Nomadics

Meanderings & mawqifs of poetry, poetics, translations y mas. Travelogue too.

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Tengour: Ordeal by Bow

October 8th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Maghrebi Literature, Prose, Translation


In its latest issue EOAGH published

from: Ordeal by Bow, by Habib Tengour (translated by Pierre Joris 
 (…) We’d wall ourselves into these beer halls — the Ya -Sin Brewery, the Peepers, Chez Abu Nuwas, the Four Arts — close by the 

below, an extract; for the full text go here:

 

(…)

We’d wall ourselves into these beer halls — the Ya-Sin Brewery, the Peepers, Chez Abu Nuwas, the Four Arts — close by the university, or into the Eighth Wonder, a passable dive where the kemia were varied, not far from the National Library, very late after legal closing hours. Every evening the same evening…

The curtain drawn on an acrid intimacy: a sort of accord of accolades, breathless kisses and repeated slaps on the belly, hahaha, and more cuddling and embracing, and on top of that, affable arguments. A vigorous joviality was the sign that we liked each other well and that life was good all said and done… Intemperate boars. We were lazily wasting away among the sour smells of alcohol and urine, the stench of vomit, the room’s tobacco saturated atmosphere, the foggy brouhaha… Intoxicated tremolos.

It was enjoyable disgust, ongoing, in spirals…

The head foundered, full, it reeled in technicolor, it emerged with one detail blown up, bizarrely questioning, and it would then disappear, soothed, up the gurgling gut. The eyes would fill with tears, hot tears voluptuously coiling up. It was a liberation into an ephemeral flowering in the suave mist: it made rainbows capping the city like at the lion’s wedding.

Fringed silk scarfs.

… The wall paintings — still lives, imaginary flora, hunting tableaus, portraits of enticing women, polished allegories, scenes from a mauresque Paris, hodgepotch of fishermen’s stuff, tattoos, etcetera — screamed their idiotic naiveness, pretentiously claiming to brazenly manage an artistic ideal gathered from some magazine. Certainly these paintings were inspired, given that the artist was paid with free drinks; still, they remained conceptually mediocre. They did not manage to translate for the spectator that exalting thirst of the privileged moment that saw them being born. Demented daubs.

And yet they forced our gaze into a contemplation as absurd as it was rich in harsh, unpredictable emotions. The dreaming eye always disconcerted, even though dozing. These paintings were signed and dedicated to a favorite mistress: Aïcha, Georgette, to the loving and Unique mother — majestic Piéta — or to time’s rigorous treason. Ogre Cronos dreams of crocs.

Depths, long and large, ah! Time! Time! Always!

 

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