pro bono, in rem

we all owe something to our profession. this is an attempt to pay my debt. the verse are from an obscure musical, where they were sung by a great actor, now gone, with his unique smoker’s voice. of course, they’re not much without the music. the prosody – not just the meters, also the accents, i’m quite proud of it – is accurate, so this translation could be perfectly sung. if someone knew the tune.

but i doubt anybody does, so my hope that this poem actually reaches a soul is rather dim. that’s why, like a prosecutor who doesn’t know who to accuse, i’m launching an inquiry in rem.

i wish i had

wish i had not

wish be

a cactus


midst the dunes

in my eyes sand

in my hair sand

and cry out loud: tanaaaaan-tanaaaaan

and wish i’d be

i don’t know what

walk out at night

just like a tramp

count all the stars at the zenith

and get frost bit

and wish

to be

on a big ship

killed stupidly by a half-wit

that shot a bullet in my skull

mistaking me for

else at all

and when they will

be sure

i rest in peace

that i get back

and blow a sneeze

(and when the loony tune ends, you hear the vigorous chords of beethoven’s ‘ode an die freude’)

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