No, I have no capacity for life.
I could be considered foolish—
Today I am not going to the restaurant.
I am after all this time weary of the waiters,
Who scornfully bring us, with their smug grimaces,
Dark beer and make us so confused
That we cannot find our home
And we must
Use the foolish street lights
To prop ourselves up
with weak hands.
Today I have bigger things in mind—
Ah, I shall find out the meaning of existence.
And in the evening I shall do some roller skating
Or go at some point to Temple.
Here is the way I shall die:
It’s dark. And it has rained.
But you can no longer detect the imprint of the clouds
Which up there cover the sky in soft silk.
All streets are flowing, black mirrors,
Over the piled up houses, where streetlights,
Strings of pearls, hang shining.
And high above thousands of stars are flying,
Silver insects, around the world—
I am among them. Somewhere.
And sunken, I watch very seriously, somewhat pale,
But rather thoughtful about the refined, heavenly blue legs of a
While an auto cuts me to pieces, so that my head rolls like a red
At her feet...
She is surprised. And swears like a lady. And kicks it
Haughtily with the dainty heel
Of her little shoe
Into the gutter.
A totally perverse Turk bought for himself,
Out of grief for the recent death
Of plump Fatme, his favorite wife,
From his white-slaver, two former mannequins, in quite good
You could almost say: brand new—
Just imported from France.
When he had them, he sang, in celebration of himelf:
Sit down on my thighs.
Hold me around my loins.
With your sweet tongues
Stroke my tearful cheeks.
Ah, you have such beautifully bejeweled
Eyes and such clear hands,
Weariest of my wives,
And such long, gentle legs.
Tomorrow I buy six pairs of new
Stockings of the thinnest silk
As well as very small, black silk shoes.
And in the evening you will dance
Soft, false dances
In the new silk shoes
And new silk stockings.
In the garden. In the sun.
Close to the water.
But at night I’ll have you whipped
By four smiling eunuchs.
Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Barber
I stand this way on cloudy winter days
From dawn to dusk and I soap heads,
Shave them and powder them and speak
Indifferent words, stupid, foolish.
Most heads are completely shut,
They sleep limply. And others read again
And look slowly through long lids,
As though they had sucked everything dry.
Still others open the red cracks of their mouths wide
And tell jokes.