Perrin Langda
The essence of the world

diplodocus graze
the roots of the late bao-
babs twenty thousand leagues under
the path of the oil
tanker which ran aground in
the Atlantic on the front
page of Le Monde at the gas
station register

Celestial supplication of the mollusk

before I produce
any pearl of nacre
in the shell of a mussel
may the flip-flop of a bather
spare me and not
slap me into my o-
wn pieces of shell
and pulp of flesh

La vie en rose

man emerges from mud
like a zombie and grills
the blood of the planet
which goes up in smoke
over infernal cities
and falls in acid rains
which eat into his skin and
send him back under the earth to rot

Earth is blue like a rotten lemon

after death the mind
doesn't do much but
all the bodies join
under the surface of the Earth
pressed like lemons
then they rot and stink of gas
and that is why
the sky is all blue

Cultivate one's garden

the seed sends a stem
into the air and roots
into the ground a leaf catches
a ray of sunshine a branch
a trunk a swing
kids when you are
six feet under with the
truffles like an acorn

Breakfast on the milky way

spongy leftovers
caught in a spiral
of softened stars the expired
milk plunges with
the fresh water into the
sink I have mushed
brains and the emp-
ty bottle in my hand

Translated from the French by Pauline Levy Valensi

Perrin Langda, born in 1983, lives in Grenoble, France. His poems offer brief, often ironic pictures of everyday life. These poems are from his book Quelques microsecondes sur Terre (A Few Microseconds on Earth) which was published in 2015. Langda has published three other books of poetry, and three more are scheduled to be published by next year. 

Pauline Levy Valensi's upcoming translation of Perrin Langda’s poetry collection, A Few Microseconds on Earth, is scheduled to be published by World Poetry Books in the fall of 2018. She is currently translating Nth Splash on the Asphalt, Langda’s collected works. She is completing her master’s degree in French language and literature at the University of Connecticut, and in general and comparative literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris.