françois luong

 Originally from Strasbourg, France, françois luong currently lives in San Francisco. Poems and translations can be found or are forthcoming in Aufgabe, Verse, LIT, West Wind Review, Dandelion, Mantis, and elsewhere. In 2010, he edited a segment of “Eleven Poets from Québec” for New American Writing. He has also translated the work of Esther Tellermann, François Turcot and Rémi Froger from French.

from The Dust Numerals


          Turning the page
on its side for a rain
          of signs

                    the particulars of the story evade
          the parlor tricks of the bazaar

                    tokens and apices
          shift and switch
                    along the columns
                              of an abacus

                    the substitution

of                   market street for poppy seeds
                      an egyptian foot for a thousand 
                                                            grains of sand

                              a we for a he and a she

Then          should
                  all signs
point toward
          a zero paradox                    ?

                    In the book of dust
                    the circle

                              pressed against the conversion table

                    stands for

                              a  b  s  e  n  c  e

                                        or the removed
                              gobar          sand or number
                                        for the barter the memory
                                                  of words requires

                    a middle point between
                              x and –x
                              her room and the outside
                                                  between labia and frenulum


Another study in density

           the mercury lining
of a smoking mirror

::: the room had shifted from the house where they had spent a week to a page of a great circular book whose spine was continuous and followed the complete circle of the walls of the circular chamber that contained it :::

                    Steel railings          now twisted
          glass frames          & rough concrete blocks

                              or a succession of sedimentary strata

                              a tower once stood here
                    now a transition          neither
                              pyramid          nor pyramid

          but a ragged landscape
looking for the shape of a library

::: a zero day was reached after a count of 360 and another after 260 for the synodic cycle to start anew until the long count stopped :::

Should white spaces signify silences?

Then what of
          the loop of the letter a
                        of the letter e

or what the number zero encloses

          etching of floors and dry walls

                    on a neighboring hotel

          the trace of a building that once was

                    Not a white space then
          but the bitter taste of brick and mortar
                    and the color of rumble

                                        Yes          the face of a city
                               erodes faster than the memory it leaves

                    until only etchings in the sand remain

                                        evidence perhaps
                               of where a cable car once passed

                     or of the lines one drew on the concrete