Sandra Moussempès

Two poems by Sandra Moussempès, translated from French by Carrie Chappell and Amanda Murphy
October 31, 2022 Moussempès Sandra

Two poems by Sandra Moussempès, translated from French by Carrie Chappell and Amanda Murphy


The similarity of hair

A house stands out from the rest of the forest, emptied of its occupants for centuries
A chandelier sways, ready to detach itself from the ceiling
I would like to reduce the image, reframe it, but I don’t know how to open the folder on the
state of affairs,
it seems that this moment has not been archived
Structural ensembles can be mapped, an omnipresent societal context, a more empirical than
theoretic inertia will come illuminate all the screens in the outdoor room
The hair of one covers the body of the other, some bodies are locked together, breaths disperse
throughout the room
This is the main feeling in this middle-class town: nothing nor anyone is truly sure of this
moment, but things pick up again, concepts and flowered curtains for any baggage
Female students will be told to be prudent when they go out, we’ll explain that a prowler has
been going into bedrooms on campus
Some recruits recall moments, sectioned off in their archived memories
Pieces of conversation are recorded by old tape recorders of which we find the sound traces a
few years later:
–“I had long hair that never fell in soft curls or in streaks of golden light, I preferred filming
that of princesses, camera in hand, from my pre-nuptial bedroom”
–“They would always walk in a forest of dark green giant pines, from which no blond girl ever
came out unscathed”
I remember a figurative painting in a fallow room, with figures about to step out of the frame
Young girls sleeping, curled up against each other, in their sweaters, hippie princesses encircled
by fire
sometimes the house was burning
The rushes were left to abandonment in a hangar, the cinematic heroines invoking entities back
among their sisters from previous lives
– enrobed in a fluffy material –
Whether they have taken an oath of chastity or lust attracts them here, they may enter
They have turned up in the abandoned house, a little salutary decompensation after having received their end-of-the-year diplomas, dressed as pom-pom girls
This diversion indicates exceptional vocal capacities or allows one to swim in a glittery river
They have not seen what, on a private property ordering by way of a giant do not enter sign, might alert them to a future impossibility of leaving the premises



Human pool


By living in my mouth
You are phonetically
In the right place
The erotic poem does not conceive itself
Like an outstretched leg
At a wedding of fluids
It acts as a cup on stilts
In a paragraph without speech

Sandra Moussempès is the author of 12 books. Winner of the 2022 Théophile Gautier Prize in Poetry from the French Academy, her collection Cassandre à bout portant (Flammarion, January 2021) is a sonic experiment with lyric heart. In addition to Cassandre, she has recently published Cinéma de l’affect (Boucles de voix off pour film fantôme) (Editions de l’Attente 2020), Colloque des télépathes & CD Post-Gradiva (Editions de l’Attente 2017), and Sunny girls (Poésie/Flammarion 2015). Her chapbooks, I’m a language you are the sound device and Sunny girls, have been translated into English and published by Above Ground Press in Canada.