by Jamie Reid
In the hidden gravel courtyard of your semi-famous former mansion at Montmartre, today musicians play some amplified flamenco, well-dressed revellers play at bowls, tossing balls high into the air.
In the grassy lane adjacent to this stone-walled courtyard, the strolling tourist comes upon a dark and leafy bower overgrown with branches.
Within this darkened grove, there sits immovably a lump of indiscernible matter, almost as tall as a man, as wide and as thick as a man is tall.
At first glance, and even afterwards neither eyes nor fingers can easily discern if this pocked and pitted presence is animal, vegetable or mineral, a meteorite fallen from the sky, a 12 ton bit of worthless metal slag, or something entirely hybrid, entirely in-between.
There it sits, disconsolate, hidden, isolate, covered with droppings from the surrounding branches, with dust, bits of dried leaves, dessicated fronds, the webs of touring insects.
Some few steps beyond this secret copse, the pathway opens to a set of stairs. In the distance against the silver-pale evening sky, the Eiffel Tower, the solitary upraised finger of an iron skeleton beneath the city's surface.
A moment of eerie freedom seizes me,
Author's Note: Approximate Man was the name of Tzara's most important collection of poetry, written in the years after the notoriety he gained as the youthful wild publicist of the Dada movement. When Dada subsided, as it was bound to do, Tzara's life, before, during and after World War II, was dedicated to the anti-fascist cause in France. He gave life long service to the literary and plastic arts as a citizen of Paris. Among his many unsung deeds was his service as a Deputy in the French National Assembly following the war, and his assistance in bringing Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot to the stage in Paris in its first appearance.
you sometimes wonder what tomorrow will be
soaked in the salt liquor of the air wedged between the lands
you never wonder what
in this instant which could not await your answer and flees
from Tristan Tzara, Approximation