The Tornado

By the time that
the senator noticed that the tornado was sitting in his plate
on fat beet buttocks
with the sliced sausage of its thighs
lecherously crossed
the tornado was in the air foraging through Kansas City
By the time that
the minister spotted the tornado in the blue eye of the sheriff’s wife
it was outside displaying to everybody its huge face
stinking like ten thousand niggers crammed into a train
in the time that it took for the tornado to guffaw into a whore’s vagina
it performed over everything a nice laying-on-of-hands those beautiful white clerical hands
In the time that it took God to notice
that he had drunk one hundred glasses of executioner blood too many
the city was a brotherhood of white and black spots scattered in cadavers on the hide of a
horse felled at full gallop
In the time that it took for the tornado to write a detective novel the tornado wearing its
cowboy hat seized hold of it shouting HANDS UP in the loud empty voice that God
employs when speaking to chickens—and everything trembles and the tornado twisted
the steel and birds were falling thunderstruck from the sky
And the tornado having suffered the provinces of the memory rich debris of the executed
spat from a sky stored full of judgments everything trembled for a second time the twisted
steel was retwisted
And the tornado that had gobbled up like a flight of frogs its herd of roofs and chimneys noisily exhaled a thought the prophets had never known how to divine

–Aimé Fernand David Césaire (26 June 1913 – 17 April 2008)

–Translation A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman via

–Photo via


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