PROGRAM             .FRA  .ESP  .ITA   
Topo  Original text 
.Marco Lodoli
A narrow tunnel, a vein
Where my tiny heart echoes
Then a cellar that seems midnight
And behind the cupboard the smell of goodness
Mingled with that of cheese, and I advance
Driven by the absolute void of hunger
By the shortage that is never made up
And at once the bar snaps shut, my back is broken
By a spring concealed behind hope
A mechanism as simple as life
One moment and it is almost over
Now that I am lost I can say it
I never expected anything different
From the beginning I knew how the game was
Even if it lasts for a while it doesn’t last long
Long enough to be frightened at every moment
For a rat is always frightened
He learns it from the eyes of others
Who only feel disgust, and disgust
Turns to war, and you can’t win
Against what is written on our bodies, in the grey
Bristly, dirty fur, nightmare of ankles,
In the tail, curled and filthy like a question
In the nose that quivers, terrified, hungry
I am always hungry, I come out of my hole and feel hunger
I want to gnaw bite copulate
Running along the drain or the river
To breathe the air and feel it in lungs
Which rise and fall like the seasons
And scrape like the talons of nothing
To be born a rat is to be born a sewer
Claw of cat that sinks in the flesh
Poison trap solitude dirty wave of life
Woman screaming, stick, pursuit
To be born a rat is to be born invisible
To steal what you can, steal always and only hope
That the day will save you up
As one saves one coin today and another tomorrow
To spend them all together a bit later
At least a bit later
When they’re a bit older, more numerous, all together
On a huge gift for someone or other
I have had wives and companions
Filthy rats who kept close to me
And I to them, to make up numbers
For when you’re in a crowd you feel stronger
And it takes two to generate the new world
The same age-old story
A brood of miniscule young
With closed eyes and weak legs
But already greedy and terrified in their noses
Already sucking the milk of the future
And fearing that there won’t be enough
For the milk is limited and the mouths push
The bodies push their way between their siblings
And he who tires, who yields, is lost
Nobody ever pities anyone
The fear of dying makes one kill
And it is always like that, with no exceptions
In the infinite multitude of us rats
We are a company of quivering noses
Of sharp teeth, of suspicions and grudges
I trust nothing and no one
I have seen tired mothers ripped to pieces
And sick companions robbed of their bread
And then devoured themselves when they began
To lose their senses and reason
I would have liked an explanation
Would have liked the god of gutters and rats
To explain to me why I have to live in hiding
Why I inspire such repugnance
Why I fear even the gust of wind
That shifts a scrap of paper or rolls a tin can
Why I am now dying in this dark room
Under the snap of a lethal bar
I just don’t understand and I am sorry
Because I wanted to understand everything
What this water is that falls from the closed sky
The snow that creates silence, the thunder in the windowpanes
What the blue and the green and the black
That grows after the red, in the evening
What this infinite longing that never leaves me
Where the scum on the river finishes up
And what people mean when they say sea
What they mean when they say always
I wanted to know if fear is a limit
Or a necessity, if hope
Is only another weakness, but now it is late
It is always late, what has been has been
And those who remain will arrive exactly
Where I am now, in this silence
That waits to bury the last questions
With the bar of the trap that breaks my back
I leave all hopes to others
To the smooth noisy beings who can plan
I hate and admire humans and their dreams
Their white teeth that can even smile
Even though they have death in their hearts
I admire the infinite network of sewers
That they have woven under the cities
I have seen them join together iron pipes
Millions of pipes to carry the shit elsewhere
Where the stink won’t bother them
And the tall houses, the infinite streets, the hot water
And in the houses and streets all those lights
Kilometres of wires laid underground
To eliminate the darkness that hurts
And switch on something encouraging
For it is terrible to be alone in the dark
Listening to the bellows of breathing
And the thoughts that advance alone
Like footsteps that come to crush us
I hate men, I admire their intelligence
I hate their voices that talk on nothing
Talk talk till they empty the world
