Excerpt In Translation


by Nicholas Giguère

Hamac, 2017


if i had enough money

i’d create my own TV channel

i’d state my kinks loud and clear in public

by declaring at the beginning of the news report

that i love being fisted by a cigar-smoking daddy

or face-fucked by a dude with no teeth

i’ll do everything to make sex the headline news

it would make a change from the narratives

stamped as


a bunch of gays sporting feathers

bearing the colours of the rainbow

(a flag at half-mast a flag to burn)

are shaking it off on a parade float

Mado Lamotte is reading her own shade

because she exhausted every other possible subject

Jasmin Roy and Laurent McCutcheon

are queer-bashing

on national television

a couple trying to adopt for years now

parades their Chinese daughter in front of the camera, with great emotion

the reporter spoke as if it was

the latest IKEA furniture

hurry: limited quantities available

the head of a not-for-profit can’t get funding anymore

too bad if the organization dies

as long as the lottery corporation stays in the black

the house is not on fire


the same disgusting image

over and over

of sterilized


controlled and approved by the CRTC

because our society is becoming more open





i’m losing it

i’m seriously losing it



oftentimes can be reduced to zero tolerance

systematic repression

it’s wanting to secure your place in heaven

without using an elevator

(earthly paradise is so much better)

it’s joining the pantheon of charity and hypocrisy

believe in our words and in our product

and you’ll be sanctified

praise the Lord if it suits you

it’s cultivating duplicity and keeping your poker face on

the dark side of the moon

intentions pure like blood diamonds

it’s accepting someone’s difference

that would normally not be accepted

it’s having to compromise

for want of anything better

putting up with

to make do with someone or something

that pisses you off

that you have no choice but to accept

whatever we do let’s not offend Joe Sixpack

or sometimes our loved ones

but they are ancillary at best

we mustn’t upset our neighbours and the ordinary

being happy is what’s important

no name


we tolerate Mondays

we tolerate winter mornings

when the first toe to step on the frozen floor

warns us it’s going to be a good day

to die

we tolerate the ads during our favourite shows

but God

in his great wisdom

invented the remote control

so we change channels

we tolerate the checkout lines at Wal-Mart

but i have to admit i prefer to leave the store

to fire my gun into the air

like a Texas redneck let down by Bush’s


we tolerate bruised and rotten fruit from the supermarket

prices going up

we tolerate our neighbours making an unholy racket

when they fuck

which reminds us that we never fuck

or at least not as often as we would like to

our sex life is like Marie-Hélène Thibert

oh-so disappointing

we tolerate the upstairs neighbours

who are once again hosting a party we weren’t invited to

as usual there is no room left

for lowly losers like us

we tolerate the downstairs neighbour

who smokes like a chimney

and who calls the police like a clueless fuck

because we moved a chair at 8 pm

and he heard it

we tolerate Coldplay’s singer wailing

Bono pouting

world champion for socially acceptable


just because he wrote songs for poor people


it doesn’t stop him pocketing millions

and showing up all over the media in his sunglasses

looking arrogant à la Stephen Harper

we tolerate trash radio

soap operas

Pimp My Ride

pimp your boyfriend your dad your mom

pimp your girlfriend

pimp your face pimp your life

we tolerate the dirty old men who leer at us

the old ladies counting their change at the supermarket

pulling out millions of discount vouchers from their giant purses

we tolerate hazing on campuses

we tolerate the Liberal government

underfunded universities

we tolerate pollution

the dissipating atmosphere

wars started for no good reason

or because of the bogeyman

we tolerate all kinds of waste

and widespread shortages

we tolerate margarine when there’s no butter

instant noodles and Kraft Dinner at the end of the month

or all of the time if you’re a student

we tolerate traffic jams on Pont Champlain

potholes that wreck the car

we tolerate the neverending Québec winter

the summer that never comes

we tolerate cashflow problems that prevent us from travelling

from vacationing in the Caribbean

from pissing off the brother-in-law by buying a house bigger than his

we tolerate ATVs and motocross

on streets and highways

we tolerate most of our failures

at least those we forgot

