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Jacket 17 — June 2002 |# 17 Contents |homepage |Catalog |

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Invitation to a poetry-vending machine
(robot translation version)

This piece is 9,200 word or about twenty printed pages long. It is copyright © 1974, 1999, 2002 Hans Magnus Enzensberger. A professional English translation is in preparation.In the meantime, this automatic word-for-word translation has been provided by computer.
W A R N I N G : In some readers, attempting to understand this text may result in linguistic confusion, headache, dizziness, loss of balance and anomie.
M O R A L   D I S C L A I M E R : Jacket takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this version, and the author does not endorse it.

Preliminary remarks

1 Description
1.1.General bases
1.2.Mathematical bases
1.3. Soft ware
1.4. Hard ware

2 Theory
2.1.Historic viewpoints
2.2.Linguistic viewpoints
2.3.Literary viewpoints

3 Complications
3.1.Boundary of the program
3.2.Technical outlooks
3.3.Invitation at poetic

4 Technical supplement

Links (above) take you from the highlighted items on this list to the text referred to, below; the highlighted destination link brings you back to this list again.

Preliminary remarks

Photo of toy robot thinking Before well twenty-five years was exceptionally boringly expect me. The political movement had broken up in blues, Sektiererei and force imaginations, and my long-term literary projects were not making headway. I stretched on certainly speech and think game, that had the advantage of the Obsessiveness. The harder the nuts were, that it counted to crack the better. To such a flight movement the project of a poetry-vending machine that I sketched at that time owes itself. With the program, I was month-long, almost would like to say I, day and night busies. One knows such quick ideas of Hackern, of players, who set its hopes for systems, and of children, who decayed its computer games. Unpleasant for the Mitwelt because such people are scarcely more addressable, but without attraction for someone, that the reality not makes no joke.

At a publication of my results, I did not think, let alone at the realization, that is, at the building of my vending machine, that would have been remaining quite costly in that. It pleased me that scarcely anyone knew what I was up to First much later I occasionally mentioned my plan. Out of pure chance, someone learned involved was therefrom, that in the plans for Munich airport. I had no desire to advertise for my project half forgotten in the mean time, and the Airport-managers held when my acquaintance lectured them the matter, the vending machine for a Hirngespinst. Poems were them — understandably — Hekuba. Contemporary art, that yet liked to concern. But poetry on the airport, that would have gone too far. I heard it with equanimity.

So more surprised was called I, than a couple of year later an enthusiastic gentleman out of country mountain at the Lech with me. To celebrate Landsberg, a Bavarian town, thought in the year 2ooo a city anniversary, and out of this occasion one had grasped a little Festival under the title poetry at the Lech into the eye. Ali Nasseri, a highly extraordinary appearance, is not straight that what one imagines under a Bavarian Lokalmatador. He put himself at the head mayor and in the town council for the poetry-vending machine into the thing, and to the general surprise, it succeeded it in spite of many a resistance and after long, highly amusing debates in the groups and in the reader columns of the local press to put through the intention. The vending machine is constructed and is supposed to be introduced in the June 2ooo.

For this reason I decided myself to publish the existing essay hervorzuholen and. It comes from the year 1974. I renounced on that, stood it on the current to bring and would produce it, by some stylistic retouching, exactly so how it was written at that time.

Munich, in the (northern) summer of 1999
H. M. E.

“One more certainly Mr. M. in Göttingen boasts to have invented a poetic hand mill, through which one could manufacture odes of all species very mechanically. In ver schiedenen collections already produced should of the same stehn, that scarcely the connoisseurs of whom out of freyer fist of made distinguish would become. The arrangement of the machine has many similarly to keit with a large silk twine mill; it is powered by the wind.”

Hesse-Darmstädtische privileged country newspaper
of the 3o. July 1777

“Die Analysis is a Divinations- or the Erfin dungskunst, on rules gebracht.”“


“Poetry is a logic, but not a science.”

Attila József

1. Description

1.1. General bases

Small robot 1.1.1. Who out of a finite quantity of Sprachelementen, a lexicon, on the basis of a system of procedure rule, whose repertoire is also finite is able to produce an endlessly large number of different sentences, says would speak about that one, it (or would write) a language. If one has desire in addition, one can regard such a speaker as a vending machine, that by means of a program, the grammar, and a storage, the lexicon, as desired many “richtige” solutions auswirft.

To be sure a vending machine that controls such a Sprachkompetenz, is not konstruierbar, and to be sure already therefore not because no linguist is able, to formulate the complete program of a natural language. To this extent the speech of the vending machine is only a comfortable fiction.

1.1.2. the poetic competence is a special case of the general Sprachbeherrschung. The production (and the understanding) of poetic texts is subject to not only the primary rule system of the grammar. It requires in addition a “sekundäre Durchorganisation of the Sprachstruktur” — so unpoetic the science presses now once out of -, therefore the control of a further program of which the first overstocks and in certainly boundary also modified becomes itself (1).

Because however already for the normal grammar an also only half-way complete program cannot be indicated, is at the construction of a vending machine, that would control such a poetic total competence, to not to think in the dream.

1.1.3. However why so immodest? Most vending machines are finally only hochgezüchtete Kretins. It would be surveyed, by a Monster, that is not yet ausgeschlüpft to expect brilliant achievements. In the development of monstrosities, one must understand how our engineers advance, from the particular to the general. At the same time the designer is if it not wants to become the bare handicraft enthusiast, on diverse theoretical before and recourse directed. He will be will restricted first of all to part routines out of a subprogram.

If it should succeed it to introduce the achselzuckenden Mitwelt a first poetry-vending machine, can be certain it that others will be will found, that are only all too ready to fasten itself at its heel. These imitation culprits could generalized always refined writes then to stir without that he a finger bräuchte, over an entire hierarchy of intermediate stages to one program voranschreiten, that poems.

The first stepped has it to be sure in itself, and to be sure for following reason. One can split to be sure the lexicon of a natural language as desired, applies not however its grammar; and something similar to the secondary rule system of poetry.

Who demands therefore of its vending machine that this “einwandfreie” should produce semantic, syntactic and poetic; texts, that must if it are program writes, consider a very large number of linguistic and poetic procedure rules. Just these rules never can however how said, sufficiently exact or become quite completly formalised. They must be smuggled in and remain into the program to a certain extent implicit. That means however that each mistake in the program structure leads to injuries to the rules, that come always first afterwards to the light, at which texts that the Monster produces. Differently expressed: the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Does in addition another little difficulty come: what is actual a “einwandfreier” text? Does it not give is supposed to be decided generally; poems, and if yes, after which criteria about that whether them this quality approaches or to “richtige”?

