The First Lullaby for My Generation
Cry, cry on, for I’ll buy you a plastic heart, a
clean silver bypass, a miniature X-ray machine,
a miniature cobalt radiotherapy machine, a fresh new scalpel.
Cry, cry on, I’ve stashed away piles
of wooden pills, a dolphin, an elephant’s tail, three partridges,
and a diamond goose for you in the house’s foundation.
Cry, cry on, I’ll give you a gas mask, a Molotov cocktail,
a snowflake-spangled tiger’s hide patched with sable fur, a cut off finger, a machine gun, some
greasy fruit, some threadbare pajamas, an onion, a monkey’s paw, a rhinoceros’s foot,
a tiny Soutine painted on an earring, a first misfortune: precisely.
Cry, cry on, I’ll borrow money from everyone and buy you
a nice camel-hair hairpiece, a kidney, a liver, three surgeons who
will remove your colon polyps.
Cry, cry on, you’ll get cancer, you’ll eat. cyanide. you’ll drink
cyanide. you’ll breathe in. cyanide. you’ll throw up. cyanide. you’ll buy theater,
rodeo, ballet tickets. We’ re gonna go to the opera. You’re gonna croak, your heart’s
Cry, cry on, one million coffins will fit perfectly in 162 paperback pages,
one million dead people fit perfectly in my brain, I’m gonna buy them all,
and will buy it too for you.
Cry, cry on, I’ll buy a president, a parliament, a school, some pavement
for you to step on, I’ll buy you sockets for walking on the pavement,
for going to the doctor, for making your feet stink,
I’ll buy you a meadow for you to breed wild airplanes up there,
to tame death, cry, cry on, I’ll buy death for you
to mount, to ride, to name; call her
This is Superman, this is the word delight, upright
and perpendicular. This is history, this is memory, this is forgery
and use of forgery.
Those ones are us, those ones are them, those ones are those who kill.
That’s France, that’s the Mediterranean over there, that’s England, that’s Germany,
The U.S. and Russia, China and North Korea.
All these are linked, tagged, interconnected, we’re talking here irascibility.
Look closely and here’s what you’ll spot behind each of them: death.
This is a boiled egg, a glove, some amber, a dead language,
a chemistry textbook, the tendon, the collarbone, the press, the free press,
the occupied press, the meat press, the wine press, the press. Look closely
and here’s what you’ll spot: death.
Those are the graveyards, those are the ones lamenting the graveyards, those are
the ones occupying the graveyards, those are the ones liberating the graveyards. Hold on!
Stand still! I’m resting my hand on your shoulder. Look closely:
Translated by MARGENTO