top of page

Permanently  exiled



language was my home

permanently exiled


lightning bold

simply taken away

Aphasia she was it

buffeted by the stroke

dented she left me


thinking nonetheless


blown away

Foreign Accent would be funny Syndrome

Isn’t at all

should be in love with every word that tumbles over my lip

but I’m not

make a rap to the rhythm the she slapped on me

hit Aphasia back

I envy your speech

gushing effortlessly

not from my lips j'ai honte

weep wordless tears


kicked out

language was my home

Aphasia and accomplice Agraphia

it was them

barriers everywhere


words play hide and seek with me


on my mental tongue

knew the word a moment ago

will not let this get me down



perception round the corner


I listened into myself in vain

caves of dark awareness


seek and believe to be finding

again nothing

sitting tensely like

cat on the hunt




persevering writing

verbal in dream state

rolling here and there barriers

wanting to render thoughts to spoken

thoughts to writing

les paroles m'échappent

away gone

but I know

they are somewhere in my memory

which has its own mind



water from the river Lethe

Aphasia she was it

flooded my speech memory

had to sieve through it

for fragments and remnants

only they did not fit into what I wanted to say

words were there

but not when I needed them

logomantic or logomanducation

catch algae instead of words



Erato the muse

trickled from phial

Water of the river Mnemosyne

in my ear

mazing myself

through a tremendous labyrinth

to de-declare forgetfulness

awaken hedges

invoke recollection


intricate view compression

skin of consciousness

language is my identity

at least it was

now I bawl again


thinking thoughts

still goes

en m'accrochant aux paroles

fluttering thoughts wishing to be sound

whirring behind my lips


wordless structures

giving space to


word crystallizing

word sound should

be nailed down but

pursuit of letters


sunlight creeping in

poetry protects me

like my breath



to a spoken word

thinking lets its silence go

invisibility dispersed

into sonic spaciousness

concept of pre- or extra linguistic thought

the proof of the pudding that’s me

my thinking

did not let itself be impressed

by Aphasia nor Agraphia

and thought spaciously


elicitation of a word

hermeneutics of my thinking


it resides somewhere

that word which I’m after

I knew it before

can track it down

for sure

running-board of my thoughts

one sentence-leap to another

tickled out deep-sea semantics


now Onomastician

in all languages that I knew

translating thought

cross-fertilization of my languages

my linguistic landscape

langue maternelle française

switching to Swiss German

somewhen English, Italian, Spanish

up to this distinct day

unwelcome guest Aphasia

Brula tous mes paroles ainsi que le chant and writing


burning scorching pillaging

I began to bend nevertheless

my tongue on each letter


in English now

could say my second mother tongue

monosyllabic disyllabic then three-syllabic

reading as bannister for my tongue

in the see of spoken language I used ice floes

jumping intermittently from one to another

which is considered as otherness


fragmentized word seeking

transformed circumscribing

what is reflected in language

I can’t express with it

quoting Wittgenstein

neither can I

for a different reason

polyphonic forked tongue

Fata Morganaesque word formations

Fantôme de parole

my speech goes walk-about


my language vest has small holes

purling accent

in each of my re-found languages

palimpsestic speech

sick of constant ‘where-are-you-from’

white lies instead the tale of woe

rewording does not matter

when they take me as Dutchwoman

me the stateless

reason Aphasia

belonging to more than one tongue


voices of the brain orchestra

verbalisation funnel

computer dictionaries for writing

amalgamate utterance by sound

alliteration guessing game



Agraphia's barriers

word packing processes

word that goes away when I need it

and exchanges its shadow


thought of written matter


funnel-like tunnel

feeling my way for weightless sounding bodies

in my thoughts they were resonating about

should prod myself

poking for word-bats

walking through word-empty streets of language-suburbs

then tapps on my shoulder

quite timidly the word after which

I was searching not so long ago

©  Corinne Othenin-Girard   06.2016 translated into English                      

bottom of page