Sans soleil

a prayer
which slips into life without interrupting it.

Brooding at the end of the world on my island of Sal
in the company of my prancing dogs

I remember that month of January in Tokyo, or rather
I remember the images I filmed of the month of January in Tokyo.

They have substituted themselves for my memory.
They are my memory.
I wonder how people remember things
who don't film, don't photograph, don't tape.

How has mankind managed to remember?
I know: it wrote the Bible.
The new Bible will be an eternal magnetic tape of a time
that will have to reread itself constantly just to know it existed.

As we await the year four thousand and one and its total recall,
that's what the oracles we take out of their long hexagonal boxes
at new year may offer us:

a little more power over that memory
that runs from camp to camp¬ólike Joan of Arc.

That a short wave announcement from Hong Kong radio
picked up on a Cape Verde island projects to Tokyo,

and that the memory of a precise color in the street bounces
back on another country, another distance, another music, endlessly.

At the end of memory's path,
the ideograms of the Island of France are no less enigmatic
than the kanji of Tokyo in the miraculous light of the new year.

It's Indian winter, as if the air were the first element
to emerge purified from the countless ceremonies