Aegri Somnia



Aegri Somnia 

Calenture by Jean Lambert-wild
interspersed with excerpts 
from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
and translated into English by Marc Goldberg 


There shall be no more. 
Above all, 
Tied up to life, 
Your cheek laying on your belly, 
You shall be rested. 
Welcome the caress of blows. 
Welcome it. 
Let this mushroom 
Encroach your skin. 
Its perfume is 
What engulfed you. 
There where you stand, 
Your limbs shall be stitched. 
Your rage shackled. 
Your screams 
Shall be the buried vaults 
Of a tidy house. 
And now, 
Strain your ears. 
Strain them. 
This world is waging its ruins. 
It dances 
But believes in dance no more. 
Around itself, 
It spins without rest. 
Ready to pay for the unpayable 
To adorn its boredom. 
Here is 
Its very victory. 
Here is 
The encampment of its grief. 


But We had to walk
And we were moving forwards
While Squads of physalia
Letting Their navy blue tentacles
Float abaft,
Whose opaline

Or blush pink
Azure strake bedecked umbrellas
Sheltered us from sunrays,
And pelagia panopyra
Which In darkness
Would have sprinkled our path
With phosphorescent glimmers,
Were sailing above our heads. 


Aren 't you mistaken? 
Didn 't your muscles betray you? 
What are you doing 
In the midst of this 
Inwards congealed crowd? 
Yo u , 
Whose sun stung 
Questioned the horizon. 
Yo u 
Whose weeds scratched 
Steered your steps towards the heights. 
I recognise you no more. 
I recognise you no more. 
Your whiff is unknown to me. 
You smell of the 
Eager -to-dig pick. 
You smell of the 
Worried-to-open door. 
You stink. 
You stink. 
Yo u 
Whose sun stung 
Questioned the horizon. 
Yo u 
Whose weeds scratched 
Steered your steps towards the heights. 
Resume walking. 
Roam the city. 
Let her hear your scream. 
Leave the crowd, 
Happy with yourself, 
Leave it! 
Rouse yourself from it and fall. 
There lies your force. 
There lies your motion. 


Polyps and echinoderms 
Abounded on the floor. 
Varieties of Isises, 
Cornularia living secludedly, 
Tufts of Oculina virginea, 
Formerly designated 
As “white coral”, 
Mushroom-shaped dishevelled fungia, 
Anemones stuck down by their muscular disc, 
Depicted a flowerbed 
Studded with Porpita enhanced by their ruffs of bleached tentacles, 
Starfishes spangling the sand, 
And Asterophytons verrucosa, 
Fine laces embroidered by the Naiads ' hands, 
Whose garlands were swinging along 
To the frail ripples prompted by our steps. 

And you, relentlessly 
Do you spin and stumble. 
Gestures after strokes, 
The remembrance of your reflection. 
What did you not notice? 
What did you not eat? 
To collect the shrieks of your mouth 
With your feet. 
Ashes slipping away from your mouth. 
Ashes kneaded with your feet. 
This indecency of a time 
Behind which, 
Merry child, 
You dawdle. 
Heal from your rebellions! 
Heal from them! 
Call your father: father 
Call your mother: mother 
Call your brother: brother 
And too bad 
If shame devours your brow. 
You are a child of the cattle. 
You shall remain so 
And shall be trailed around 
With much pomp 
From one house room to the other 
Blessing this flesh-day 
Whereupon an ablation gave you life. 


In this moment, 
The luminous globe which was lighting up the cell 
Went out and left us 
In deep darkness. 
I felt my brains getting imbued 
With a thick drowsiness. 
My eyes, 
Which I wanted to keep open, 
Closed against my will. 
I was subjected 
To a painful hallucination. 
I tried to fight somnolence. 
It was not possible. 
My breathing weakened. 
I felt a dead-freezing cold 
Chill my weighted 
and paralysed-like limbs. 
My eyelids, 
Authentic lead calottes 
Fell upon my eyes. 
A morbid sleep, 
Full of hallucinations, 
Seized my whole being. 
Then, visions waned away, 
And left me into complete annihilation. 


Blessed one! 
Blessed one! 
Your sweat shines and rolls upright. 
It moistens the land. 
It is a brook 
It is a river 
Which flow with a whisper to the sea. 
Drawing from stone to gravel 
From gravel to sand 
The forgotten memory of the living who will die 
Who, all of them amazed, 
Look at you 
Smile and keep quiet 
Look at yourself! 
Crazy about yourself. 
Look at yourself! 
Your house is burnt away. 
Your grounds are sold. 
All of your childhood horned gods 
Have been butchered and eaten. 
What happened? 
What happened? 
My God what happened? 
I was quietly sitting in front of my place. 
What happened? 
Now what happened? 
How on earth did I get here? 
There shall be no more… 


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