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- The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein - 2/10 -

People might turn around, surprised. Only it's a shame about my silk socks...

Smoke on the Field

Lene Levi went out in the evening, Mincing, her skirt bunched up, Through the long, empty streets Of a suburb.

And she spoke weeping, aching, crazy, Strange words, Which the wind tossed, so that they popped, Like pods.

They made bloody scratches on trees, And, shredded, hung on houses And in these deaf streets died all alone.

Lene Levi went out, until all The roofs made their crooked mouths grimace, And the windows and the shadows Made faces

They had a completely drunken good time-- Until the houses became helpless And the mute city passed Into the broad fields, Which the moon smeared...

Little Lene took out of her pocket A box of cigarettes, Weeping took one Out and smoked.


Paul said:

Ah, but who wouldn't want to drive a car forever-- We burrow our way through high-stemmed woods, We pass by spaces that seem endless. We pass through the wind and attack the towns, which speed up. But the odors of the sluggish cities are hateful to us-- Ah, we are flying! Always alongside death... How we despise and scorn him who sits on our lives! Who lays out graves for us and makes all streets crooked--ha, we laugh at him, and the roads, overcome, die with us-- Thus we shall auto our way through the whole world... Until, on some clear evening We find a violent ending against a sturdy tree.

The Sad Man

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 lady, While an auto cuts me to pieces, so that my head rolls like a red marble 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.

The Turk

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 condition-- 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. For my part, I smile courteously. Ah, I hide Deep under these smiles, as though in a coffin, The terrible, repressed, wise complaints About the fact that we are forced into this existence, Jammed in, firmly and inescapably trapped As though in jail, and we wear chains, Confusing, hard, that we do not understand. And the fact that each man is distant and estranged from himself As though from a neighbor whom he does not know at all, And whose house he has always only seen from the outside. Sometimes, when I am shaving a chin, Knowing that a whole life Is in my power, that I am now master, I, a barber, and that a missed stroke, A slice too deep, cuts off the round, cheerful head That lies before me (he is thinking of a woman, Books, business) from his body, As though it were a loose button on a vest-- I am overcome. Then the feeling came over me... this animal. Is there. The animal... both my knees knock. And like a small boy tearing paper Without knowing why, And like students who kill gas lamps, And like children who turn so red When they tear the wings of captured flies, So I would like to do the same, As if it were a slip, To make a scratch with my knife on such a chin. I would too gladly watch the red stream of blood spray.


A certain Rudolf called out: I have eaten too much. Whether it's healthy is very questionable. After such a greasy lunch I really feel uncomfortable. But I belch beautifully and smoke Cigarettes now and then. Lying on my heavy belly, I chirp nothing but songs of spring.

The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein - 2/10

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