And order things to eat, and weep
When someone falls ill and dies
As if they didn’t know that everyone dies
Stiff-legged and breath-stopped
But men delude themselves that they are eternal
Buy houses, garages, tell lies
Raise cathedrals and prayers
Choose clothes in the shops above the drains
Dress their children like dolls
And play in the meadows if it’s sunny
And sometimes dance in the dark to forget
Men are swollen with hopes
They have hardly ever seen me
I soon understood that they didn’t want to meet me
A rat is too much like life
So grimy and anxious, so naked
Small ignoble dirty with desires
A thing that chews before it is chewed
Men are of another breed
They just can’t accept life as it is
They come after rats or perhaps before them
They arrange fix change the world
I have secretly followed them, I hated and admired them
For the way they try to defend themselves from discomfort
From cold from sultry heat from pain
In every house a boiler and a fan
And a larder to keep food in
And then roads to cross the fields, those tyres
Where, on the rubbish tips, my female companions
Brought forth our miniscule monsters
And to help them sleep better woollen mattresses
Where later we made dens
And geraniums on balconies and money in banks
And markets for selling and buying
Where among the crates of rotting things I roamed
Men come after rats or perhaps before them
Their race does not yield to the facts
To the inevitable, to the battle that is foregone defeat
They hope there is a solution for everything
For heat and cold and also for death
Which doesn’t know what a man is and what a rat
They cut marble, bend iron
Dig rivers and mountains and cities
And when I look at the stars set in the darkness
And that moon as round as a hole
I think that one day these deluded beasts
Will want to reach there, they can do anything
Keep steel afloat, make it fly
And even plant a flag in the sky
I am only a rat with a broken back
And my blood is flowing inside and outside
I know nothing, I would have liked to know so much, everything
And I know nothing, but I have watched men every day
Every night, I have counted their fear and hopes
I have watched lovers in the dreariest rooms
In cars parked next to the garbage bins
I have distinctly heard their words, those whispers
Which have the rustle of slipped-off clothes
The sorrowful haste of zip fasteners
He embraced her, told her ‘for ever’
And also ‘away from here, far away, to a new life’
And she, so small, replying ‘darling
Yes, take me away, take me where everything is different’
And while they touched they imagined it was real
That place with neither limits nor penalties
There, just beyond the twisted sheets
Beyond the misted-over car windows
Beyond the door that each is for the other
Having grown in hope there was already a world
It had flowers lights rapture eternity
Obedient as a dog to their desires
He embraced her and said ‘for ever
Somewhere else, where no one will be able to reach us’
And she, almost naked, said ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’
Like the stone thrown by the hand
That hits the waves, far from the shore
And is lost in the water in four skips
I have seen a teaspoon gleam on the flame
And the needle jump in the vein, the piston descend
The beautiful blue eyes of the burglar close
As a window closes
That no longer wants to see what it sees
And for him another story begins
There, from the bench beside the station
From the earthly filth in which I was rummaging
Another train left, still, still and swift
Through a country lost beyond vomit and tears
The low, round houses, warm with ghosts
Which promised: ‘You’ll like it here, at last
We’ve been for you waiting for so long, good brother’
I was beside him, awaiting his return
Under the iron bench, under his thin body
Which rattled and then was nothing
And suitcases, how many I have seen filled
Red ones black ones white ones, leather and canvas
And rucksacks covered with writing and greetings
Torn away from the peace of wardrobes and hurriedly filled
With garments which here clothed melancholy
But elsewhere would colour the unknown
Something was taken to leave everything
And the suitcases that go to hospital
A few things, a pair of pyjamas, a thick pullover
Enough for a few days’ stay
For it can’t be nothing, it’s never nothing
Long enough for a check-up, treatment and return
And hopes are like certainties
And certainties like fears, and relatives lie
Or smile tense-jawed
No one ever says: I may never return from here
This three-bed room is my last room
The first woman was my mother, the last
