from Molloy, The Flip Side
(a translation in verse of Beckett’s novel)

by Chris Tysh

On the other side of the ledger
Inspection reveals a loose
Spring in the sum total, a hole

Where my possessions had been
Hat, bicycle, sucking stones
Slow boat to nowhere

But I’ll be damned if I leave
Them my knife. Out with it
Now, minion, meat puppet!

Can’t bear to suffer
The distant mess — cut
To a leg — barefaced lie

Or dim-witted phrase
Take your pick. There’s
Always the ache of sameness

A bundle latched
Close to the vest
Pending one’s arrest

If I now at last speak
Of the immodest proposal
Goody Lousse entertained

It’s only fair to take in the whole
Scene in her garden: I stretched out
Like a dog and she of the flounces

Pouring debauch’s demands
Nary a tuft of grass between us
Hunched over the hemmed space

From the get-go I say yes to
The grub and the other tango
Of her clever plot and yet

A shudder escapes me like
A fallen log or shoelace
Free from its tongue

As is my wont upon this night
Of echoes this menu of bruises
The earth spits up along the way

Having dismissed the two
Clowns who always crash
Inside my padded skull

Or rather having done
One’s bidding before
The other can say “boo”

In the putative nest
We move to as if in a fable
Of leaves and petals

That make up my jar
Stopped with rags
And safe from seasons


Franco-American poet and playwright, Chris Tysh is the author of several collections, the latest of which is Cleavage (Roof Books). She is on the creative writing faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her latest play, Night Scales, will be produced at the Studio Theatre in Detroit (April 2010) under the direction of Aku Kadogo.