If you want to get to the heaven
Of the little bourgeois, you must go
By the road of Art for Art's sake
And swallow a lot of saliva:
The apprenticeship is almost interminable.

A list of what you must learn how to do:

Tie your necktie artistically
Slip your card to the right people
Polish shoes that are already shined
Consult the Venetian mirror
(Head-on and in profile)
Toss down a shot of brandy
Tell a viola from a violin
Receive guests in your pajamas
Keep your hair from falling
And swallow a lot of saliva.

Best to have everything in your kit.
If the wife falls for somebody else
We recommend the following:
Shave with razor blades
Admire the Beauties of Nature
Crumple a sheet of paper
Have a long talk on the phone
Shoot darts with a popgun
Clean your nails with your teeth
And swallow a lot of saliva.

If he wants to shine at social gatherings
The little bourgeois
Must know how to walk on all fours
How to smile and sneeze at the same time
Waltz on the edge of the abyss
Deify the organs of sex
Undress in front of a mirror
Rape a rose with a pencil
And swallow tons of saliva.

And after all that we might well ask:
Was Jesus Christ a little bourgeois?

As we have seen, if you want to reach
The heaven of the little bourgeois,
You must be an accomplished acrobat:
To be able to get to heaven,
You must be a wonderful acrobat.

And how right the authentic artist is
To amuse himself killing bedbugs!

To escape from the vicious circle
We suggest the acte gratuite:

Appear and disappear
Walk in a cataleptic trance
Waltz on a pile of debris
Rock an old man in your arms
With your eyes fixed on his
Ask a dying man what time it is
Spit in the palm of your hand
Go to fires in a morning coat
Break into a funeral procession
Go beyond the female sex
Lift the top from that tomb to see
If they're growing trees in there
And cross from one sidewalk to the other
Without regard for when or why
. . . For the sake of the word alone
. . . With his movie-star mustache
. . . With the speed of thought . . .


translated by James Laughlin
traducido por James Laughlin

en: Antipoems: New and Selected (edited by David Unger), New York, New Directions, 1985.


SISIB - Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades - Universidad de Chile