The scholars are themselves in this question, as usual, not united (2). What concerns the grammatical structure, nevertheless approximation solutions can be indicated. Whether however a poetic structure “sinnvoll” is; or, about that cannot be fought. Would judge this type suppose usually the form of the bare statement or the simple power word, i.e. it operate with the conventional means of literary criticism.

1.1.4. The poetry-vending machine that raises these questions without that it could clear or quite answer it, restricted itself first of all on a tiny slice of the lexicon of one language only, German. Its capacity suffices however in order to receive a row more as more desired more selected of other languages if someone should be found who would like to try that. What concerns however the German, prefaces the program the grammar of this language; it must its rules Respeare, and therewith period.

Therefore considerable Abstriche become and restrictions made. Regardless of this the poetry-vending machine promises to produce a finite, but yet very large — perhaps indeed all too large — quantity of poems. Its productivity exceeds all the poetry that humanity has produced previously, if only in quantitative regard. And even if there should be other intelligent species in the universe, they not become understood lost have have, as far as it that, no desire, with this machine to rivalries.

The quantity of texts that can deliver it is of the order of magnitude 1o to the 36th power: ten followed by thirty-six zeroes. The vending machine can therefore produce practically as many unpublished poems as desired. The probability that one and the same text repeats itself, is slight under these circumstances. Such an event is, operated in uninterrupted to expect only once in 5 xs apiece 10 to the 29th power years, that is (under consideration of the facts of astrophysics) : never.

1.2. Mathematical bases

1.2.1. The high capacity of the vending machine explains itself out of the laws of the Kombinatorik, with which it operates.

The drink brother


The government


goes bathing.


Can Wieviele sentences be formed out of the xs given 2 here 3 = 6 sentence parts, be if each of the resulting sentences zweigliedrig, and if the sequence by to the left to the right should preserved remain? It is to be seen easily that following solutions are possible:

The drink brother sleeps.
The drink brother goes bathing.
The drink brother sways.
Homer sleeps.
Homer goes bathing.
Homer sways.
The government sleeps.
The government goes bathing.
The government sways.

Mathematically it concerns expressed here the permutation of the combinations of n elements to the r-ten class, whereby in this case n = 3 and r = 2. The amount of the possible permutations of the combinations (also number of the variations named) lets follows indicate itself how:

     V’r (n) = nr;

That in the existing case are 32 = 9 variations.
One supposes instead of three elements ten, and one passes over of two to sechsgliedrigen expressions, arise consequently 106 variations.

1.2.2. Each of these variations lets itself as a poem line interpret, that related to other, by analogy constructed lines as an element for the construct by variations of higher order. Now these elements of second degree, each of the configuration V’r (n) are varied, on their part to the R-ten super class, arises hence the permutation of the combinations of the permutations the combinations, or with other words the variation of second degree:

      V”R V’r (n) = nr.

Tja, and such a variation of second degree the mathematical structure is been content even that directed program to which here invited will should, and to let itself that — around so to speak the church in the village — with the German language. It contains namely a repertoire of ten once six poem lines whose each consists of six single members with other words, out of a repertoire by ten elements, that are varied to the sixth class and to the sixth super class. That leads highly six to altogether ten to the sixth power to the sixth power, therefore 10 to the 36th power of variations.

1.2.3. at this point maintain the lovers of the statistics its defenseless listeners to explain, what means a number with 36 zeros. At the same time usually the Eiffel Tower must or the equator herhalten; if necessary also the distance of the earth is taken by the moon to aid in order to make the immense measurably. Such explanations are trivial. It understands itself of even that the universe of 10 to the 36th power of poems cannot harbor. Pay this order of magnitude are not only unimaginable, it are abominable.

1.3. Soft ware

1.3.1. The poetry-vending machine is on the one hand an abstract model, whose structure follows the rule system grammar poetry, on the other hand a concrete machine that can be constructed after the usual rules of the technology. Device and program, hardware and software must be voted to be sure on each other, can be described however independently from one another.

1.3.2. The building of the machine is relatively simple, but the program is vertrackt. It must fulfill an immense number of formal and in substance conditions, that are interlocks so in each other that no of them herauslösen lets itself. The basic difficulty in its construct lies therein that this process is not formalisierbar: a program of the program not exists. The empty kombinatorische scaffolding is exactly definable only in its hollow form.

1.3.3. The characteristics of this mathematical matrix already are described worden — such a sentence is one-dimensional in the sense that it can be read only in one direction and on a type. Differently the drink brother:

The drink brother sleeps.
Homer goes bathing.
The government sways.

What exists here, is a two-dimensional text that linearly can be duplicated no longer. The reading material can advance in two directions. It concerns a text area. Another stepped further on this way, and one has a text body before itself, the reading material steps in three dimensions permitted. Out of the given matrix follows that the program of the poetry-vending machine must be a three-dimensional poem. Unfortunately the literature story delivers no example for such a product. That holds together perhaps with the circumstance that three-dimensional texts are to be written condemned heavily.

1.3.4. Who it nevertheless tries, must consider that the first dimension (to the right/to the left) is privileged all other vis-á-vis to this extent, when it allows neither reversal nor zero step. This rule prevents, that, for example, the text area quoted just now ungrammatical sentences as well as the following produced:

The drink brother the government.
Homer bathe goes.

It follows from that that the reading material not can as desired there and herspringen, but rather at certainly rule temperance is bound. This restriction is mentioned only because of the totality; we learn ever already in the delicate age to note it.

1.3.5. Is much more delicate another demand on the program, and to be sure this: all text members that can have to follow on each other be together compatible. The following text area would be offended against this commandment:

The house sleeps.
Homer goes bathing.
The governments löffelt.

Expressed 1.3.6. the nearby (and insidious) question reads now: which criteria should count for the compatibility of text member?

To be sure the syntax places fulfill must certainly minimal conditions ready, that each sentence, if it generally as (more Germanly, more English etc.) Sentence understood will should. A sentence as well as the governments sleeps is simple and simply incorrect.

Differently it stands with the semantic conditions, which a “einwandfreier” must suffice; sentence. How irregular, defective to delimit “unwahrscheinliche” and “sinnlose” sentences from one another are, is that also under Sprachphilosophen and linguist debatable.

