Swans Commentary » swans.com November 1, 2010  



Whatever Blues


by Marie Rennard


Short Story



(Swans - November 1, 2010)  

"A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I'll tell some day your latent births"

This is Rimbaud.

That sentence is so perfectly beautiful: "I'll tell some day your latent births"


"This one had blue eyes. The kind of blue eyes that seem to hold in all the poetry, all the dreams and hopes and happiness of the world."

I've got blue eyes too.

Is that Maupassant?

Yes, I think that's it. It was in a short story.


"The weather's blue and fine
The weather is today
The weather's blue and fine
And I was born today
And if you want to know my name
My name is blue Iris."

Claudel, I'm sure of it. It's one of my favourites.


"My grandfather had as a cook a cordon bleu"...

George Sand.

Surprising it comes back to my mind. I'm not so fond of rural literature.


"Could Miss Bluestocking, sprawled in her chair again in the back of the classroom, repeat the theorem I've just enounced..."

Bluestocking: woman who has literary pretensions.

This math teacher has vocabulary. That's quite rare among this sort of whiteys. They're generally not able even to write properly any basic sentence.

"You hasn't worked"

That's what the lapidary squared fool of last year wrote on my last copy.

Their mathematics make me sick.

There's something strange, when you think about it.

There are never enough teachers in German or French, I couldn't learn Russian nor Arab last year because teachers were lacking, but math teachers, we still have enough.

"Still enough for me, honey,
Still enough."

Come on, three common words, and I'm on the road again, looking for blues in poems, summer skies, in subtle lilac dreams.

The math teacher is insisting. A modern Hannibal, climbed on his grey elephant, he's rushing to me through the classroom. I've read how Romans escaped this sort of rushes, and a funny variant has just come to my mind. I slightly push my table on his way, and his run ends on the metallic hook of my desk.

His knee will be blue tomorrow.

It's always the same. As soon as my French teacher gives me a new theme to fly to clouds, my brain plugs on it and loses all other connections until I've driven the final point on my paper.

Yesterday, he suggested that I work on any adjective I would like. To make a whole story of it. I went out of his office without hearing the end of his purpose. I had already climbed on board.

He's used to it. It makes him smile. He says I'm blues minded. That's why I chose this adjective. But I first have to remember how others used it.

There's no minor word.

I could have chosen a sesquipedalian adjective. One and a half miles long. It would have been far too easy, and restrictive.

I could have chosen vermiform, tentacular or gossiping, even avuncular.

But they were locked. Interesting but locked. Except for tentacular. This one may be more interesting than locked.

Well, anyway, I've chosen blue. That's one in which you can write the story of a life, of a world.

Boris Vian wrote "Red grass." So beautiful.

I still can remember how he defined passion.

"Passion only exists in the brutal union of bodies when one of those bodies is eager for something he's deprived of, and the other one fully owns"

That's why he chose the red. Because it's the substantive of passion, of emotions rushing through flows of blood, and passion is as essential as dream. There are no minor words, but there are major ones.

The math teacher has gone back to his blackboard. His attack was just a feint aiming at threatening me with his unbending geometries, square demonstrations, his rigorous logic,


Stop it my brain, you're forgetting what you're here for.

You were trying to find blue tinges in your memory. You were thinking of Boris Vian.

He must have written something blue in his poems...

It gets me nuts when I can't remember.

It ended with "I want a life in form of you
And I've got it, but it is still not enough
I'm never happy."

Where was the blue?


"Can Miss Bluestocking give us the solution?"

Fucking bastard. We're in October and he has already poisoned my life for at least six months since early September.

Does he still ignore that a solution wrecks a human more than any uncertainty?

That was in "Red grass" too. But if I tell this to him, I'll have to go and explain to the headmaster, who's already fed up with my assiduity to meeting him.

Anyway, what's the point of discussing uncertainty with a math teacher?

Fly-killing blue. That's not the one I was looking for. This one I read in an English novel. Dry bones, of Beard. Why does it come out now? I know. Math teachers enjoy fucking flies.

What was Vian's one?

Here it is.

"I want a life in the shape of a fishbone
Lying on a blue plate."

I think I've looked enough in other's blues now.

I've got some of Rimbaud, Claudel, Maupassant, Vian, Sand, and even an English one.

So many different blues. I can start sharpening my own one to write it down, carefully choosing the tinge. Turquoise and Faraway Islands, forget-me-nots and poetry, eiderdown and reed pipe blues...

I'll have to wait; the bell is ringing the end of the barbarian tyranny. That's recess time. This morning mum gave me a chocolate wrapped in blue paper.

After the English lesson, I'll go to the Café des Arts.

I'll sit on the bench where it's dark and write my blue story.

A story about Europe, with stars around. I'll put inside a milky way, still waters, a pinhead fish, and a dead Christ, a violet and a blue fox...

Or maybe a pinhead Christ and a dead fish, depending on my beliefs of the moment.

One could find very funny things about Christ and fishes, but I do not feel like kidding today. I don't know why, I'm having very serious thoughts about life.

I've taken my notebook in my bag to throw my blues into it before I forget about some.

I'll add a dash of dandelion blue, kids who've never seen northern ice, a bit of the sky, a Picasso, lavender and delft, cobalt and blue-green algae, and,

I didn't reach my place in the Café des Arts.

I was lost in my thoughts and did not see the school bus coming, yelling its fun.

It knocked mine down.

Why did I choose a blue story?

I'm lying in a red pond, with people gesturing around. I can even see this scum of a math teacher. Some woman I have never seen before is holding my head, melting tears to my blood.

That's stupid; I was mistaken about the colour.

The bus was a green one.

What can I remember about green before I leave?

Hurry up my brain; I won't have time to check at the library...

Rimbaud, of course:

"A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I'll tell some day your latent births"

That sentence is so perfectly beautiful: "I'll tell some day your latent births"

And the grapes of La Fontaine: "Too green, just good to be eaten by churls"

The wormwood of poets,

And this one of Giono.

"Night will soon be there: the sky is green, the clouds, from slight pink, are now becoming blue..."


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art16/marier54.html
Published November 1, 2010