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THE GAS HEART

 

BY TRISTAN TZARA

Translated by Michael Benedikt

 

CHARACTERS

 

EYE

MOUTH

NOSE

EAR

NECK

EYEBROW

 

ACT I

 

(Neck stands downstage, Nose opposite, confronting the audience. All the other characters enter and leave as they please. The gas heart walks slowly around, circulating widely; it is the only and greatest three-act hoax of the century; it will satisfy only industrialized imbeciles who believe in the existence of men of genius. Actors are requested to give this play the attention due a masterpiece such as Macbeth or Chantecler, but to treat the author-who is not a genius with no respect and to note the levity of the script which brings no technical innovation to the theatre.)

 

EYE: Statues jewels

roasts statues jewels roasts

statues jewels roasts statues jewels roasts

statues jewels roasts

and the wind open to mathematical allusions

cigar pimple nose

cigar pimple nose

cigar pimple nose

cigar pimple nose

cigar pimple nose

cigar pimple nose

he was in love with a stenographer

eyes replaced by motionless navels

mister mygod is an excellent journalist

inflexible yet acquatic a good-morning was drifting in the air

what a sad season

 

MOUTH: The conversation is lagging isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it.

MOUTH: Very lagging, isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it?

MOUTH: Naturally, isn't it?

EYE: Obviously, isn't it?

MOUTH: Lagging, isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it?

MOUTH: Obviously, isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it?

MOUTH: Very lagging, isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it?

MOUTH: Naturally, isn't it?

EYE: Obviously, isn't it?

MOUTH: Lagging, isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it?

MOUTH: Obviously, isn't it?

EYE: Yes, isn't it?

NOSE: You over there, man with starred scars, where are you running?

EAR: I'm running toward happiness

I'm burning in the eyes of passing days

I swallow jewels

I sing in courtyards

love has not court nor hunting horn to fish up

hard-boiled-egg hearts with.

 

( Mouth exits.)

NOSE: You over there, man with a scream like a fat pearl, what are you eating?

EAR: Over two years have passed, alas, since I set out on this hunt. But do you see how one can get used to fatigue and how death would be tempted to live, the magnificent emperor's death proves it, the importance of everything diminishes-every day-a little . . .

NOSE: You over there, man with wounds of chained wool molluscs, man with various pains and pockets full, pieman of all maps and places, where do you come from?

EYE: The bark of apotheosized trees shadows wormy verse but the rain makes organized poetry's clock tick. The banks filled with medicated cotton-wool. String man supported by blisters like you and like all others. To the porcelain flower play us chastity on your violin, 0 cherry tree, death is so quick and cooks over the bituminous coal of the trombone capital.

NOSE: Hey you over there, sir ….

EAR: Hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey

NECK: Tangerine and white from Spain

I'm killing myself Madeleine Madeleine.

EAR: The eye tells the mouth: open your mouth for the candy of the eye.

NECK: Tangerine and white from Spain

I'm killing myself Madeleine Madeleine.

EYE: Upon the ear the vaccine of serious pearl flattened to mimosa.

 

EAR: Don't you think it's getting rather warm?

MOUTH (who has just come in again): It gets warm in the summer.

EYE: The beauty of your face is a precision chronometer.

NECK: Tangerine and white from Spain

I'm killing myself Madeleine Madeleine.

EAR: The watch hand indicates the left ear the right eye the fore-head the eyebrow the forehead the eyebrow the left eye the left ear the lips the chin the neck.

EYE: Clytemnestra, the diplomat's wife, was looking out of the window. The cellists go by in a carriage of Chinese tea, biting the air and openhearted caresses. You are beautiful, Clytemnestra, the crystal of your skin awakens our sexual curi-osity. You are as tender and as calm as two yards of white silk. Clytemnestra, my teeth tremble. I'm cold, I'm afraid. I'm green I'm flower I'm gasometer I'm afraid. You are mar-ried. My teeth tremble. When will you have the pleasure of looking at the lower jaw of the revolver closing in my chalk lung. Hopeless, and without any family.

NECK: Tangerine and white from Spain

I'm killing myself Madeleine Madeleine.

MOUTH: Too sensitive to approval by your good taste I have decided to shut off the faucet. The hot and cold water of my charm

will no longer be able to divert the sweet results of your sweat, true love or new love. (Exits.)

EAR (entering): His neck is narrow but his foot is quite large. He can easily drum with his fingers or toes on his oval belly which has already served as a ball several times during rugby. He is not a being because he consists of pieces. Simple men manifest their existences by houses, important men by monuments.

NOSE: How true how true how true how true how true ….

EYEBROW: "Where," "how much," "why," are monuments. As, for example, Justice. What beautifully regular functioning, prac-tically a nervous tic or a religion.

NOSE (decrescendo): How true how true how true how true how true . .

EYEBROW: In the lake dipped twice in the sky-the bearded sky-a pretty morning was found. The object fleeting between the nostrils. Acidulous taste of weak electric current, this taste which at the entrances to salt mines switches to zinc, to rub-ber, to cloth-weightless and grimy. One evening-while out walking in the evening-someone found, deep down, a tiny little evening. And its name was good evening.

NOSE: How true how true how true how true how true . . .

EYE: Look out! cried the hero, the two paths of smoke from those enemy houses were knotting a necktie--and it rose overhead to the navel of the light.

NOSE: How true how true how true how true how true . . . .

EAR: Carelessly the robber changed himself into a valise, the phys-icist might therefore state that the valise stole the robber. The waltz went on continuously--it is continuously which was not going on--it was waltzing--and the lovers were tearing off pieces of it as it passed--on old walls posters are worth-less.

NOSE: How true how true how true how true how true . . .

EYE: They kept catching colds with great regularity. For the regu-larity of his life a little death, too. Its name was continuity.

NOSE: How true how true how true how true how true . . .

EYE: Never had a fisherman made more assassinating shadows under the bridges of the city. But suddenly midnight sounded beneath the stamp of a blink and tears mingled in telegrams undecoded and obscure.

EYEBROW: He flattened out like a bit of tin foil and several drops several memories several leaves testified to the cruelty of an impassioned and actual fauna. Wind the Curtain of nothingness shakes--his stomach is full of foreign money. Nothingness drinks nothingness: the air has arrived with its blue eyes, and that is why he goes on taking aspirin all the time. Once a day we give abortive birth to our obscurities.

EYE: We have the time, alas, time is lacking no longer. Time wears mustaches now like everyone, even women and shaven Americans. Time is compressed-the eye is weak-but it isn't yet in the miser's wrinkled purse.

MOUTH: Isn't it?

EYE: The conversation is lagging, isn't it?

MOUTH: Yes, isn't it?

EYE: Very lagging, isn't it?

MOUTH: Yes, isn't it?

EYE: Naturally, isn't it?

MOUTH: Obviously, isn't it?

EYE: Lagging, isn't it?

MOUTH: Yes, isn't it?

EYE: Very lagging, isn't it?

MOUTH: Yes, isn't it?

EYE: Naturally, isn't it?

MOUTH: Lagging, isn't it?

EYE: Obviously mygod.

 

CURTAIN


Continued

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