we tolerate arugula at every turn in restaurants

we tolerate douchebags and their chicks in tracksuits

we tolerate douchebags, period

we tolerate people freaking out about their grades and the pass mark

we tolerate mock chicken

we tolerate the end of every semester

final exams before Santa Claus and the turkey on the 24th

our botched papers

we tolerate Michèle Richard

at best Denise Bombardier

we tolerate people talking at the top of their voice

especially those who do it to show off

retards who can’t piss straight in public bathrooms

boring but necessary jobs that put food on the table

socialite poets

we tolerate the disgusting and overpriced food on campus

we tolerate the sun when it shines too bright

our crazy lives

we tolerate Jehovah’s Witnesses when they knock on the door on Sunday morning

if we are less tolerant we kick them out

we tolerate stray cats

sometimes we adopt them

we tolerate our lack of a sex life


we tolerate the fact that our weekends are spent wiping up

we tolerate winners but still resent those motherfuckers

we tolerate losers but still find them so, so boring

we tolerate Liza Frulla

we tolerate sales assistants who greet us as soon as we step into the drug store

dirt roads in the middle of nowhere and happy idiots

(blessed are the poor in spirit for i forgot what comes next)

people who happily share around their pneumonia, not covering their mouths as they cough

we tolerate drivers who don’t stop at red lights and almost run over pedestrians

we tolerate Cabinet ministers

we tolerate the lack of sleep

a friend’s depression

but we make sure he understands

that we can’t do anything for him

if he doesn’t help himself first

we tolerate garbage collectors who wake us up every morning

we tolerate our lame father-in-law

we laugh grudgingly with a stupid smile

we bite our cheeks to avoid calling him a windbag

we tolerate our mother-in-law and her mind-numbingly boring dinner parties

the pork roast ogling us

while the mashed potatoes and the peas drown in brown sauce

we tolerate Tout le monde en parle

we tolerate Jean Pascal’s boxing matches

we tolerate people who squander public money

people who screw us over back and forth

people who bring out their litany of boy scout excuses

every time they feel cornered

when they appear before the Charbonneau Commission

we even give them a big pat on the back

like they do in sports teams

a pat on the back like frat bros

like members of a gang who have killed more than once

we tolerate fruit cakes

mint chocolate ice cream

we tolerate late buses

we tolerate sugar cravings

that make us eat Baker’s baking chocolate

we tolerate gender roles

dividing up housework

the growing gap between rich and poor

the hole in the ozone layer

(hang on

i’m being told

that it’s healing)

we tolerate ignorance

but we don’t forgive people who educate themselves

they always know too much, anyways

we tolerate religions

what would we do without them

a bunch of atoms crazed and frightened

at the prospect of the body

of matter


we tolerate roadworks

rising airfares

if your baggage weighs more than 20 kilos

expect to be ejected mid-flight

thank you for travelling with Air Canada

we tolerate shamisen music in Asian restaurants

it gives us the impression that a wise elder

is always strumming the same three or four strings

as we stuff our faces with imperial rolls

and fried sesame balls

and we escape reality for a while

we tolerate scumbags who curse in public

to make up for a lack of vocabulary

we tolerate greasy-haired people

we tolerate Éric Salvail

we tolerate famines

selling water to the highest bidder

child soldiers

destruction in every shape and form

injustice everywhere

we tolerate deadlines


we tolerate slush under our boots

we tolerate intolerance

we tolerate the intolerable

we even finance it

we claim it

like a jewel an opera singer would wear to a sumptuous gala

we tolerate the whole lot of it


but since when do we have to tolerate homosexuality


i want fuck all to do with a society that tolerates me

just like we tolerate

an ear infection

a verruca

a sore throat that we try to cure with Vicks

if i wanted to be cured

i would always be high on ecstasy

at least i would be having a good time


i don’t give a damn about a society

that sees me as a tourist attraction

a circus freak from the 1930s

a monstrosity wheeled out for Sunday strollers

who throw peanuts at me

and whistle their excitement and surprise


i’m a cocksucker

and the Earth goes around the Sun.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Pierre-Luc Landry