Sans soleil

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

by which the Japanese wash off
one year to enter the next one.

A full month is just enough for them to fulfill
all the duties that courtesy owes to time,

the most interesting unquestionably being the acquisition
at the temple of Tenjin of the uso bird,

who according to one tradition eats all your lies of the year to come,
and according to another turns them into truths.

But what gives the street its color in January,
what makes it suddenly different is the appearance of kimono.

In the street, in stores, in offices, even at the stock exchange
on opening day, the girls take out their fur collared winter kimono.

At that moment of the year other Japanese
may well invent extra flat TV sets,

commit suicide with a chain saw,
or capture two thirds of the world market for semiconductors.

Good for them;
all you see are the girls.