The house sleeps.
The house löffelt.

Both sentences are very similarly constructed. During however in the first case the linguistic usage the metaphorical significance of “schläft” has acknowledged, is perceived the connection in the second case both sentence members as anomalous.

The rule that all sentence elements following on each other must be reconcilable together, belongs therefore to the operation conditions, that not exactly can be defined. It remains a wide grey zone of debatable cases. The program must be content with an approximation solution.

1.3.7. A vending machine, that would deliver solely a quantity of flawlessly constructed sentences, rather easily could be constructed. It could serve as a heuristic model in the reply of linguistic questions. Its products would become, who is not however curious on such investigations, that only anodes.

For a poem-program, the combinatorial, syntactic and semantic rules do not suffice. They must be modulated by a poetic secondary structure.

Now however poetry is as you know a rule system vorwissenschaftlicher nature. The literature theory stroe jahrhundertelang in vain to change on that somewhat. That means that an exact description of the poetry program is already not possible for methodical reasons. One could in any case, stepped stepped for, tell how it came into being. That would be to be sure rather boring.

1.3.8. Instead should terminating two basic problems discusses become, that each poetologische program raises.

The rule that all successive text members must be reconcilable together, more easily can be fulfilled umso the more similar these members are. One needs to be to restricted only to as synonymous as possible of expressions, function that all in its literal, direct (therefore not transmitted or idiomatic) meanings, and to join it to sentences constructed severely parallel — and already has one a program whose member are Compatible. To be sure the result would be naive.

A basic, if also rarely formulated, because obvious principle of the Poetik however the variety is. Perfectly monotonous aesthetic productions are intolerable. That applies be justified even to extremely repetitive “Texte” like that minimally music; its endless repetitions only by imperceptible, but deliberately inserted deviations.

1.3.9. Secondly applies to each Poetik that it saw it on that to slip in and to exceed the rules of the primary Sprachstruktur. Such a strategy of the controlled rule injury underlies also the metaphor development. So the sentence offends

A children vehicle screams and curse dogs

(Lichtenstein) against the semantic rules (and expands it at the same time). This principle of the aimed deviation spreads also on the syntax.

During therefore the logic of simple text vending machines on Gleichförmigkeit, regularity, Redundanz and Monotonie aims, must strive for a poetry-vending machine a maximum at variety, surprise, polysemy and limited rule injury. To this extent the primary structure of the program stands in contrast to its poetic secondary structure. Only a compromise can be the result, that retains both pages of this dialectics in the sense.

1.4. Hard ware

1.4.1. One can aim a canon at sparrows. Also in this manner hits are obtained. The intercourse of artists with the computer is sometimes reminiscent of this procedure. Almost always becomes with überdimensionierten technical means worked.

A combinatory poetry-vending machine can be realized, as far as the hardware is concerned, with rather simple means. Electromechanical notice-boards as one finds at every airport suffice perfectly.

1.4.2. The alphanumeric signs appear in such a system on single palettes, that are driven individually by a Schrittmotor. This motor fächert the palette so up that they fall forwards. In each single step, another sign appears. An electronic control gives the necessary impulses to the motors. It contains a chance generator that actuates an aleatory variation from the available text members. After maximally four seconds on the notice-board, a complete poem appears.

The vending machine can receive several single programs independent from one another. As far as they use Latin script, programs in other languages are also possible.

1.5. Directions

1.5.1. In the middle ages, the reading material of poems counted as a severely individual, private, intimate activity. That was not always so and need not always remain so. The moments of the “Stimmung”, the introversion, the sinking that belong to such a practice are no longer obvious.

A poetry-vending machine suits sooner into public rooms, that permit a collective, dispersed, anonymous reading material. It endures to a certain extent no owner. Already of its capacity here it would be absurd to set up it at a place where it would be single accessible only one.

Its ideal place would be therefore a center of general circulation. Also its technical shape, that orients itself to the needs of the measures traffic, corresponds to that. An appropriate place would be for example the passenger hall of a large airport.

1.5.2. In the Abfertigungs- and maintenance man hall of an Airports ordered anybody over a certainly quantum at empty time. The span between check-in and take-off requires attention and at the same time passivity. A peculiar atmosphere, in which impatience with boredom and nervousness with Ablenkbarkeit mixes itself, emerges. These conditions are favorable for games, that demand only short-term attention.

“The reception in the diversion, that noticeably makes itself with growing stress on all zones of the art, and the symptom of far-reaching variations of the apperception is” (4), would adjust itself in such an environment of even.

Because the vending machine is displayed basically for several languages, it carries also the needs of a polyglot public calculation. It is not to be realized itself in the remaining why large airports as well as Rhine-Main or Heathrow meet all conceivable commercial interests, however, what concerns its aesthetic standards Luftschutzbunker and take kernel power works to the example.

Naturally also other places could delight, like theater or movie theater-foyer, its clientele with poems out of the vending machine, be quiet very to of the palmengeschmückten Einöden of that Einkaufs- and experience-centers that pierce our inner cities. That the investors decayed on such an idea, is to be supposed to be sure scarcely.

1.5.3. The poetry-vending machine involves practically no overhead. The life expectation of the device lies according to the manufacturer in about fifty years. The unit is wartungsfrei. In an use interval of five minutes, the average time that passes between two Betriebsstörungen is indicated at ten years of age. In the literature business, such specifications are sooner rare.

2. Theory

2.1. Historic viewpoints

Small robot 2.1.1. Each invention is based upon an earlier one. The poetry-vending machine too has its predecessors. It pulls the consequence out of a European tradition, that lets itself into the Middle Ages zurückverfolgen.

Towards the close of the thirteenth century the Catalan Scholastiker Ramón Llull (1232–1316) composed a treatise with the title Ars magna et ultima in which it maintains the variety its, what would exist could on a comparatively slight number by reason elements led back become. It distinguishes for example nine principia absoluta and just as much principia relativa that it codifies with symbolic letter. These elements count form diminish themselves in the system of the Lullus so to speak as the lexicon, out of that, a combinatory procedure, unlimited many Sätze”; because the philosopher doesn't distinguish between Signifikant and Signifikat, throws the program at the same time with the sentences that from, what they designate, therefore with all science of the being at the same time all being. With the philosophical salary of this apprenticeship, that on their part on antique authority, above all out of the Neoplatonic feeds itself, like to proliferate others. Your methodical kernel is, independent of its theologically-speculative Einkleidung, thoroughly rational. Lullus plays a role even in the story of the vending machines. It should have constructed a type logical robot, pulled, that contained revolving circles, triangles and cylinder, and conclusions (5).

