Es kommt mich..., op. 19.2 (2001)

Laughing and smiling
Laughing comes over me and smiling.
But what of that!
That’s just how things are...
(Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 1113, 1986, ISBN 3-518-3713-6)
This, perhaps the shortest poem of all by Robert Walser, is taken from his early work. At the suggestion of Felix Falkner, I took part in a Walser project at the Zurich Academy of Arts. In keeping with my then mood towards this institution, it was my intention to keep my contribution short and to ‘hit back’ in ironic fashion at earlier, rather unpleasant experiences. The repetitions of the text fragment ‘Es kommt mich...’ which is uncertain and vague in its grammar (with a nod to Veronika Feldbusch), then the almost sadomasochistic beats of the ‘hammer’, plus the increase at the same time of the curve of musical excitement – all this cannot hinder a certain ambiguity. The ‘hammer’ is a very large one; the piano strings are beaten with its front end, while the other end can at the same time be made to ‘go off’ like the
sound of a whip.