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Melody in A Flat

in the basement the heroine of a Gainsbourg song
on the eighth a top executive smug and cocky
on the first a sexually repressed family of bourgeois
on the seventh Mr. Fix-It getting itchy fingers
on the second a man all alone watching TV
on the sixth an old couple bored as hell
on the third no one home except the dust
on the fifth the gang gets the party started
on the fourth mom tucks her three kids in
on the fourth she sings a lullaby they bawl
in the basement she sits down with her bottle
on the fifth the six-pack opened at last
on the eighth his dynamic left shoulder starts prickling
on the third the dust settles on the furniture
on the first no talking please time to pray
on the sixth husband calls wife an old cunt
on the seventh Mr. Fix-It starts hammering nails
on the second the TV tells tales of fucking
on the second the TV plays music for fucking
on the fourth she whispers while the baby bawls
on the seventh Mr. Fix-It goes on hammering
in the basement she coughs then lights a smoke
on the sixth wife calls husband a fucking cocksucker
on the fifth time for a Public Enemy track
on the first time for mass on the radio
on the eighth time for his transcendental relaxation disc
on the third the dust swishes in the wind
on the third the dust tickles the ghosts’ nostrils
on the second the TV adds spanking to fucking
on the eighth his shoulder digs into his lung
on the fourth she whispers louder the oldest screams
on the first the mass is getting more musical
on the seventh Mr. Fix-It nails nails nails
on the fifth the Public Enemy track starts again
in the basement she stubs out then lights up
on the sixth the cocksucker wants his cock sucked
on the sixth the cunt yells jerk yourself off
on the third atishoo the ghosts suddenly sneeze
in the basement another drink and then she sighs
on the second the TV adds some anal fucking
on the fifth the Public Enemy track comes off
on the eighth his heart races the music snores
on the seventh more nails more nails more nails
on the fourth the middle one whines mom sobs
on the first the music segues into a sermon
on the first the sermon segues into a litany
on the sixth the cocksucker goes off drilling holes
on the fourth all three scream like Mexican whores
on the third ratistoo the flies start sneezing too
on the seventh Mr. Fix-It stomps his foot
in the basement she puts in her iPod earbuds
on the eighth his heart throbs between his toes
on the second the TV shows trembling flesh fucking
on the fifth a chemical dance to Chemical Brothers
on the fifth the neighbors’ protests heard between tracks
on the first the litany segues into the blessing
on the second the TV features pimpled butts fucking
on the sixth the cunt switches on her blender
on the eighth his guts start rising up his throat
on the fourth mom starts to lose her cool
in the basement time for cider on a drip
on the third the flies resettle on their picnic
on the seventh Mr. Fix-It starts drilling too
on the seventh the drill says fuck you too
on the fifth Public Enemy now back and louder
on the third the dust swishes onto the flies
on the first the blessing segues into utter boredom
in the basement Gainsbourg’s voice courses through her mind
on the second the TV pops with pimples fucking
on the fourth she yells that’s enough ENOUGH
on the sixth drilling and blending on and on
on the eighth his heart makes the apartment rumble
on the eighth Etienne Charon dies of a coronary
on the seventh Jean Duparc hits an electric cable
on the sixth Pierrette and Albert take separate beds
on the fifth Jean Virginie Claude sniff more glue
on the fourth Caroline finally gives them a slap
on the third Madame Dussolier feeds flies and maggots
on the second Claude Martin cums from imaginary fucking
on the first Mme Dubreton gets knocked up again
in the basement Melody Nelson empties her last glass

“Mélodie en sous-sol” first published in Plouk Town (Editions Cambourakis, 2007). © Ian Monk. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Ian Monk. All rights reserved.