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Louis Armand

Jacques Cousteau est Mort

(for Michael Brennan)


      warned against the expectations of plot & dénouement we nevertheless attended our commiserations in the public library & at the feet of the national monument
      & as the day passed on it seemed the flags on the flagpoles had entered a humid phase of indifference
      a child with an azure hat waves down from a tram window as the tram pushes against the tide of pedestrians
      it was agreed, there was no longer space in which to perceive ourselves alighting there in that sea of gregarious well-wishers
      voices in voice-balloons floating above the shapeless mass
      this in accordance with the programme, a note, insisting on pure spectacle: "so much happening & nothing taking place"
      we retrace our steps & attempt a crossing from the opposite direction
      at 12.00 take a break catch up with gossip, clues on the outcome of unheard-of events
      after, to pay our respects at the dead-letter office (in hope of intercepting misdirected correspondence)
      & drink coffee at a stand
      & scan the headlines of a newspaper on a newspaper rack: "change predicted . . . " thinking about where to be next, never in the one place or "there" as they say
      quietly adrift in the gaze of passing strangers two three four, waiting in line ahead to pay "so much poverty is an eyesore" says the woman in the patent leather boots & the billboard says vote x for more y less z
      the pigeons do their thinking under eaves in the blue twilight cooing
      & suddenly, as it always seems, you don't want to be alone again, tonight, climbing the stairs that lead one after an other upwards to the surface & air
      but like the doors in dreams it has no handle


Louis Armand
Louis Armand is an Australian poet, currently teaching at Charles University in Prague. He is a poetry editor of the Prague Review, at

Photo copyright © John Tranter, Prague, 1999

This poem also appears in the current edition of Salt magazine, an international literary annual published from Cambridge, England, and Perth, Western Australia. You can contact Salt editor John Kinsella on this URL:


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