Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac

 

 

(France)

 

 

 

Excerpt from Beyond Elsewhere, translated from the French by Hélène Cardona

 

 

Before disappearing far off, farther than the human eye could launch its arrow, the gods shook the firmament, let ​​fall a few fragments of infinity on my forehead, and breathed the nostalgia of the Absolute in my core. A blazing firebrand planted in the soft flesh, from birth: echoes of silence striking my chest; presence within absence, sprung from the ocean of ages like a wave of equinox. How could I bear to be abandoned to the chimeras of fate to be promised to the twilight of a dark age by the brightest light?

 

Wherever I turned my face, I only saw a world of shadowy temples and the specter of the absence covering every atom of the universe: herds roaming the surface of the earth, their foreheads hitting the walls of a trompe-l’oeil labyrinth; dwarf shepherds, bloated with bad winds, demoralizing the masses to better control them; anonymous hands diverting the great wheel of history in the cold rooms of power; “Bull faced stupidity” – old, ugly and controlling – ordering the dark stars

and the skies’ four winds emptied of their God.

 

This century without sky and anchor was only a mirage;

this sprinkling of sand thrown into the ocean of existence, but a fable: it was not me. I knew it. I felt it. No matter what I did, I remained a spectator; no matter what I saw, a stranger to the spectacle. These hordes of undead staggering over the void gave me vertigo. All this warm flesh drunk with the wine of oblivion nausea​​ted me. Everything was too ugly to be true. I prayed to be torn from Man’s long sleep, to be offered love and truth blended with the eternal present. I would have liked the seemingly real to fall like a veil at the foot of a larger Reality, to burn there on the spot: forever.

 

Dreams of Elsewhere. Dreams of beyond elsewhere. My lungs were seeking the high seas air, the one that is sorely lacking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac

 

Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, author of Beyond Elsewhere (Éditions du Cygne, 2013), is published in numerous anthologies of short stories and poetry, including Petite anthologie de la jeune poésie française (Éditions Géhess, 2009), Le livre de la prière (Éditions de l’Inférieur, 2013), and Poètes français et marocains, Anthologie 2 (Éditions Polyglotte, 2014), in the literary journals Les Citadelles, Poésie Directe, Littérales, Polyglotte, Recours au Poème, Testament, in the magazines 3è Millénaire and L’Opinion indépendante, and contributed to Irak, la faute, by Alain Michel and Fabien Voyer (Éditions du Cerf, 2000).

Gabriel graduated from Sciences Po and holds a Master’s degree (Fondements des Droits de l’Homme). After studying philosophy and Eastern poetry, he became fascinated with the history and ideas of the great religions and their poetic expression in particular, which took him to India six years later…

 

 

 

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BIO Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona is a poet, linguist & actor, author of Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013), winner of the Pinnacle Book Award and the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Award in Poetry, finalist for the Julie Suk Award; The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press, 2006); and Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016). Her translation Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne) of What We Carry by Dorianne Laux came out in September 2014.

She also translated Beyond Elsewhere by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Renard, Crickillon, René Depestre, Ernest Pépin, and her father José Manuel Cardona.

She holds a Master’s in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College & Loyola Marymount University, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut & Universidad Internacional de Andalucía.

She is Chief Executive Editor of Dublin Poetry Review and Managing Editor of Fulcrum. Publications include Washington Square, World Literature Today, Poetry International, The Warwick Review, The Irish Literary Times, Periódico de Poesía, The Toronto Quarterly, The Salzburg Review & many more.

Acting credits include Chocolat, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hundred-Foot Journey, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Muppets Most Wanted, World War Z, Mumford, and Happy Feet 2. For Serendipity she co-wrote with director Peter Chelsom and composer Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang.
 

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