Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems, by Louis Armand.




The silence went unresponded to; we lay there
forming our hypotheses, colder at that time of year
than it should have been, awaiting correcting,
thin as a film of sullied light. What looked
like a wall turns out to be an obituary, blank spaces
waiting to be filled-in by the next itinerant.

Something scattered us among strange cities.
Cried in the night for a sickness that couldn’t be
reclaimed. Garibaldi in Washington Square,
a dwarf standing on a fountain, naked, holding a
balloon. People came and went, possessing
themselves for hours at a time, unconsciously.

Was that really you, at the Stonewall the night
Judy Garland died? You looked younger then.
Dancing the can-can in front of the riot squads.
Yesterday the bombing began. We still look
upon these rites as strangers do, although you
have become us, growing old ungracefully.

The lesson instructed us to oblige. Despite it
you still teach children to burn down cities, stay
safe from rain. And still we find ourselves amazed
at our stupidity. Not knowing who unwinds
the rope from the neck of adversity. Who deems.
Who expects. The children laughing at our error.




(for Donald Theall, in memoriam)

Before this, darkness and intervention, the mock-ironic
posturing of implements that almost mitigates their

cruelty. Blunted at dusk, with its sunken cataracts, who
does the illusion hope to bear witness for? Arriving

like so many approximations, lighting a corner of the table.
The eye searches to see more. Scenes of humiliation

in which an adversary awaits the signal not far from shore;
a window hanging enormously over the sea, covered

with green shutters. There sounds no alarm, even as the
grey hull rounds the buoy, wind sweeping over water.

Only the wavefall barking in cold air. Or somewhere
a bell is gradually tolling, that might once have seemed

ominous, but isn’t. Awaiting the arrival at that senescent
plateau where “everything peaceful has a troubled past.”

Its lack of punctuality is like some carefully devised
stratagem, to force the issue. And the hollow muscular

thoracic cone, circulating the blood for a clinical higher
purpose, unaware of the distress that its activity is arousing.


† 15.5.2008


Louis Armand's poems have appeared in Offcourse Issue #26, Six Poems, in Issue #23 Poems by Louis Armand, #22 Poems , and his French poems appear in #8, in French and in English. He is Director of Intercultural Studies (ICS), Department of English & American Studies, Philosophy Faculty, Charles University, Praha, Czech Republic.

See also his website at


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