The Lion Tamer Remembers ||| Witness

Translated from French by Andrew S. Nicholson

listen up earthen colors
too late
your laughter eats the sun for rabbits for chameleons
grasp my body between two long lines when famine becomes light sleep sleep we feel so
heavy blue antelope atop glacier we feel heavy ear inside the boarderland’s beautiful
stones— listen to the stone
old cold fishermen on the new letter discover girls balancing on the tightrope and the
cotton candy spinning where bottles are big as white parasols listen roll roll red
in the colonies
remember how the washed-down pharmacy smelled old cleaning woman
green horse and grains
cries flute
luggage fuzzy
menageries oh saw how
you bite
look horizontal


Tristan Tzara was a Romanian poet and one of the founders of Dadaism. His Dada manifestos were key to the development and dissemination of the movement. Tzara’s tumultuous relation with Andre Breton led to Breton breaking from Dadaism and founding Surrealism. Tzara would later write the long poem “Approximate Man” and assist the French Resistance during World War II.

Andrew S. Nicholson is an Assistant Professor-in-Residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the author of A Lamp Brighter than Foxfire (Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University 2015). His poetry has appeared in magazines and journals including Colorado Review, Bitter Oleander, and Eleven Eleven and has been anthologized in New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press).

The Lion Tamer Remembers” by Tristan Tzara as translated from the French by Andrew S. Nicholson originally appeared in Witness, Vol. XXX No. 2 (Summer 2017)

Read more translations of Tristan Tzara from Andrew S. Nicholson in TLR: Babel Fish.