2.1.2. In any case has the Ars magna the reason put both for the modern logic-calculations as well as for the kombinatorische Poetik. Both developments can be pursued almost complete through the centuries. The mathematical branch of this delivery passes over Leibniz (“Alphabet of the human Gedanken”), Boole (Boolean algebra), Babbage (Analysis-machine) to Peano, Russell, Turing and von Neumann.

On the page of the aesthetic Kombinatorik above all Athanasius Kircher (Ars magna sciendi sive combinatoria), Quirinus Kuhlmann, Novalis (with the fragments) and Mallarmé (with its project of the universal Book) could be named.

2.1.3. The direct initial stage to the program described here has Raymond Queneau sketched. (6) It concerns at the same time a two-dimensional text. In a pseudonymous preface to this writing, Queneau calls itself on old manieristische traditions:

“Schon in the seventeenth century spoke Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, in a supplement, that it added the Deliciae physico-mathematicae of its compatriot Daniel Schwenter, for the first time about the possibility ‘proteischer Gedichte’. It proposes, within a verse monosyllabic keywords to permutieren — monosyllabic therefore so that the sense can change without destroying the Metrum. By Permutation of the eleven Einsilbler, that are underlined in the following both verses:

Honor, art, money, Guth, praise, Waib and child
One has, seeks, is missing, hopes disappear, and.
Themselves 39,917 8oo let win different Distichen. (7)

2.1.4. Queneau goes over Harsdörffers program out. It not subjects single words, but rather entire verse lines to a kombinatorischen procedure. Moreover it passes over of the simple Permutation to the Permutation of the combination, i.e. to the variation. In its two-dimensional vending machine, ten elements are varied to the fourteenth class by what means after [1] 10 to the 14th power of possible texts arise.

The metric structure that selected Queneau is that of the sonnet; for this reason it operates with a vierzehnzeiligen scheme. Ever ten different first, second etc. are until fourteenth lines available. Each line individually can be turned over like a book page by what means all text variants become single ablesbar. Therewith the author is at the extreme boundary its vorgestoßen what can perform the book form. Three-dimensional programs, which enable the variation of second degree, are in this manner no longer representable.

2.2. Linguistic viewpoints

2.2.1. The syntactic rules that decide whether two are or more sentence member together kombinierbar, knows each: for example the rules over the congruity of noun and attributive needed adjective, over the inflection and the regimen of the verbs. These paradigms let themselves formalisieren, and they are independent of the meaning plain.

Less the semantic rules are unambiguous. The question which text members are reconcilable together in many felling cannot be decided quite with the means of the grammar. Often the issue raises sprachphilosophische problems, and probably can only be answered in the end pragmatically. That is one of the difficulties at which the programming of flawlessly working translation vending machine has failed previously.

2.2.2. Especially blatant appears this problematic nature from the so-called particles. The traditional grammar summarizes under this portmanteau concept one rather buntscheckige group of words, whose investigation is neglects become long perhaps, because it so insignificant daherkommen. (Similar applies to many adverbial determinations, that itself out of several words put together.) The most interesting particles are the adverbs and conjunction. They are so refractory that they worried in the construct of the program again and again for difficulties and surprises. A word out of this class can suddenly change the meaning and intonation of a sentence. The effect is therefore so frappierend because he lets himself scarcely vorhersehen. The semantic potential of the particle is therefore significant, but the underlying agreement rules are as good as unknown.

The following simple matrix shows cut out at a little, what has it with these gadflys on itself:

Suddenly only.
To be sure yet.
Provisionally first.
Recently also.
Occasionally I die entirely.
In the mean time yes.
Actually already.
To be sure however.
Nevertheless namely.
Otherwise immer.

All of the hundred possible variations are not “einwandfrei”, “richtig” or “sinnvoll” (what always that is likes). The reasons, out of which many sentences can be rejected, which the matrix delivers are however different.

Recently I die always is a statement that can be disputed already for logical reasons. If one unconditionally wants, one can ascribe its metaphorical meaning one however, similarly in the following sentence, whose first adverb seems to indicate that it not literally wants to be understood:

Actually I die always.

Differently it behaves in the following variation:

To be sure I die however.

That doesn't work. Here the logical redundancy disturbs. In that restriction a remainder of doppelter negation sticks doubled. But that not suffices in order to help the sentence to a firm meaning. It remains only a schlingernder impression back. Manifesto contradictory the statement would be:

Occasionally I die always.

Next to these relatively clear felling, there is however a considerable number of sentences that lie in a semantic grey zone. They cause irritating, without that indicate would let itself, why they are actually “wrong” :

Suddenly I die first.
To be sure I die entirely.
In the mean time I die yet.
Provisionally I die already.

Worry the unimaginable complexity of the rules, that for the “richtige” use of the particle, first can be estimated however if one passes over in addition, also the middle Glied of the matrix to vary, therefore the Verbum. If one exchanges namely the expression “sterbe ich” & for other, syntactically equivalent expressions, the literally unforeseeable following has. A sentence which was to be assigned the semantic grey zone can become through such an operation regular:

Provisionally I die yet.
Provisionally I wait yet.

A normal sentence can reversed moved become by this exchange into the twilight:

Suddenly I die namely.
Suddenly I wait namely.

With these hints not should the linguist become grasped under the arms, that anyway better know it. They should show solely the difficulties, that connected with the programming of a poetry-vending machine.

* 2.2.3. We believe today — Noam Chomsky would be thanks to -that there is a system of formal Universalien, that is joint all natural languages. If that is true, also an universal poetry-vending machine would have to be possible. To be sure not consequence of this premise that the necessary programs let win themselves through translation. For universal, in the sense of the hypothesis, is only the (invisible) depths structure of these languages, not its manifesto grammar. Independently of, like one its differences — classifies; about that no unity exists stands -, firmly in any case that each language to the construct of its sentences uses its specific “Beziehungsmittel”. For the programming of a kombinatorischen vending machine are however straight these means important. Generally one can say perhaps, speak about are that the isolating and to program agglutinierenden type easier than languages with polysynthetischen and inflecting grammars. A German program is to be written therefore more heavily than an English.

