Béatrice Machet


Photo : Bipe Noder






mere reflection


       speaking with forked tongue                            is what you do

              speaking two languages

              thus what about self                     and what about identity

                     who’s the liar             the native or the learned

                            the given      or the acquired

                                   and what about




I mean being a woman

being the whore and the Madonna

the mother and  the child

and wanting to be loved for all that

which forks my tongue

I mean

being in permanent trouble in manifold divisions how to be true to myself and speak genuinely something that can be seen as lacking logic as if voicing wasn’t deep rooted in my throat: a unique and single one


one has to think about


Is this possible between two languages and what’s at stake? Translation? How does your tongue get its two parts into a reunited muscle? with what energy what fuel what soul?

Is it a question of wind

like when you sail …


And why should be swinging a binary movement

when balance is much more subtle like

into a sentence

as it is expected when you are committed to


forked-tongue as I am I wonder:

is the light cast by the lighthouse a forked-light?

Is flashing a synonym that can stands for forked?

Is the flame of a fire suspected of being forked?

Of being forged?


Is asking questions a way of making sense of life?

Of making sense of one’s self?

Yet … is it a private    an intimate     or a public self … forks and division again

but in between: a relation-

“ship” to add and you sail on the waters animated by streams

of consciousness at the least


thus a process of non-static “things”

and ahead of me the forked—as in every slipstream—will close itself into a regular shaped-flame

while behind me analysis out of breath is sticking out its tongue …

Is this what we call creation? Not losing touch with one’s self

be it divided or not …

Not losing touch with what is thought which is unmanageable even through forking or dividing or deconstructing…

Is forked a means for being wild?

Is forked a means to grasp and wrap a “relatively wide whole” as tentacles would grasp and wrap what will become its very food?












Béatrice Machet is the author of 14 poetry books in French, two in English. She is used to collaborating with artists from all kinds of disciplines such as painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, video-makers, dancers and choreographers, and with whom she performs her poetry. She is a member of the sound poetry group Ecrits/Studio in Lyon. She has had writer residences, leads creative writing workshops, is called for teaching and performing in schools and colleges, either in France or abroad. She translates many Native American contemporary poets into French and managed to gather and get anthologies of Native authors published in France. Her poems are translated into Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and her work appears in British anthologies, (both in French and English), or in British and American magazines such as Poetry Review and Dawnland. She is on editorial boards of French poetry magazines such as Recours au poème, Sur le dos de la tortue and Les cahiers d’Eucharis. She is also the producer and presenter of radio programs about contemporary poetry on Agora FM in Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes. She lives between France and the USA.


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