the dying days of Autumn are sharp! Sharp until it’s painful. Vagueness of thought doesn’t affect the intensity of certain delightful sensations — and there’s no point sharper than the Infinite.
               A delight so great you drown in the immensity of sea and sky! Solitude, silence, the incomparable chastity of azure. A small quivering sail on the horizon which, by its smallness and solitariness, takes after my hopeless existence. I think of its billowing sails as a monotonous melody, or, I think of how small and solitary it is (because the ego disappears so quickly in the grandeur of the dream). In turn, they think musically and picturesquely, without argument or syllogism, without any lessening of delight.
               In any case, these thoughts that come from me — or emanate from those other things — soon become too intense. The energy involved in their pleasure creates at once a sickness and a positive suffering. My nerves are shot — they no longer register bad vibrations.
               And now the depth of the sky has me worried — its limpidity exasperates me. The sea’s indifference, the spectacle of its immovability revolt me.… Ah, do we have to suffer for all eternity? Do we always have to flee beauty? Nature, that pitiless enchantress, that rival who always wins, leave me alone! Cease tempting my desires and pride! The study of beauty is a duel where the artist cries out in terror before being defeated.

Money for Jam

Key journals do find that tombs have been robbed! Ah, daylight robbery! They sing a new sensation (INXS — not the IRA), they don’t wave but drown in the intensity, so there’s no point in lancing linguistical pleasures.
               Grand Central is drowning in the music of Dire Straits — solitude, silence, the incredible pursuit of money, to be sure! A little soul music on the green, and by which mondagreens and insoles imitate my left luggage, which I don’t seem to be able to redeem. Those dire straights do drone on, tongue-twisting Seychelles-say-shoes, poncing about, mwah, mwah! Hmm, they can mwah, mwah themselves! (Cars glide by the grandeur of the station, drowning out all those mwah, mwahs anyway.) By the way, hell has no fury like a deejay, but in the pit of the orchestra, the music sounds like Laocoön playing. I know it sounds silly, but they’re sounding out his expense account.
               Cars toot in the forest, pansies claim. What sort of mwah, mwah! do you think I give? Divine, good-looking toes, these intense trotters of yours. Lay on a voluptuous orgy, cray pots in Malaysia and a right-wing soufflé. A Creole Dow-Jones keeping up, my namby-pamby betrothed tends to don plus-fours when entertaining.
               Maintaining this dulciana constipates me, its lameness makes for a fine product of sibilancy. How revolting…! So, do we really have to taste the sour grapes? Is des Esseintes on your team? Leave me alone, Huysmans! You can ponce about all you like, your desires and organs! Eddie Van Halen bows before a double act, clearly a victor ludorum.


The Stranger

“Say, enigma, who do you love the best, your father or mother, or your sister or brother?”
               “I have neither father nor mother, sister nor brother.”
               “Your friends?”
               “You’ve used a word whose meaning to this day is unknown to me.”
               “Your country?”
               “I don’t know what latitude it sits on.”
               “I would have gladly loved her, goddess and immortal.”
               “I hate it as you hate God.”
               “Um, what do you love, then, extraordinary stranger?”
               “I love the clouds, scudding clouds, down over there … down over there, those marvellous clouds!”

The Stranglers

“What key is that, enigmatic om — indeed, I’m tone deaf. Is the whistle of a freight train in E major?
               “E major, shmee major! The sewers are knee-deep in Genet’s scatalogical fantasies.”
               “Well, taser me dead!”
               “Vuvuzelas doom parole in the stands. Don’t listen or they may arrest you as soon as a con artist.”
               “How about a paraffle?”
               “Jigs or a saraband gnaw at the Book of Kells which Ellie May may cite.”
               “ ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’?”
               “Jesus-and-Daisy-chain and Morticia.”
               “‘The Addams Family’?”
               “Have you noticed that ‘tone’ is ‘note’ backwards? They say there are secret messages if you play records backwards.”
               “Ah! You did a tap-dance, too, Doc, to the strains of The Stranglers; or was it the Boston Pops, or Iggy Pop?”
               “I’m just jamming with the best of them. Just a nuage, thanks. — Over here! Over here! The Stranglers are marvellous!”

Un Plaisant


The New Year came in with a bang: a chaotic mix of mud and snow crisscrossed by thousands of carriages, gleaming with wrappers from sweets and wrapping-paper from toys, and teeming with feelings of greed and hopelessness — a big city’s public delirium which would excite the brain of even the strongest individual.
               A donkey came trotting by in the midst of this chaos and drama, tormented by its rider, an uncouth fellow with a whip.
               As the donkey was about to turn onto a footpath, a gloved gentleman, polished, wearing a tie that was all but strangling him and imprisoned in impossibly new clothes, leaned ceremoniously over this humble beast and said as he raised his hat:
               “Happy New Year!” He then turned back toward I know not what friends with an air of smugness about him, as if asking for their approval.
               The donkey didn’t see this pleasantry but continued dutifully to gallop toward its goal.
               I suddenly found myself in an incommensurate rage against this wondrous buffoon, who seemed to embody for me the whole of French spirit.


They say video killed the radio star — “Get Smart’s” debut of Kaos and 99, travertine and diamond crosses, dancing a gavotte in the hay, a lot of jhoojhing among the good, grilling the crudités and the other hors d’œuvres, delirious officials due at Grand Central paying the servery a fee-for-trouble while playing solitaire.
               Oh, a thousand places set, tofu for vegetarians, an angel with trotters called Heurtebise vied mentally for whipped cream, sick of the truth and armed with a spatula.
               As Heurtebise the angel was about to mwah, mwah his admirers, a botoxed beau in a bow tie bowed, riding on a sleigh, ceremoniously sinking his teeth into his Sunday best and saying while opening his bank account:
               “Sweat, blood and tears got me this!” Then he ceremoniously wormed his way back to Kaos, “Kamerad! No torture?” (said in a fake German accent).
               The vegetarians didn’t notice this as they devoured the tofu.
               A pure Maurist approach, I thought, if not Megæra herself in a fontange.

("The Stranger" first appeared in an earlier issue of Otoliths.)

Javant Biarujia is the author of eight books, nine chapbooks and two plays. His work has appeared here and abroad over many years. His latest book is Spelter to Pewter (Cordite Books, 2016). He is currently at work on a dictionary of his private language, Taneraic.
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