Rosmarie Waldrop, trans.
From: Fachsprachen I-IX
Looking languidly at a pair of tin snips, and then deciding to call them tin snips — what a burst of glory! —Donald Barthelme
(1) talent in rut
(2) abruptly herder appeared
(3) i feel as in a zipper's
(4) that it's precisely not OK
(5) proposition: only what's pickled
(6) all ears especially
(7) knowing such disdoings
(8) beautiful like: latent snap decayward
(9) came a man talked improbability
talent in rut the artier foreign pseudo-
prop gali or matias like cognates like
consorts not honey to dialect ears: they
mangle phonemes chaste and german
pondering this yet WANT in spite of
and/or signs of break-down IT: shall
then for agit's sake the anti (i.e. now)
though quasi's barely born flounder
in meaning-mania scarcely veiled as
long as glyph stands among runes? the
author's last osmosis unmuzzles hiero/
ditto pidgin manuscripts: so torted dis
like ball's "goramen" as well as latent
INDO-WANT: go roll yourself a syllable
play horse to foreign carts to intro-
ducing mix-o-lydian (where disparate
particles demonstrate non-success:
the innermost mongolia/the uttermost-
ly prickly beard) the hermeneuts of art
however construe IT as rather diffident
and dank what actually (what actually
"exists but at the moment of its
simulation") should after all be called
methinks — and so still pondering all this...
abruptly herder appeared together with job
to diaper the oceans as babies one does.
speaking as from the times of sirach that
some remains of essence forced the hybrid
toward hameln like a ram in a storm.
("arsenals of snow and hail/sky water-
ways — who would like that?") confuses
you of course: where's the salvation! that's
why about a hundred years of bauhaus
were leaning at the bar to cuss it dis. of
which we got to hear a rare: discourse
gone long in the extreme. so even they!
dream of the orient. sings and answers
questions. was there war in the street?
flamingoes in fruitfight always futuristic-
perfect. thereafter years on the job stooped —
"crossing gate"— on the rail embankment:
he on the contrary noticed lack of such.
here was the point to end stillborn creation
so-called. says herder and describes it
further: who could and would compose
like these? says herder maybe after all: i
hardly can imagine such a thing. yet crimi-
nal the attempt at same is nevertheless not.
i feel as in a zipper's teeth: to die. and
in quotation to be burning vie. and say.
but he maintains to: the bitter end. we'll
just go live in pomerania. we'll just go
light the pumpkin. urns to us upon my
word autistic. however nightly the owl's
flight the threat is scarcely less for it.
quite on the contrary. taught goethe
years ago that if the fox is dead what
matters is his hide. and that the thumb
is means to grasp not just part of the
hand. and "please in your bond of wound"
let not him buried be in his skin. for
first let this be to his credit: to omit the
rarara of bonding as also stated by third
parties: for once we're saddled in for it.
viz. secondly. so. arises the question if it
helps to nail the badger his pelt on the
wall. of his burrow the hunters by the way
not. rather the urgent wish to have it all
promptly settled. so. i feel as palliative:
my appointment. for life on foot. high-
strung bow-string. or more sassily: it all
fits in one jar. seen from sufficiently afar.
that it's precisely not OK: not to
see the murky. when it's right there.
means milk maybe but suddenly
brings up opaque. this by hear-say
at the time westphalia (bochum). still
hardly like much else alas alas. the
point of fact remained a dirty river
(emscher). and what I took for such.
a beer-jaunt. burned-out torches above
the ruhr. always thirsty in the dark. alone
in the cellar the finisters. (they alone
luminous. kept hidden from the eye.)
that sweet is murkiness to human
sight. a sign of grace. and yes in this
way much like beer: today shalt be
with me in paradise. thou art my kindl.
to shelter the murk from greedy eyes.
cellar. certain infringements taking place.
"and yet were once..." and not divorced
as long as content promised cover.
but look: all inner effervescence gone!
unhandsome dead that's what we'll
be. naturally conceivable to wallow
in the murk. natural conceivably.
proposition: only what's pickled in like
brine will be as nine-eyes is to blind
(i.e. as if the eucharist) — test: palate
on dried cod for who has eyes to see
as an example how maybe "ass" was said
in gettysburg and meant the landlord/
even as a child he knew 'twas rats
they ate on board and he'd not be the
first to eat the salt to lick the antlers
certainly scratch udders for the milk-
idea: a whirring wire pulled through
low-fat cheese idea of being conscripted
to: yes hunger when stockpails run dry
and burst with vinegar and just as now
it seems back then everything got
rated by how suited for the stockpot
(verdict — the skinnier ones might
remember — almost always positive)
notice too the gnashing of teeth in the
process: he sucked on rotting wetness
(the most tender-hearted may well empa-
thize: the first mate's belly was the last
to disappear cost-lost on the upper edge
of the frame.) proposition: for he had.
