To read / 29 November 2023

Selected poems


My God, it might just be
That no bomb explodes
In my street today
And tears my flesh to pieces
That no one kills my father
That no one tortures my mother
My God, it might just be
That I don’t live in Kharkiv
That I don’t live in Israelstine
That I don’t live in a shelter
And that I live, in fact, in total comfort
My God, I might have to
Live with this violent stroke of luck
And embrace with all my body, with all my heart
With all that is in me
The responsibility of joy

So afraid of dying was she
That she developed
Fear cancer
(A rare type)
And died without knowing
Fear cancer
Fear (of) cancer
Or from death itself
The good old one
That came to relieve her
From all this spinning round

We would like to afford
A real live orchestra
To play at our wedding
Then at our funeral
We would like to afford
All kinds of pretty clothes
To get married in
And then cremated in
We would like to afford
Beautiful crowns and ribbons
To declare all that was
And all that will be
We refuse to skimp
On death or life
And on their expenses
Both of them which come
From the same fund really

I hereby declare that there are
Seven fish left in the sea
Nineteen euros left till the end of the month
One hundred and three houses on fire across the land
But that there can also be
Eight thousand combinations of our bodies
So our possibilities remain
Relatively unlimited

I ruin
Your weddings
Your birthday parties
Your farewell parties
My tears ruin it all
My empty stares ruin it all
My inappropriate comments on the absurdity of being ruin it all
My no-food diet ruins it all
My too-flamboyant dress ruins it all
I ruin your receptions
Your normal reunions
Your fun times
I ruin on estimate
Give me work
Thank you

Don’t ever get on with your life
As long as you hear screaming you should never get on with it
Walk with a light but weighted heart
Walk with a quick but secretly rebellious step
Always be a shelter for pain
Always let your skin be wounded by a wound other than your own
Always keep room inside your mouth for tears other than your own
Open up and let yourself be cried through

Translated by author


Pauline Picot

Pauline Picot is a writer, performance artist and PhD in Theatre Studies. 

The Quartett Publishing House has been publishing her theatrical texts since 2012. Her latest one, Votre âme sœur est peut-être dans cette forêt (Your soulmate might be in these woods, 2022), was staged at the Théâtre du Rond-Point (Paris) in February 2023. Her poetic writing – in the form of composed fragments or eructations-fleuves – can be found in books À l'heure qu'il sera (When the Time Comes, 2017), in specialized magazines (Gustave; Recours au poème, Carabosse) or on social media (Les Poches de Résistance Poétique on YouTube; the chronic posting of her poems on Facebook). Since 2019, she has been creating series of performances accompanied by photographs: they question the imperative of competitiveness, the loneliness of everyday life, and a supreme candor in the face of the world’s dreadful state. Her latest cycle to date, PLEUREUSE, began in October 2023.


Find more about the poet on this link:


Photo by Aurélie Raidron