2.2.4. a special case are languages in which the writing developed itself independent of the pronunciation. That is above all in the Chinese the case. A poetry-vending machine that indicates only the writing form, could be developed for such a language very differently as after the principles developed here, and also the hardware could not work with alphanumeric signs.

2.3. Literary viewpoints

2.3.1., what concerns the literary configuration of the vending machine, let itself two extreme solutions think.

It is rather simple to sketch a program, that (within the boundary of syntactic rules) produces as unlikely as possible texts. At the same time the entropy is minimized, and the sentence counts: the bizarreer the connections, the better. Poems, that emerge the Nonsense-poetry near state.

This effect becomes however with a high degree of Beliebigkeit erkauft. All possible steps with all possible in relation. The variation is of high variety, causes however irrelevant and tiring. A historic example for that delivers the écriture automatique of the Surrealisten.

Text vending machine two-dimensional also Queneaus strives for such effects. This author stood at the beginning the Surrealisten near, but he developed late trains of a secondary Klassizismus, that appear also in the structure of its program. That leads scarcely exceed to an ironic contrast between the strict Traditionalismus of the form (the Sonett-scheme) and the arbitrariness of the “Aussagen”, that the level of the unstrukturierten nonsense.

2.3.2. in the other extreme case exactly is reversed proceed. The program should deliver as probable as possible texts. The results price themselves through high regularity and Redundanz; the entropy is maximized. Contrast arms, reduced texts, whose aesthetic Lakonismus becomes through impoverishment erkauft, emerge. In the newer literature, this solution is represented by the concrete poetry. An any example:


2.3.3. the program selected for the vending machine strives no these solutions on. It should unfold the dialectics of intention and chance, rule system and Aleatorik, Monotonie and variety in the opposite so far how possible.

2.3.4. a complete description of the Poetik that underlies the program is impossible. A detailed representation of its development steps would be boring. A couple of rules of thumb nevertheless can be indicated.

The lexicon was to be selected so that it can come only to aimed, not however to unintentional repetitions. The material must show a minimum of coherence, but be at the same time semantic and pragmatic so disparat, that also unforeseen statements realization. The more latent Polysemien contains it, the better.

The syntactic Variabilität closely is limited in the German. On that above all the inflection wealth of the language guilt is. Thereto the directions that regulate the sentence position, and other restrictions of the Freizügigkeit come. The program grasps therefore on stylistic means as well as the Aufzählung and the interjection back. The intonation of the sentences is influenced by particle and punctuation and is varied.

Further restrictions arise for metric reasons. The program is supposed to be tied to no firm Versmaß. Yet also irregular rhythms are subject certainly, what concerns anointed the sequence of emphasized and unstressed, heavy and easy, to rules.

Finally each poetic text must respect also a minimum of kompositorischen demands. The bare addition of single text members or lines yields yet no poem. The complete text how it appears on the notice-board, “Anfang” must; and “Ende” have and show a type of departure. It must, be with a word, more than the sum of its parts.

That easily is said, but to make heavily. For the named conditions are supposed to be able to apply say not only respectively to itself, but rather together, and no one in advance to everyone, who has sequences it if they overstock itself. Only one will say let itself with certainty: only a poet will be able to program the vending machine.

2.3.5. at the same time immerses an interesting question up. Such a does poet know what he does? It is generally able, vorherzusehen what comes out in its work? The answer cannot depend therefrom whether it controls its Metier, whether it has talent or not, etc. For how highly also always it the capacity of its characteristic brain estimate likes, stands firmly that it remains in any case far required of the order of magnitude 1O36 behind that here.

Therefore the author of the program will be experience blue miracle as soon as its creature begins to produce poems. That at the same time blatant level variations will appear, is yet the least. Very same, after which criteria one its quality — judges; certainly soon “schlechtere” will come;, soon “bessere” texts to the light. The consistenter the program, the slighter these variations will fall out. Reversed: probably only a program will deliver interesting poems, that allows if possible many Freiheitsgrade; that has however also as a consequence, that the predominant majority rather more average, if miserabel not precipitates — a statistical distribution, that out of the “wirklichen” literary life well known is, and against that also the best vending machine nothing align can.

2.3.6. that the project proposed here raises the foolish question, who the better poet would be “der Mensch” or “die Maschine”, probably will not avoid let itself. It is to be reckoned also with the inquiry whether the vending machine is thought in addition to induce the death of the art, the literature, that poetry etc. Fortunately it concerns activities, that are not regulated by tariff agreement; otherwise protests against the threatening annihilation of work places could be expected.

On the usual kulturkritischen objections, the author of the program could answer only with the usual counterarguments, about with the determination, that a commercial home functioning whose products is superfluous vis-á-vis which a vending machine into the rear blow run.

To this extent the poetry-vending machine can serve also as a critical Meßlatte. (9) who of better dense not can would do as the machine, that better on that let remain it.

2.4. Medientheoretische viewpoints

2.4.1. “Tout, au moons, existe pour aboutir à un livre” [“A proposition emanating from myself — if variously quoted to my praise or blame — I lay claim to it together with those which wants throng here — asserts into a succinct men that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book.” — Stéphane Mallarmé, ‘The Book, spiritual Instrument’]

With this famous sentence Mallarmés, the fetishism, that the European cultivation drove with the book, its highpoint reaches. Mallarmé pursued contained would be in all seriousness the plan to write a book, in that the total poetry — a goal that can be represented best in English: all books end A book to.

It grasped to this end on the ideas of the Ramón Llull and its students back. In its notebooks, the number is found 3,628 8oo. That is the numeric expression for the faculty of 1o, and n! gives as you know the number of the possible Permutationen of n on. Although it had the intention to sight its results critically and to encounter under the kombinatorisch produced texts a selection, reckoned Mallarmé for its project with a circumference of twenty enormous volumes. It calculated even the costs for such a publication. (1o)

2.4.2. the cult of the beech strikes however if one pursues its logic far enough, into its opposite over. Already in Queneau, the kombinatorische procedure knocks at the boundary of the book form. With the three-dimensional text, it is exceeded. From that some interesting consequences arise.

While same the book is a preserving medium, in addition determines to hold texts, to deliver it to akkumulieren and, extinguishes the poetry-vending machine with each new text that it indicates whose predecessor. But not only that: because the chance generator that drives the vending machine allows no reconstruction of earlier conditions, the once deleted text is lost irretrievable. It disappears in the gigantic quantity of the possible texts, out of which it could become again hervorgeholt only through an extremely unlikely chance.

