Loss of Date


I saw in the street, death,
in the midst of the ordinary day.
The Police arrived, the firefighters arrived, the first-aide arrived.
The curious mob ran away from the scene
For fear of the Police
For fear of death
For fear of testimony in the Courtyard.


The body stayed, his legs smashed, his head on the ground.
I was near by, my hand held its hand, the blood pressure decreased,
The hot liquid ran from the face to the asphalt.
A drunk man was moving above us, trying to understand.
The officer asked for ID
The doctor signed the death declaration
The driver asked: “What’s up, Man?”
The road was futile silence.
The policemen looked at the scene, bored to death.
The accident investigator measured,
I was a witness, the dead did not look at the ground.
The flying birds were a joke.


The driver said that he was not driving
fast, the green light was replaced
by the red, my head was turned
back, the body was already on the ground.


I ran, as I was trained, I bent down as I bent:
Hard in training, easy in battle.
My temples thundered like the voice of bullets.
The death of the other was another death
His hand in my hand, a useless item.
His hand in my hand, an overlapping excess.


The street returned to routine, Time is money, Life must go on.
The policeman went back to the police station.
The fire-fighter back to the fire station.
I to the coffee, the dead to the mortuary
waiting to be transferred to the purification room.
I was back with my cold espresso, looking
at the headlines of USA Today,
at the fluidity of the traffic,
at the woman sitting in the corner, her head submerged in her hands.
My heart was beating, the blood pressure,
the contraction of the muscles, the trembling of the legs.
Now, was the dead dead? Was the brain on the ground?
I was looking at the trucks hitting the road,
the wheels rotating. Movement is Life.
You cannot swim in the same river twice.
You cannot take time back, nor death.
O Gilgamesh, what you are seeking, you will never find,
the Gods took Life for themselves,
death they gave to man.Do not forget:
Dead is dead.
A body is a body.
A head is a head.
A hand is a hand.
Flesh is flesh.
Blood is blood.


Ascertaining death: the heartbeat did not beat,
the pressure did not pressure, there was no longer any reaction to pain,
the head was smashed, pieces of brain on the road.
Did you verify the death? Did you let him die?
A useless witness: killing you did not verify, death you did not give.
What you took you took: a hand, a memory, a mortality.


“The Accident”, said the Press.
“The Event”, said the Police.
“The Loss”, said the Insurance Company.
“The Case”, said the lawyer.
“The Disaster”, said the family.
“Death”, said I, “Death.”
My hands fell by themselves,
My head was on the road.


God was not involved,
nor the authorities, arriving late, after death,
Post mortem, to clean the blood, to document.
The dead became a statistic, a funeral ceremony, a memory.
God wasn’t in the Picture.


By chance, I was passing by.
By chance, the dead crossed the road.
By chance, the driver was drunk.
By chance, the light changed from green to red.
By chance, the driver did not see.
By chance, God was not there.
The scene was left to the models of Game theory,
to the mercy of probabilities,
to the chances.


The dead had no chance.
“One chance in a million”, said the expert,
“Dead is dead”, said I.
A body is a body,
blood is blood,
chances are chances.


“If they give you something - take it,
If they beat you – run away”,
If you have legs anymore. Please, do not forget your head.
If there is shooting bend to the ground, fire back,
send a missile, send a postcard, send flowers, send your regrets.
Do not jump if it is not necessary;
Do not be sure of yourself until the day of your death.
Do not judge your fellow man until you have been in his position.
Do not say any word that in the end will be heard.


Do not pity yourself.
Do not say: With God’s help everything will be all right,
do not forget that heaven does not help on earth - Run.
Despair yourself from mercy, don’t have compassion - Run.
Don’t cry before, during, or now.
After funerals, committees, investigations, dreams – Run.


For the crimes that you did, you will never pay:
you killed by an angel, by a messenger,
you wrote a report, you lived in lies, in the silence of secrets.
In the end of the outflanking there was death, a dead end.
All your dreams are reminders.
The murmurs of whispers.
The murmurs of footsteps.
The murmurs of background noise.
All your dreams remembrances,
the historian that you became.


Do you remember?
“Who in his sleep and who when he wakes up; who by fire and who by water?”
Your father gave you the death that he received from his father, chains of transmission.
Each generation and generation and his dead; 
Each generation and generation and his wars;
Each generation and generation and his cries.
So you picked some flowers?
So you had some oleanders?
So you cried under some  weeping willows?
So what’s up, Man?
So you had some fun,
so you fucked,
so you did not die?
Do you remember the Desert of Judea, the falling man?
Do you remember, Man?


Now, forget.

Interprétation : Benjamin PERRIELLO (avec les remerciements chaleureux de l'auteur).