Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

Koulsy Lamko (Tchad, 1959)

To Laokein B.

(a friend and leader of the resistance murdered by government’s soldiers)

Every night when the storm blows down sun-dried brick
houses and huts
Every warm night when men are at the mercy of mosquitoes
Every silent night that will echo the howl of the owl
Every night when the revival of the soil will grow its cotyledon

You will haunt for a long time the restless nights of
These soul dealers
These arms dealers
These tear dealers
Treacherous sort of mangy bitches
Those who sold you
For a skew of lamb on the grill
For a gulp of warm bitter beer

Every stormy night, they will grow a belly heavy with shame
Every warm night they will carry a liver heavy with pus
Every silent night, weevils will pierce their stomachs
Every night of revival they will bear an enormous spleen soaked, bursting, drowned

Treacherous, viscous-eyed chameleons, hyenas with their
tails between their legs
Fat they will be fat and greasy from the grease of their feasts
And then some day their legs heavy with gout
Will not carry them anymore

I know you are manure at the foot of the hibiscus
You weave on the distaff the aurora borealis
For the wedding of the morning star
When the peasant’s toe will no longer stumble on the stump of the néré
When the shepherd’s foot will no longer shelter the thorn of the soapwort
When the hippopotamus’ saber –teeth will no longer split the canoe paddler

Tranlated by Agnes Merat

Koulsy Lamko was born in Dadouar, Chad, October 25 1959. Poet, playwright, novelist, author of scripts, cultural agent and actor. PhD in arts, language and French literature. Winner of numerous prizes for his dramas and brief narrative. His work has been presented by Theater Companies in África, Europe and Canada. Promoter of the Theater of the Community in Burkina Faso, he was one of the founders of the International Festival of Theatre for Development. He founded and directed the Center for the Arts and the Theater in the National University of Rwanda, where he has also taught Theater and Creative Writing. He produced a Poetry CD in 1997. Publications: Le camp tend la sebile, 1993; N'do kela ou l' initiation avortée, 1993; Tout bas…Si bas, 1995; Comme des fleches, 1996, Le mot dans la rosée in Brèves d'ailleurs, 1997; La tête sous l'aiselle, 1997; Regards dans une larme, 1990; Le repos des masques, 1995; Sou sou sou gre gre, 1995; Exils, 1993; Aurore, 1997; La phalène des collines, 2000; Le Serpent à Plumes, 2002; y Au large de Karnac in Europe vue d'Afrique, 2004.
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