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

12.

          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

15.

Another study in density
          encircling





           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