original | translation


Editor's Note: From a series of poems placed at tram stops on the Paris T3B line, which opened in late 2012 and runs from Porte de Vincennes to Porte de la Chapelle.  

original | translation

the outsiders
lurk close by day and night     
nomads prowling
the city steps
the margins of the law        
stowaways or permanent passers-through the airlock
of the city are the sentries
door-to-door salesmen
jobless homeless
windscreen-washers beggars runaways
summer corn-roasters winter chestnut-roasters
seasonal workers from all countries
refuse collectors
sellers of fake or stolen or faulty things
dvds cigarettes watches glasses spread on foldaway tables
Who perpetuate secular local traditions
hawkers rag-and-bone men pedlars lorettes grisettes legal brothel workers
leaning on the barriers scatter in mobile points forming CLOUDS
on the pavements all along the iron fences of factories businesses
in the north mainly where the heavy infrastructure flyovers railway lines bypasses
offers suitably shadowy zones
unused places in-between spaces
near embankments
by service stations
in car parks
around worksites
at the few nearby café terraces
at the city gates territory must be defended
two English-speaking African women
three Slavic-speaking European women
one French-speaking African woman
two Romanian-speaking European women
two French-speaking African women
three Arabic-speaking Maghrebi women
two Albanian-speaking European women
take up position in places people pass
where you can advance into the light
and draw back into shadow
in bus shelters where users make clear they’re not clients
the policy was to chase them away
to fine them to hide them
how to be sure they’re adults and not vulnerable
to distinguish between lover pimp and exploiter? 
of residents’ petitions
of guard-dogs’ rounds
of mysterious disappearances
of night watchmen and barbed wire in bushes
of violence they are the first victims
in these precarious jobs
since the late twentieth century the tendency has been centrifugal
           (go walk further away)
will they have to flee into the forest                Rambouillet Sénart Fontainebleau
further than Boulogne and Vincennes?
A revolutionary act (according to Grisélidis Réal)
Rub me out! says the graffiti
the birds scattered by a warning shot
will settle
a little further away