all ears especially as they of course
never came from outside but still were
definitely heard as can be checked: "we
here need to appease a yellow" he hears
and later they say does it. for heaven's
sake then to encourage (with image-
blind compulsion) a bright red you may
in matters of black on white be sure of
inspiration: he'll lure the gray OK. to
listen to obey the urge (in words:
wait for commands to surge) to loop
the rope around the lantern and be
granted to unmope. does he already
feel the fine thread's tender tie/the
strong rope's goodly shade from one
ear to it will be asked: the other?
all neck in these affinities elective
hardly. triple to ever more gordian the
knot of almost theft of a crust of bread
and never touch. in plain speech: properly
secular equals "can be got by ruse."
poaching in foreign fields incriminated
as NULL-ART/the diagnosis hurts:
case of attempted infiltration-fraud.
knowing such disdoings whimpering "-turbance"
that in malchow where although in bed we
dreamed: of sitting on a chair. so that (some
people's dreams are grand!) "inwardly
stirred but outwardly tied like gulliver"
(yet to be proven: turbance means storm
of stimuli) some rain came down WHICH
— mecklenburger mercy shower/we
guess the point — WAS VERY DRY. and yet
fell under rain. and in reverse the reverse
is just as likely: thought of chair beats
condition of bed. and sleeping under such.
knowing of clenched "muscles did not
make an undue bulge in the suit" so that
strangely — coming from güstrow now—
we felt: we were inside one skin/we
threatened: to succumb to influence. how
it all then slipped away. (intrudes the
memory of the tin snip. remains to say of
what.) glass-hard presentiment takes root:
every thing must bear a name. its appelation.
therefore muscles chair and bed. if we how-
ever is uncertain. last period punched in
tin. something to chew on for some time.
beautiful like: latent snap decayward —
because abstract. horrible like the death
screams of hedgehogs as they fade into
the night. that's what the new poetry
is like. there was a time when man
rather at one with fear grew pale in
all the colors of the garden. and birds
with grief dropped from the trees.
dreadful like: headlong into cod —
because concrete. ("do you consider
my methods morbid?" "sir, i can't discern
no method anywhere!") refrain:
beautiful's not the beautiful phrase.
beautiful's not the beauti... ad libitum.
beautiful is the chopping of chickens.
but not religion for all that. whereas:
"made to beat like a fake heart in a real
animal's real body"— because this
sounds german. the cleaning of fish. the
reaping of robins. the sagging of hose
(says r.) — concrete it's not but possible
if only because the song moves us
to tears? beautiful is only the abstract.
because construct. now all together:
came a man talked improbability and state of
the art. organized himself and the matter to
nearly ninety out of a hundred. which was high
considering how fragile these "constructions
of wire wood and linen IN WHICH THEY FLEW
WITHOUT A PARACHUTE." almost coarse in
comparison says böhme the vessels of the
spirit that mirror the essence of things.
said adam before the fall were laughing mad-
ly and flying through our teeth the blue off
the sky — as against — "'the few who under-
stood something'— of what?" is about how
it will end. (in search of the uncouth word:
alfa. bravo. charlie. delta. echo. echo: they
would so have liked to see the zoo of oulu.
more obscure: let form unmorph i into u —
sometime it works sometime it doesn't.)
came a man talked improbability and state of
the art. carried the germ of it already at this
time. veins aflow with bromine. so he
engendered without offspring. taking
possible for proven. came spoke and stood:
WASPWAISTED WASPLIGHT STILL TRIM
VICIOUS SMALL AND IMMOBILE. contaminated.
In poem (6) "all ears especially as they of course," the poet Otto Nebel speaks several times, particularly in the case of the versuchten einschleich-trugs [attempted infiltration-fraud]. (Author's note)
(1) "goramen:" made-up word in Hugo Ball's Dada poem "caravan."
(2) Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803): German poet, theologian and philosopher. He proposed what is now called the Sapir-Whorf thesis, that language determines thought. He also collected folk songs (Stimmen der Völker in ihren Liedern) and stressed the role of language and folk traditions in creating a nation.
Sirach: The aprocryphal book Ecclesiasticus is attributed to Jesus the son of Sirach.
(6) The poet, painter and actor Otto Nebel (1892-1973), who is quoted in this poem, was part of Dada and the Expressionist circle around the journal Sturm. His books Zuginsfeld (1918) and Unfeig (1923) show him to be a precursor of Concrete and combinatorial poetry. After 1933 he lived in Switzerland.
(9) "Waspwaisted...": description of an airplane in Faulkner's Pylon.