Document 34: Les Revues

The following is Martin Richet’s translation of “Magazines,” the first prose poem in Opera—Works (1975); it appears in the first issue of his handsomely produced translation journal Jongler (ordering information below). It does not address the question of whiteness, which has been preoccupying us, but does address feeling states around the possibility of being a poet.

Les Revues

Tu es dans un bâtiment puis à l’extérieur. À seize kilomètres de là, tu le visualises à peine — tu vois le sol depuis le ciel au ralenti. En même temps tu sens l’hélicoptère qui s’enfonce dans la rue. L’avion fend un nuage.

Le simultané comme attribut du non ressenti. Le littéral comme attribut du ressenti. Un simple intérêt littéral pour la diversité du monde et les implications des choses.

Un abonnement à une revue que l’on considère vaguement divertissante et complètement dispensable. Un carnet de correspondance — une bénédiction — un baiser mérité. L’horticulture variégée vue à la lumière ambiante. Les petites boîtes de plantes, les pots en céramique, les tiges vertes coupées, des tâches simples.

La gestion compliquée des tâches simples. Tu t’abonnes à une revue, la revue arrive, tu y jettes un oeil et tu t’inquiètes.

Les revues, c’est possible ?

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Magazines

You’re inside a building then outside it. Then ten miles away, and can barely visualize it — seeing the ground from the air in slow motion. At the same time you feel the helicopter sink into the street. The jet slips through a cloud.

The simultaneous as an attribute of the not felt. The literal as an attribute of the felt. A straightforward literal worldly interest in the variety and implications of things.

A subscription to a magazine held as lightly entertaining and wholly dispensable. A report card — a blessing — an earned kiss. The variegated horticulture seen through the ambient light. The little boxes of plants, ceramic pots, cut green stems, simple duties.

Complicated management of simple duties. You buy a subscription to a magazine, the magazine comes and you look at it, worry it out.

Magazines, it’s possible?

From Barrett Watten, Opera—Works (Bolinas, Calif.: Big Sky, 1975), 28; reprinted, with added title, in Frame (1971–1990) (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1997), 298; copyright (c) Barrett Watten, 1975, 1997, 2015; translation copyright (c) Barrett Watten and Martin Richet 2015. Order through Paypal: jacataqua.bulletin@gmail.com, or by check to Martin Richet, 15 rue Monge, 75005 Paris, France.

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