2.4.3. obviously could one at the vending machine a printer connect, that holds all ausgeworfenen texts. But in this manner the matter beizukommen is not. To print out and to hold for all these texts in the long run a thing of the impossibility would be, and even if one would undertake the attempt, that would repeat itself paradoxically only on another plain: the “gesuchte” poem would sink in an enormous mountain of printed matter and would be as good as untraceable.

2.4.4. during therefore previously the technical possibilities of the reproduction of texts the possibilities of the text production übertrafen (what the prerequisite is, that it levies give can, that larger than one are), runs here the productivity of the possibility of its duplication therefrom. Yes, it is perhaps generally no longer meaningful to distinguish between the one and that other. In any case sabotiert the vending machine the possibility, the texts, that it they delivers, to archivieren, were to be changed in and were to be taken in possession.

2.4.5. also that ask about the author of the poems stretches remarkable answers after. Who carries actually the responsibility for the texts, that the vending machine produces if neither the author of the program of yet the user in the situation is, its “Inhalt” vorherzusehen? It is at hand, on an idiom zurückzugreifen, that was pleased in the German philosophy long time of large popularity: let it be the language itself, the (“durch” the poet hindurch”) thick. That is however unfortunately no explanation, but rather a Mystifikation.

Clearly is only that in the genetic sense of the authors of the program as an author count must, because without its work none of the questionable texts would come into being. It is it also, decides that over the lexicon of the vending machine, its kombinatorisches scaffolding etc. Yet these precedents remain themselves abstract; it konkretisieren respectively only individually manifesto text. Then it is however too late. The author of the program cannot control the result; he not knows, what comes out in its game.

2.4.6. on the other hand could one maintain, it would be the user, that here “dichte”; for first through its intervention step the respective texts forth. Its cooperation is punktuell and minimal, but necessarily, like that of the player in the cube throw. (The shadow Mallarmés fells therefore not only on the programmer, but rather also on that, that the button presses.)

Such situations become by most persons, deliberately or unconscious, in an atavistischen sense pointed. The player says: “Das is my Wurf”, or “Ich good fortune gehabt”.” would have brings; he therefore its person into the game. The stochastischen process unterlegt it a subjective meaning. Therewith he behaves similar to an astrologer, who ascribes the railroads of the sky bodies a human sense. It is by the way remarkable that the Kombinatorik plays in the creation of horoscope an essential role. Does now one can naturally the Rationalisten hervorkehren and the behavior of Sterndeutern and players (why not also of readers?) as a superstition designate — or as a projection, if one itself on the psychoanalysis versteift.

But that everything not leads in unserm case further. Each process, that withdraws itself the inspection of the spectator, needs namely the subjective interpretation; otherwise he remains indifferent. That is the rational kernel of those theories on which players, Sterndeuter call himself and reader. It plays at the same time no role whether these interpretations “falsch” are; or “richtig”. That applies in special mass to the reading material, that without the pointing participation of the reader if one wants, without its projection, would be quite not possible. To this extent the strategy of the reader (within more certainly boundary) spiegelbildlich to that of the author behaves.

2.4.6. the poetry-vending machine puts this connection merely in that it relativizes the author shafts in the conventional sense. From that not follows to be sure, that anybody compose kann”, and it too much would be demanded, wanted to expect itself one by a vending machine that once vielbeschworene democratization of the art. Nevertheless becomes itself of the project, with the words Benjamins, say let: “Damit is the distinction of author and public in the concept, its basic character to verlieren.” (11) at least however the poetry-vending machine promises an anonymous, and that is, a nameless pleasure.

3Rd complications

3.1. Boundary of the program

Small robot 3.1.1. the vending machine sketched here expanded the previously well known possibilities of the programmed poetry around an entire dimension. It wakes however at the same time wishes that it cannot redeem. Where lie its restrictions would be, and which specification necessary in order to expand its capacity?

He who sought to soften such Ambitionen, that could maintain — and this standpoint becomes by many represented -, each vending machine, how differentiated also always, would be narrow-minded. This objection is sound, but also trivial, for it could be raised also with regard to the central nerves system of the higher animals. Yet also in the most directed design, yet ungenutzte reserves stick.

3.1.2. three structurally stipulated barriers of the introduced vending machine earn a nearer explanation.

To the one, the range of the program becomes through the direction that all text members must be together Compatible, strongly restricted. This rule not fundamentally is to be broken through. Yet the kombinatorische scaffolding not makes it required that for each of its empty place exactly n (in the existing case therefore 1o) elements stand to the decree, no longer and fewer. Now it understands controls itself however of even, that each natural language a far larger lexical repertoire — only that the text members that can be formed from that are not as desired together kombinierbar. Often it would be a children game instead of bringing in ten elements its dozen or hundreds. One much variety larger the sequence would be. In other, felling is on the other hand not once the minimum n = 1o attainable. If a way were found to modify the stiff program scheme, to break through the compatibility rule and to program this Durchbrechungen on their part, could be increased the linguistic range of the vending machine to a fantastic degree. This viewpoint is above all for the poet as a programmer of interest.

3.1.3. a further more structurally defective the vending machine lies therein that it works with a finished program, that terminated, once no more expansions allows. It is unconvinceable in this sense. The heuristic value of such a machine (that moreover no systematic access, but rather only Random-solutions allows) is limited through it very. A linguist could not begin probably much therewith. A vending machine with open program would permit on the other hand diverse interesting experiments. It would be, the corresponding rakes and storage capacity prefaced, lernfähig in the sense that its syntactic and semantic rule system always further could be refined.

3.1.4. of the standpoint of the user out of appears as a largest disadvantage de vending machines the ease with which he is to be served. It is interfered remains the back side of this comfort, that that its, that goes around with it on a minimum restricted. A button pressure — that all is. It would be more amusing if the user could the vending machine with its characteristic lexicon feeding in order to try, what begins this therewith. In the principle, a dialogfähiger poetry-vending machine could be thought, perhaps even construct.

3.2. Technical outlooks

3.2.1. the technical requests, that the proposed program places at Hard- and software, are very modest. The text quantity lies in 6 KB. For that a tiny storage suffices. The notice-board electromechanically is driven.

