Hommage de M. Erik Satie à Soi-Même

by Robert Stein

I am unaware I drink absinthe and drinking absinthe am unaware.
Suzanne has asked me what I am about, why I prefer furniture to music
and ham to any furniture.
My mother shook me awake every morning. So Suzanne, I say
it is the kind of love that is rhythmic, tender, surprising and hurtful.
‘Suzanne I see you’re leaving me’ is scored for three pianos and a piece
          of ham.
Very fatty ham, endless white ham. It puts me in mind of clouds, of
          the white
close-prison-shaved skin my father had; his epaulettes; his sword.
          The white
hoods of the Ordre de la Rose-Croix Canteloupe de Temple et du Graal
which I am reputed to have founded.
Thank you for reputing that, Suzanne.

My last work I fear is this: Relâche or Cancelled.
My lungs, kidneys, heart, all is cancelled black on white.
In the Pièce Imaginière (to be composed after my death),
In the Pièce Imaginière (to be drunk with a glass of white absinthe,
the drums twirl and skirl like my father’s moustache,
drill like that epée darting at me – ha!

In the air where the pieces I haven’t written fall.
In the order of drunk, fallen-into-the-sea churches which
I will repute Claude has founded, in –

In the absence of absinthe I will drive the Citroën 45 times
around in circles as on Relâche the curtain falls.

I will write 7,000 pieces, some with my eyes shut,
out of the nonsense and noise skidding in my head;
ignoring the epée sticking out of my head;
after the pounding and bruit and Suzanne going in the white car.

And I will shake myself out of bed, shake you Suzanne,
shake everyone in the Bois du Boulogne out of
the ballet you’ve come for though I said it was cancelled,
out of whatever pyramid of people
you believe families are and out of rectangular dinner-tables

the kind of love that is tender in its absence, that is
sudden and iceberg-white, that is like being hit by snow
or finding the dinner-table gone and an orchestra there.

Going back to your lamp-lit home and the orchestra still there.
Ah Suzanne I do not understand it myself, so I will say it again.