This tired nurse who gazes at me pityingly
Everyone’s sure they’ll be better tomorrow
That they’ll go away with a wave to the others
Poor devils laid on a cross or an end
For it is always others who die,
But I have sunk my teeth into infected bandages and the wood of coffins
Of hundreds of poor deluded fools
They go away, do men, great and small, away from here
Where the sky for us is always the mute wing of the barn owl
Which suddenly drops to kill
Spotting in the dark the gleam of our urine
Where the earth is the glue that sticks to our legs
For us rats there is only one world, this one
Made of grains of barley, putrid water,
Rutting, poisons, leftover food, running, hiding-places
But men cultivate hope
As one cultivates stony ground
A love, a needle, a green suitcase
So that a new sea and continent will begin
For they cannot bear to stay here
This rat-trap can never be enough
For someone who has had in his mind, by gift or sentence
The dream of happiness that is never assuaged
Of salvation beyond the barbed wire of the borders
So when the ship sinks
And every day it sinks a little
Rats can’t escape nor can men
But they spend their lives trying to
They repair, stop up holes, add lights and words
Wires that go forwards and turn back
And meanwhile they seek a way out
I admire men, and I detest them
On shelves, in crates, in abandoned houses
I have gnawed thousands of the books they write
In the vain hope of forgetting
I have seen them bent over in the cone of a lamp
Pressing their pens on a piece of paper that I will devour
Inventing stories made up of tiny black marks
Made of air, of wind, of nothing
Deluding themselves that they can preserve time in a can
But they believe in what does not exist
They lean forward, hang over the future
Drink, smoke and talk only about what will be
In the bars where little by little they quickly grow old
From an early age they are educated to write
‘Tomorrow there will be a better world’
The schoolmistresses the mothers the poets the cells
Impel them to desire it, and they will teach it
To their children, until the black shovelful of earth.
One night I watched a man throwing colours on a canvas
As one might throw kisses from a moving car window
And then sit down on a broken-seated armchair
And weep before that shapeless chaos
He saw in it his future, the beautiful house
Where pain will not enter, the good woman
Who will give him peace and love, and the harmony of things
And the sound of an evergreen grass
He spoke in a loud voice and wept
And even the tears and the spit and the shouts
He threw on the canvas, for despair is
The only true mother of hope
The dark mountain gives birth to the rat
But the rat refuses to come out of the rock
Better despairing and alive, still safe
Than hurled into the void of a lie
But why do I bother talking, why do I speak
I who have my back broken by a bar
And blood running outside and inside
Now it’s over, what I was to be has been
I have filled the sewers with my progeny
And the night of the barn owls with my fear
And now I don’t think that there will be anything else
And while I die I gnaw the tasty piece of food
That undid me, gnaw it with relish
To the end, and taste how good it is
The best I have ever found
And I think I will eat it all
I think as a rat can think
And don’t let up, keep eating, enjoy, die
I have no hopes, I never have had any
But I don’t curse anything or anyone
I love this lost and gifted moment
The female companions I have had and forgotten
The offspring who have competed for my food and the female companions
The sewers I have run along, their low sky
The fear that has always been beside me
The springtime of cartons sodden with rain
The rainbow of oil on asphalt
And this last eternal morsel of cheese
Life is this, I would not want it over again
What I have had has been enough for me
What has been has been: so much, all
A perpetual flight, a time lived scurrying along walls
And I still hate men and admire them
They want to move that wall
They write on it impossible words of love
Revolution, beauty, peace, freedom, future
And the wall does not collapse, does not move an inch
It is still there, insurmountable, but they persist
And if it changes nothing, still those words colour
The wall, the world, the short time that is given them
Where the wall is they see a sail, and they blow
With half-open eyelids and broken claws
Farewell life, farewell men and rats
May the sky rest lightly on your noses and in your eyes.

traduzione di Jonathan Hunt
Performs on
.9 June

Music by
.Enrico Pieranunzi

.Print .E-mail to a Friend