A simple computer with a storage capacity of some Mega- or quite Gigabyte could perform obviously much more. The difficulty would lie only and alone in the program, that would have to comprise an entire hierarchy of syntactic and of lexicon rule, including the restrictions and the exceptions, which they are subject. Logical branching, contingent leap commands and bows could then for a flexibility worry, is unattainable that within a stiff kombinatorischen structure. At the place of the notice-board then a monitor would have to step, on which each Textglied could appear fundamentally at each any place.

3.2.2. such a project lies now already in range. It would have to attach to the successes and failures, that appeared on the field of the automatic translation. Poetry-vending machines of higher step climb over the possibilities of a single author. They could be realized only of a team, in which linguists, programmer collaborate and poet. Not only the figure of the poet, but rather also that of its shadow, the inventor and program-author that these lines writes would lose itself so, like Dädalus, in its characteristic maze.

3.3. Invitation at poetic programmers

3.3.1. until there is the way yet rather far. Meanwhile however it is freely for each, that desire has to hit it. Already the program of the third dimension needs to not to remain the Marotte of a single. The capacity of the vending machine suffices in order to receive many further designs. Proposals are welcome. Amateurs would be warned however. He who wants to prepare such a program in the characteristic head, should reckon working hours with a couple of months and equip itself with a supply at aspirin. It concerns condemns a complex game on the far side of the Berechenbarkeit.

3.3.2. the invitation applies not only to German users. The vending machine could develop itself to a babylonian device if authors were ready out of other languages, further programs beizusteuern. Out of the indicated reasons, the English would be came into question an especially suitable medium, but also each other idiom that lets itself Latin transkribieren.

Poetry-programmer of all countries, unites you!

4. Technical supplement

4.1. Notice-board

Small robot The notice-board the vending machine, a so-called Flap-Board-system, was constructed in the winter 1999/2ooo by the firm Solari S. A. in Udine. It consists of six lines to 142 single elements apiece (Flap Units).

Each of these elements contains forty single palettes out of verwindungsfreiem and abriebfestem plastic, that are attached in hole disks waagrecht and fall after forwards. The palette roll hang on their part in a half cylinder out of aluminum and of two seitlichen apiece Sinterlagern held. The elements are driven polarized individually over a sound arm transmission by one Schrittmotor that is mounted on the side of at the palette system. The Schrittgeschwindigkeit lies in 75 ee. The maximal time for a revolution amounts to is receipted therefore about 2,8 seconds. each single steps of the electro motor by an impulse at the control.

The lines to the reception of the single elements consist of aluminum-profile rails with stick bushings for the electric connection. Into these profile rails, the elements can be put away without tool. Through it the lines can newly divided always and become bestückt.

The palette lines are mounted above one another and are secured to seitlichen box profiles. These profiles contain also the Verdrahtung that uncovered by sheet metal strip and is accessible always by ahead. For each line, a cable cable connection is planned so that in the requirement case complete line can be exchanged and the entire board can be extended by further lines.

Each palette element can receive a sentence of forty alphanumeric signs (including punctuation mark and Spatium). To the inscription, reflecting colors in the silk printing process are used. That increases the legibility, also in Sonneneinstrahlung or reflection. In a writing height of 35 mm, the notices are up to a distance of 15-2o meters well readable. The horizontal legibility angle lies in 17o°.

As a writing cut, the verse als of a semi-bold Akzidenz were selected-grotesque of the type of the Helvetica, knows appear that on black reason.

The notice-board measures 565o x 1ooo x 2oo mm and ventured 66o kg. It is actuated over an interface by the type DSK (LAN ethernet).

According to the manufacturer, several hundred thousand such systems are located in the insert, above all on airports and railway stations, in banks and stock exchanges. To its Betriebssicherheit is said that the middle time between two precipitating amounts to, in uninterrupted course and 1,6 xs 1O6 revolutions, 18oo hours; in normal operated, i.e. in a revolution apiece in five minutes, fells the system, statistically seen, only every ten years from. Its theoretical life expectation lies in 5o years.

4.2. Software

The software required to the control the notice-board was developed by the firm Galilei gmbh in Oberhaching. Bottom lie its on the one hand the text program of the author (the “Quelldatei”), on the other hand the specifications of the firm Solari. The petition data were structured corresponding to the draft when text file digitalizes and stored on the hard disk of a computer. The access on the file is driven by a chance generator. That generate can be indicated verses also on a screen.

The program developed by Galilei was written on Borland Delphi 4. o for Win32-Umgebung. The system prerequisites for this program are: windows 9x/NT/2ooo; at least Pentium 1oo and 16MB RAM; 1 MB HDD memory location for source file and poem-Zwischenspeicher. For the screen notice, a Farbmonitor with 8oox6oox75Hz HiColor is recommended.

The source file contains the poetry-elements. It is structured as follows, if

m = amount of the poem lines

n = amount of the elements per line

k = amount of the variants per element and line:

Element 1 variant 1 line 1 element 2 variant 1 line... 1 element n variant 1 line 1

Element 1 variant 2 lines 1 element 2 variant 2 lines... 1 element n variant 2 lines 1


Element 1 variant k line 1 element 2 variant k line... 1 element n variant k line 1

Element 1 variant 1 line 2 elements 2 variant 1 line... 2 elements n variant 1 line 2

Element 1 variant 2 lines 2 elements 2 variant 2 lines... 2 elements n variant 2 lines 2


Element 1 variant k line 2 elements 2 variant k line... 2 elements n variant k line 2


Element 1 variant 1 line ee elements 2 variant 1 line m...element n variant 1 line m

Element 1 variant 2 lines ee elements 2 variant 2 lines m...element n variant 2 lines m


Element 1 variant k line ee elements 2 variant k line m...element n variant k line m

This structure produces poems with m lines, in n elements per line and k variants per element. The algorithm looks as follows:

A chance number R1 (between 1 and k) produces;

element 1 prints out for line 1 in the variant R1;

a chance number R2 (between 1 and k) produces;

would print out elements 2 for line 1 in the variant R2;


a chance number rn (between 1 and k) produces;

element n prints out for line 1 in the variant rn;

Would shift to the following line; etc.

The source file can after this principle — only through the specification of the notice-board, — limits exchanged; as desired or expanded become. Also more complex software-programs to the control of the vending machine is conceivable, prefaced, it stand corresponding to formalisierte syntactic, semantic and kontextabhängige rules to the decree.


