The Al­ba­tross

The Iowa Review - - NEWS - Charles baude­laire

Trans­lated from the French by San­dra Si­monds

A lot of times, I think things are re­ally funny, Felix. Take, for ex­am­ple, the al­ba­tross, that vast bird of the ocean. Ev­ery time he goes on a trip, his na­tive land glis­tens and I ride far on sur­faces of his love.

You can’t dis­pose of that bird, nor can you com­pose the haunted rose light around his bru­tal white tongue. Leave me alone, Felix. Leave me to my place on this coast of crys­tals and sea foam.

Bad, bad trip. I’m talk­ing about these drugs and that beau­ti­ful bird, so comic and light in the gay air. I want to drink with him all night un­til he en­gulfs ev­ery coast in his dis­tant clouds.

Po­ets are the princesses of the nude and the dark. I hate my tem­per and all I seem to have left in my ex­ile is this dumb laughter bounc­ing in­side a sun of a mil­lion hues— Oh how the crowd beats down on gi­ants.

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