Animals Fantastique

— translated by Paige Taggart

With simplicity the fantastic animals exit the anguish of their obsession and are hurled from outdoors placed on the walls of rooms where nobody notices them except their creator.

The sickness gives birth, tirelessly, to a matchless animal creation.


The fever performs more births of animals than the ovaries have ever given. With the first sickness, they exit the tapestries simply, grimacing at the slightest curve, gaining a vertical line for pouncing forward, full of the immense force of the illness and the effort to regain strength; animals who bring uneasiness, who can not effectively oppose, what they become can be guessed, who have paws and appendages in every sense.

The beast with trunks are not special to women, they visit man too, touching their belly-button, he is encased by large apprehension, and soon an entire ensemble of trunks form an umbrella around him, how is he to resist? Trunks that turn quickly into tentacles. What a thrill! And how we saw it coming! Oh! Three o’clock in the afternoon! The hour of anguish, additionally deepened by that malignant sign of night!

The animal matrix multiples, the blue matrix of leprosy makes an appearance at four in the morning; they return altogether in a group and fall into the lake or in the mud.

But the eyes rest, large blanks of dread.

That beast levitates a paw for relief. Who isn’t weary of one another? She lifts a paw from behind to reveal the center of a tuft of red hair with a green eye that works evil, a treacherous eye who believes in nothing; these are either necklaces of eyes inside her neck that move feverishly nearby, or the agent of Justice who can see on all sides, every which way they have eyelids that peer at you, their impeccable eyes are the meanest unit in a masquerade or they show remorse and profit from your reason without defense.

Immediately after coming the illness resigns, they are left to leave. They are not guarded about the relations they’ve had with their eyes and what they have lived amongst and what they will live to see in coming lives, this will not be forgotten, however they are able to return to an entirely revelatory existence.

Alone the animals that are drunk with willpower do not die. They are accompanied by their fellow man, without respite.

At once to act, filled with sadness and tenaciousness, they accomplish the ultimate crime of the beast. They are hairy and soft at parts, or hairless, with a tendency to turn blue.

But the tormenting of their prey returns. The illness puts them to bed, they are covered by blankets heavier than themselves and their hand hangs pendently, like a bandage unraveling. What animal will earn profit? Judge revenge. They see a scarab beetle scurry along the floor with a big robe, for this crossing, the eye is alert and intrigued. The other man who is incapable of putting up a fight, but on the contrary lifts an eye, what will become of him?

He walks with a certain air, accumulated by his travels across the world, the curiosity of fellow paws that turn seemingly into a trifecta of sorts.

He wants to know everything about that white road and return home, wanting the blue zones. With the pressure, he will walk without mourning, stiff and starched.

The wolves want to bite the wrist without release, and the hand that is attached. The rats begin approaching, sauntering without sound, without sound.

Powerless, power of others.

You don’t have the same dead for your defense. To the others, you’re altogether warm enough, and desiring that one yellow virgin in a transparent dress inside the troop’s barracks.

At desire without rest howling << help >>, the attention of illness dislocates, as the thread of the willingness to be definitively exhausted.

At the newness of that thread break running-up, irreparable at all the corners of the horizon, from the Past and from the Future sameness, with the security they feel over the terrains conquered in advance, the bodies of those who possess monstrous spirits, throwing back the sky, going to sleep another time into the brown lake.

A little fleet of coffins appear close to the fountain, in the meantime each dead one salivates over a swordfish doing a weary gesture, at most, that’s what there is to say of misery.

A dog’s tongue rots, hesitates to lick the malady.

A weasel trembles, the swaggering opens in the brain, gushing blood spills-out in sight of a little metallic cogwheel.

Never the stuff of rest; and when the huge paradise-wasp, beauty up to the thighs far beyond youthful yellow and charred, airlifts, searching for support, that position and bend in spastic movement, on the lip of the diseased, panics, who isn’t more than a bit afraid, who isn’t more than a bit afraid…Oh fatal minute, mortal enters the mortals!

Puff of illness, that scares you? you who can’t even lift the wing of an insect!

That hand again…because isn’t this the time that one hand can be destroyed. Strangeness multiplies, a lion has that pounce, a panther the ability to take cover, the bears all at once finds it. Parceled-out, if ever destruction is— that she again attracts an enemy.

A hyena for the closure; not ever <<for closure>>. Wreck upon the waves, never have they been so occupied with themselves, the returning, the rolling, the repetition without cease.

From the rust colored mountain exits the fattest species of animals, generally smaller types exit out everywhere, the inferior members, from the leg well exercised, hollowed-out assuredly; elsewhere, what isn’t hollow?

From a moist wall maggots ooze, some worms, some eels, some lamprey and some conger everyday thirsty for blood and for carnage.
–– They don’t have certain consistency.
–– Let’s go then, they take soon, they take extremely fast from the texture, like an overcoat, who, at first look, appears empty, but who then, turns around, and in one instant is found fat, then Mr. important, who observes you with condescendence.

Not a single animal is likely to be absolutely harmless.
The slower, the more enclosed into themselves, suddenly one undetectable violent burst is made, and then voila bare-chested, their enveloped crevices, and their guts pour out, fat and hideous, a load that was once so well hidden from yourselves and from others.

