hatstuck snarl

theoretically, a hairstyling salon


Cixous, Helene. First Days of the Year. Trans. Catherine A.F. MacGillivray.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998. [Originally published as Jours de l’an 1990.]

“Writing had returned, the stream, the slender silent stream with its singing arms, the blood flow in the veins between the bodies, the wordless dialogue from blood to blood, with no sense of the distances, the magic flux full of silent words flowing” (3).

my life force my calling forth from shadows.

come calling and I come and answer the door. a night lock. a quarter of hair striped under the door in the half life of a moon dance.

“Human time. Woman’s time” (4). / “To me this is a blow, a threat” (5).

I make my best flight under the auspice of a broken book. a bad dessert. desertion.

We do not write. We haunt along.

“This same way have I always suffered from being blind” (7).

dawn cracks an egg on the horizon of my lost two gallon soup-pot.

enough today to take an outstretched hand.

promises wait and undo love. I am being sick at home in bed.

“The lunatic, the one he happened to be sometimes, he couldn’t be that one at will” (13).

I settle for the hero’s mask. the weight of off-white daffodils.

“I am in an oceanography museum” (19).

I am in that word as well.

“The author that I am can say: I am not me. That’s all” (20).

Over the rest I cast a spell with hopes of dalliance and falling stars.

“What a deliverance. What an escape (for me). If not, at least a little rest” (20).

I wait for the full throat of sacreligion.

“The essential is strange.)” (21).

The essential range of a rainy Saturday waits at my white-washed ledge.
“Clearly now for days—and as if I had myself invented hands for strangling myself and arms for clasping myself and for crushing my own arms, I broke myself, I was broken, bent, nephritic, sometimes seated with my forehead on the table strewn with more and more leaves of paper on which I had attempted and just as quickly missed an exit and thus” (26)

sad. Sickness. unwearable weight of thebody. How to say it? What we have seen. truth. True. Translation. Torment of the unnamable ghost.

“This is how, every fifteen or twenty years, we lose a life and we welcome another. Behold: we are our own oriental bride. And we behold ourselves in fear” (31).

Already everything. My own time. Behold a shell will burst into baby eyes. Tenuous. Limestone. Awaiting the birth of blades of glass.

“(What am I talking about, wonders the author? The diary—of a foreboding?)” (32).

the wake of my last sleep slipping into sound. often the awareness of the nasty light will function as enough.

the bird like death of backward looking. the tulip feet. the face that does never say no/young/you/or already-enough.

“Living is: advancing straight toward the unknown to the point of getting lost” (35).

my gray cat right foot left hand. a stroke survivor sits alive in asheville. this boring promenade. the prom. this poem. oh holy kite.

“Have I ever lived a book page by page” (36).

one thigh upon the morning lyre I cannot think of sleep but turning over in my mourning bed of flowers I wake up to purple sheets.

“A text that has taken off, with no one in front and the author in the backseat by mistake; by mistake: by definition” (39).

by skillfull duress duress decision.

turning around under navy sly of a vast chrome kitchen.

to love a fish a flesh of satis-fiction.

“Certain dates belong to me” (41). / “The author forgets, I remember” (42).

dressing fear. clown then crown it. twist around it. burning stake.

I do not love this fear; I do esteem it. I do not love this world but I do fling myself brashly to it.

“We are ten years old” (49). We are all body. We are twentyfive. The age of science fiction.

When wanted to play the role of the other, I respond no to the speaking subject’s yes. In this alien knowing, we unite our epistemic frames.

“This crime surpasses my imagination. I am the empty camera, the empty body, the empty eye” (52).

when I began to bring the tremble to the surface of my breast I became aware of a blue light and a plate of rosebush clippings outside an open windowbox.

‘Its low ceiling, crushing their skulls” (55).

I go on in the color orange. Crushing my horse-prince over and over against the gated tower.

“It was only a dream, I wake myself. A dream of death. I mean to say, a dead man’s dream” (56).

on my tongue an inscribable something. a satin finish. a purely stratacophic design. does this mean my end?

“Growing distant, she grew large. It was I who was surrounded by shadows” (60).


  • At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Catherine MacGillivray said…

    Monica, thank you so much for your lyrical and beautiful riffs on my translation. They were a pleasure to read, and make the pains (as well as pleasures) of translating seem worth it--oh, to have a reader!

    Catherine MacGillivray


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