Thursday, 13 November 2014


(A performance piece for a(n ideally French) female with musical accompaniment)

In the valley in which I live there is a zoo;

It is beautiful, but difficult to find.

It is far from any large road

And the signs that advertise its presence are poorly situated.

The zoo is small, but well stocked

The feeding of its inhabitants,

Particularly its carnivores, is expensive.

I learned of the financial challenges during one of my many visits.

I was one of the few visitors

And, after a time, I got to know the owner, a tall man called Didier.

Gentle guitar

We were roughly the same age and both single people,

But we did not become lovers

As he was preoccupied with money problems

And I found him physically repellent

(I have never been fond of tall people).

Harsh Guitar

One day I noticed that next to the animals' names on the descriptive labels

There was a price tag:

20 euros for a Dwarf Goat

15 for a plum-headed parakeet

200 for a yak

5 for a Malaysian Giant Land Snail

And so on

I was immediately concerned that someone would buy the animals

And deprive me of their company

So I bought what I could;

I bought the aforementioned

And a Wild Pig.

Having nowhere to put the animals I was obliged to leave them there.

I continued to buy animals during ensuing visits,

Gradually selling off my extensive collection of 18th century chinoiserie,

Until I had bought all the zoo's residents -

Even a Giraffe, whose extreme height I found particularly unappealing.


At first Didier was delighted

He suddenly found himself with money, he bought himself a small and sporty car,

Though he rarely drove it as it could not carry bales of hay or buckets of offal.

To feed the many animals, none of which were now his, he continued to use his van

In which he would roar up and down the valley


Even though his business was saved and he had a sporty car

Didier resented the fact that the animals were no longer his,

The animals seemed to sense this, even the Ostrich,

That tall and dim-witted bird.


The creatures would gather around when I neared their enclosures;

When Didier approached they shied away

As if they knew he had betrayed them.

It didn't help that I had taught the assorted parrots and macaws to say “Hello Odile” -

For my name is Odile.


I would take them titbits,

Choice collations I would create at home

Much preferable to hay and offal.

This proved to be the last straw for Didier

Who said I was making the animals' diet unbalanced

And barred me from visiting the zoo

Despite my being the establishment's only season ticket holder.

Sad Guitar

I countered his action by standing on some high ground upwind of the zoo

And raising my arms in order to better disseminate

A heavy perfume, “Dolce Vita” by Dior, that I habitually wear

And that the animals associated with treats.

As soon as they detected my scent

The zoo's inmates grew restless

The lion growled -


And roared -

Louder Guitar

The Hyenas cackled -

Chaotic Guitar

The elephant trumpeted -

No guitar

And so on.

Eventually, as a consequence of the cacophony,

Didier was obliged to lift the ban.

To tell the truth I felt a little sorry for him

He was looking stooped, shorter... more attractive...


As a gesture of reconciliation

I taught the Mynah bird to say, “Hello Didier”.

Didier seemed touched by this and we have since become closer.


In the afternoons, after Didier has finished his rounds,

We sometimes stroll through the zoo together.

There is rarely anyone else around,

But we never feel alone

What with all the “Hello Odile”s and the “Hello Didier”,

And the roar of the lion


And the cackling of the hyenas


And the trumpeting of the elephant

No guitar