Filles de joie (Girls of Joy)

Quand je vois ces filles

les statues apparaissent

peuvent-elles faire l’amour ?

est-ce qu’elles se plient,

se brisent ou se plaisent ?

« au suivant »

martèle mon crâne

chaque jour lorsque je vois ces filles

icônes rangées

alors qu’elles n’ont pas dépassé la vingtaine

Extract, “Filles de joie”, by Saida Menebhi, 1977

& Translated by Khadija Zizi under the title “The Prostitutes”:

When I look at these girls,

I see faces with scars;

I see bodies that bear witness to an entire life

Yet they are still under twenty,

These girls who people call prostitutes.

I don’t know why,

But I keep hearing Jacques Brel’s song

In which he hollers “next!”

Forgive my forgetfulness,

Because song titles are

One of those things

That jail erases

When memory becomes frail.


– La gazelle

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