« We all agree, gold never expires right? »
Traduction : Livia
While I was trying to find 50000 euros to pay all the talents I hit upon for the kiosque, I felt the need to contact a guy who ruined my Étonnants Voyageurs festival in Saint-Malo by doing a reading way too shattering of a poem way too shattering. Just before JMG Le Clézio’s intervention.
As it was for really good reasons (you can go check on there: http://etonnants-voyageurs.com/spip.php?article23499), I decided to thank him rather than telling him to go to hell and offer him the reading of the text The Mustagim project as an answer. Then I suggested that he joined the kiosque.
I didn’t know much about him but as Facebook indicated me that Hassan Yassin Saad was from Saint-Brieuc and as I didn’t know yet about the train prices between Rennes and Saint-Brieuc, I thought « Alright, let’s do this. » It would still be nicer than the appointments with the banker who by the way is no longer called Jean Moulin because the latter never wanted to meet me.
The guy had started to tell me on the phone that he didn’t speak French. I hadn’t believed a word he said but I figured I’d speak a bit of globish, it can’t hurt.
Once we managed to meet at Rennes station, which was already a true miracle because of the renovations and my level -of globish-, things started to get more interesting but also more complicated than planned.
The guy declared himself, brilliant and a writer. And bad-tempered.
Well this is not a problem. I like it. But the literary French squad has already noticed him and in a few weeks France will face a big problem: a cursed poet is going to go through A season in hell again.
I arrived at the meeting place thinking about Lautrémont, I left it thinking about a few others. Tristan Corbière, François Villon, Jean Genet.
And then, you know me, I didn’t leave it there, I went on a little trip to Saint-Brieuc. The day was splendid and reminded me of the beautiful days you can spend in Paris. Poets, alchemists, everyone knows they’re the same thing. But I went back with a funny thing in hand: a poetic gem that the guy from Saint-Brieuc agreed to write for the kiosque.
It was so heavy, a bit like gold, that I almost fell down the stairs. The morning after, I started working. What would I do with a poem that necessary?
I thought that Patrick Prigent who is a poet and almost from Saint-Brieuc as well would agree to read the French version. That its author would read the original version in Sudanese1 Arabic. That it would bring the yet old Alain Souchon song C’est déjà ça up to date with nobody breaking their teeth2. Even though Patrick is a bit of a fighter. We’d have to be careful. Patrick said « Ok, thanks for asking me to do it », I said « No worries, I think it’s gonna be a funny encounter. »
I sent the poem to IsabeL who started talking about page layout and potential propositions she would make when she has the time. She is great at those things.
It was clear that we had to be great. As would Stéphanie say, when you have a Baudelaire in hand, one of those that have been censored in the 2018 version, you have to try and make it right.
I had gold in hand and a little problem with the translation: it was bronze and I wanted silver.
It was obvious that I was going to have a bunch of problems with that poem. The guy from Saint-Brieuc too but from what I understood he’s used to it. I just wanted the text to be impregnable.
For the rest, once I’d make sure that no other editor had already made the soon-to-be Breton celebrity sign an exclusivity or one of those very complicated details that can turn your life into hell if you’re not careful enough, well, we’d see.
And then, I don’t know what happened but things became out of control.
I first thought it was because we were both Taurus, me and the guy from Saint-Brieuc, and we had, astrologically speaking, the sense of argument.
But no, it was because of my globish. Because of the language barrier, I was trapped by dullness when subtlety was necessary.
So it became very painful. Like a sort of Apartheid. A linguistic one.
A separation of the persons. An impossibility to meet. A prohibition.
It’s hard to express. Even in French. It cut me in half.
So please tell me, it’s not what’s going to happen right? I mean, a distinct separation between people according to their identities and their IDs and everything? So it’s alright, you can peacefully go drink fruit juice at someone’s or someone else’s in France right? Nobody right now would be stuck in a situation so unacceptable that you’d have to think twice before deciding how to catch a woman falling down the stairs?
It’s true that right now, things are changing. But we all agree: Russian-speaking people are going to teach Russian to people who don’t understand a word of it, French-speaking people are going to teach French to people who need it to make friends, buy return tickets to Guernesey to visit Uncle Hugo’s house and same thing for Portuguese-speaking people?
Alright. That makes me feel better. Because falling down the stairs is something I can do quite often.
So in the meantime what do I do with the guy from Saint-Brieuc’s poem?
Nothing. Waiting. As I take Farsi classes and not Arabic classes, it can take a while before I transform bronze into gold.
I’m not used to gold anyway, but, we agree, it never expires right?
1. In classical Arabic of course! If it wasn’t to mention that the guy from Saint-Brieuc grew up in Sudan, how could have I made such a big mistake?
2. Reference to the song.