Who thus has said that the animals are savages? Curious with contrary. Like they come to see what they know will nail them to the bed. They fall, they are your assailants, they don’t have a center that isn’t in you.

Similarly the choices that are unfound are those central to you. Hung-up, they await to find what they can occupy in your own center. With the immense force that immobilizes their return at a point of contrary, the poor ill, everyday quivering upon those who live.

A man knocks against a rock that he has stared at for too long. The rock hasn’t budged. All the natives of this place can attest to that. And elsewhere it’s not important, these small petty rumors, the ill know from experience.

In the world of animals, everything is a transformation. To say the choice lies in a word, they have to think of it that way. Speak to me, tell me what is the advantage of having multiple ways of talking to a horse?

Sometimes seals, they come to take the air between two shore breaks, sometimes fiercely and malevolently, crushing all, like an elephant on route.

You spring on top of the marble earth, there’s a horse. Two billiard-balls, two horses, ten marbles, seven to eight horses or more…when it’s the right time.

On the lookout a big flood exits the train station, unexpectedly, agitating their large soft heads who are scared to leave if insane, if insane; and that is the rush, towards the exit, trampling all who are found on the path including you, the poor ill who for the illusion of liberty have been trained to exit the station, towards the trains who, for a little money, transport you to the sea, to the mountains.

Upon reentering, you meet again your fellow creatures each time too late as the poodles stick by, who demand everyday to be pampered, who find a way everyday to break something porcelain, maybe a nose at the end of a statue, in opposition to the devastation as a material block of additional resistance.

And they dare not let their return be the case of the stairway where the changes each time take larger leaps to perch upon, they will make it, another sound of thunder which will attract all the locals, of large damage amongst themselves and to the outdoors (back of the knee breaks and that is against forecast all too easily!). Twelve horses on the stairway, the additional width there creates enough trouble, and elsewhere in the case of stairways additionally larger, they are met with an even greater amount of horses, some squadron of horses (the imagination sick but never mislead on these accounts. It won’t ever be too small, never, never).

The nostrils on fire, the neck stiff, and the lips convulsing, they hurtle down from all directions; nothing, with absolutely nothing to be afraid of or cause them fright.

But enough talk of horses. The spectacle is at large everywhere, and generously open.

When there’s malady, aided with the drumming of the fever, undertake a big beating from the forest of life, if enriched by the animals, what doesn’t exit?

For the sick person, no creature is extinct. They can all reawaken, from the slumber of forty-thousand years.

The Toxodon for he’ll revisit, for he alone, and the giant Dinosaurs leave behind an egg for him, then at once after dissolving upon the curious who will then be left to go off and observe innocently. Little care, never enough care! And while if this was in reverse, the enormous Megatherium that awakes, the bones at once soak in the muds of the Industries, come to weigh upon the chest anxiously.

That can’t be the malady?

Guided by your proper sentiment of inversion and of nervousness, the animals turn inside out by unbuttoning themselves.

The ape reverses itself and becomes brush, a russet-red brush leaning nonchalantly against the wall.

The otter reverses itself and becomes foam, it won’t move anymore and inserts itself slowly into the water.

The donkey reverses itself and becomes a buffalo and becomes a shark who hurls towards you, with a mouth that snaps to grab you, where as, that quality in constricting, takes on the quality of a boa constrictor, the royal python tightens and cracks your thorax in oppression.

And the monster game pursues itself and enters interminably at night and becomes the game of the feverish night.

The increasingly severe sadness appears. Opacity of the head, that is all too celebrated, not surprisingly.

Flocked together in the skull, that’s your support, but flocked in gallop, who will be your support? Those of melody, suppose you become pointy nails?

The drill that is inserted in the brain enters the present moment at an edge of an incomparable point. Is it this that is moreover actually exclusive? Branches fulgurating with such pain that not even a bird can land upon it.

But sometimes also the malady goes and it’s theater aspects go with it. Happy convalescences, who see all the animals diminish in size and become rarefied, the prairies once again become green and peaceful, the walls and the furniture take back the air of their oafishness, incapable of all their safety as a holding place in the everyday, for their quietness is one of your spirits.

The immense sheet that is torn off of your ear and the one {{listen}} a profound silence, bordering the caverns they who won’t appear are ready to give up.

In the profound silence alone, compatible with the delicate rustle, lives the health. Going, you are about to reenter in the life, little one.

Innocent and soon forgetting… and the imminent arrival.

Author Note: Animals Fantastique is a loose translation of Henri Michaux’s prose poem Animaux Fantastiques. At times the translation was limited to an immediate, accessible vocabulary that is purely from knowledge of the language, as well as sensation. Other times the dictionary was used for a more direct word-for-word translation. The more intuitive moments in translating Michaux’s poems felt as though I had tapped into a certain feeling or mode of thinking. I became consumed with accessing a cornerstone in his mind that felt available. Other times the poem was fueled by more personal tendencies, to work in moments that make the poem more exciting for me, as an active participant. The poem together becomes a raw adaptation of Michaux’s.