Valet of Clubs: Discours inférieur

I find the words to make a distant friend,
and check them twenty times before I send,
an error-checking code in every byte.

We find a space in meatspace we can meet.
I shuffle past and only see my feet,
for you I know by words and not by sight.

I linger and pretend that I’m not there,
you find me in the end but I’ll not dare
to speak the words I only know to write.

No sooner are they loud enough to hear,
I go back in my shell for one more year.

We meet again, I recognise your face
but still can’t find the words to match your pace.
They’re crushed in scattered pauses far too tight.

I watch your wordfights, watch you shoot the breeze
I savour each riposte at each reprise
but when they’re aimed at me I flee in fright.

But battles one by one’ll turn to chances,
I creep along the tunnel by advances
And start to see a distant shaft of light

but with the light I see my train appear,
and go back to my home for one more year.

When next we meet I’m not so far behind,
I speak whenever something comes to mind,
I know your mouth just speaks, it doesn’t bite.

I speak before I’ve checked it twenty times
I post before I’ve found some better rhymes,
It doesn’t matter if it isn’t right.

For ten mistakes I say a dozen things,
so why not flap my tongue and flap my wings?
I take the plunge and try to take a flight,

and whack into a wall. It’s very clear
I’ll still be in this cage for one more year.


I went to the Apple Expo and Mac LAN in Paris this week, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the second part of the history of the LHC. But I had something else LHC-related in the works which I thought I might be able to finish. When I got home on Sunday afternoon, rather tired from staying up all night at the LAN and only sleeping three hours on the train home, I didn’t feel like finishing it. I felt like miraculously coming up with something new, simple, and quick, like the pantoum I did in that writing workshop several years ago. I’d just follow some kind of straightforward exercise and end up with something.

It took a couple of hours to come up with a straightforward exercise, during which I was listening to the internet broadcast of a concert that one of my favourite singers, Jérémie Kisling, gave while I was at the LAN in Paris. Then I remembered I’d always been fascinated by the rhyme scheme for his song Carambar, and wanted to write something in that rhyme scheme, if only to find out whether it sounds good when not sung. So that’s what I did, although my poem is not as structured as his, has longer lines, and is on a completely different subject. In fact it’s loosely based on the last three Apple Expos I went to. So many people in Geneva speak English that I have to go to Paris to practise French.

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  1. Video: Séjours linguistiques « Creative Output

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