(1) Manfred beer scrap, “Strukturalismus. Story, problems and Methoden”. In: course book 5. Frankfurt at the Main 1966th S. 142.

(2) cf. in addition The Structure of Language. Readings in the Philosophy of Language. Edited by Jerry A. Fodor and Jerrold J. Katz. Eaglewood Cliffs, N. J. 1964.

(3) the concept of the element purely mathematically is grasped here; it may not be understood in this connection in the sense by “Sprachelement”.

(4) Walter Benjamin, “Das work of art in the age of its technical Reproduzierbarkeit”. In:gathered writings. Published of Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhäuser. Frankfurt at the Main 1974th volume I, S. 5o5.

(5) the writing of Lullus, 148o for the first time printed, know I only out of second hand. Over it and over the work A. Kirchers see Gustav René squat position,Manierismus in the literature. Spoke-Alchimie and esoteric combination art. Reinbek 1959.

(6)cent milliards de poèmes. Paris 1961.

(7) A. a. O. F. Le Lionnais, “Apropos de la littérature expérimentale”. The author here a doppelter error would be allowed to slip in be. For if the Endreim is supposed to be received, the word child must retain its position in the verse, may be subjected therefore not to the Permutation. Furthermore Le Lionnais reads the word one as a noun. It is to be understood however probably as a pronoun. Therefore it not concerns in Harsdörffer eleven, but rather around nine elements, that become permutiert. The Verbum can reversed has exchanges become with the other so that ten elements arise. The Distichon hated therefore:

Honor, art, money, Guth, praise, Waib and child
One has, seeks, is missing, hopes and disappears.

From that arise through Permutation, after the formula P (n) = n! exactly 1o! or 3,628 8oo different variants.

Even if one puts the number supposed by L. n = 11 bottom, it passes only to 11! = 39,916 8oo variants, that thousand are maintained less than L. To be sure it would be paltry to lead a so laughable deficit against the master into the field. Even the difference of round 33 millions, that itself auftut if one my Lesart of the his prefers, is, measured by click the unrestrained fertility kombinatorischer Algorithem, only a.

(8) Gerhard praise in:concrete poetry internationally (red 21). Published of Max Bense and Elisabeth Walther. Stuttgart 1965.

(1o) one something attempt more directed Erwin shepherd with its writing of poems undertook out of the computer. Out of poems of eighteen deutschsprachigen authors, he took ... “Teilkontexte, that itself out of a word until at most two lines zusammensetzen.” these quotations were transferred to hole strip, were sorted, stored, retrieved after the chance principle, permutiert and printed out. “Aus of the abundance of the new texts were chosen that, whose contents definable and interpretierbar ist.” not indicated become; the criteria for this. Moreover shepherd “Umstellungen undertook and Verbindungs- and transition texts hinzugefügt”, what considerably impairs the Validität of its program. However the conclusion that it pulls is interesting: “Daß a such experiment the poetry of an entire authors generation in question place can, show the results. Do out of poems by means of the computer, products emerge, whose Künstlichkeit and Profanität [?] for this very reason because it not concerns parody, doubt the original wecken.” shepherd in the rowLuchterhands lot sheet poetries 24 appeared is to writing. Neuwied and Berlin 197o.

(1o) Gustav René squat position, a. a. O. S. 52ff.

(11) Walter Benjamin, a. a. O. S. 493.


Line One

I love you, old locomotive! Don’t disappear into the hurricane, and promise to pick my bones in peace.
I miss you, Holy Ghost! Drop me into Paradise, and don’t forget to forget forever.
I envy you, dirty queen! Lead me into the tear gas, and help me to explode after all.
I hate you, sweet monster! Come closer into the ashcan, and leave me to shave all alone.
I kiss you, little giant! Suck me into my bottle, and allow me to shrink no more.
I mourn you, sad devil! Follow me into old age, and don’t force me to sleep without remorse.
I lost you, vain cowboy! Don’t lock me into the past, and trust me to suffer again.
I found you, hot girl! Dont’t go away into the wilderness, and tell me how to rejoice slowly.
I give in, bloody bastard! Welcome into my neverland, and hasten to repent fitfully.

Line Two

Worried scientists all over the place. God might stand it and be happy.
Tiny bloodsuckers at the stock exchange. We would prefer to like it for a while.
Gorgeous ulcers in department stores. The kinds must learn to fight it at once.
Pickled treasures in parking lots. You have to beat it before breakfast.
Plastic caresses in quotation marks. They expect you to buy it if necessary.
Costly protests in Washington. I hope to ignore it for a change.
Spurious spies in the sewers. The poor ought to try it all the same.
Tasty air-raids in comic books. Everybody will believe it in the end.
Dreamy vacations in your horoscope. The outside world might get it and be damned.
Furious funerals close at hand. Terrorists are going to smell it right away.

Line Three

Sloppy rumours: “My cleaning lady is pretty upset today.” This poem is too much.
Soft phone calls: “Your mother was so cold again.” Sex is good for you.
Wary obsessions: “The boss is rather uptight in bed.” My head is a mess.
Precarious handouts: “My analyst is too limp — you know.” This city is perfect.
Wet commercials: “I am quite naive basically.” Eternity is out.
Shrill theories: “Clean girls are so horny afterwards.” Suicide is not real.
Awkward excuses: “Americans are quite brutal — damn it!” Culture is a mug’s game.
Tired confessions: “The passengers are always drunk these days.” Law and order is chic.
Seductive gibberish: “You are so nasty — darling!” Sincerity is for suckers.

Line Four

Wildeyed businessmen roam the sidewalks, and ecology runs amuck.
Leering callgirls befoul our souls, and flagellation is in the air.
Tearful strangers fill our mouths, and paranoia hits back.
Grimy poets redeem deserted pools, and revulsion appears like an angel.
Casual watchdogs examine our lives, and marriage withers away.
Innocent butchers embellish our memories, and death is doing quite well.
Silent spin doctors destroy the universe, and the future seems to survive us.
Dapper gorillas sneer at the Vatican, and common sense is out for a kill.

Line Five

I wait. My bathroom is perfumed with grief. I giggle, I swear:
I reflect. My enemies are laced with snow. I shudder, I predict:
I play ping-pong. My gift to you is covered with rage. I burst, I stutter:
I understand. My widows are ablaze with wisdom. I pull my gun, I roar:
I compromise. My voice is full of regret. I run away, I boast:
I smile. My magic is drowning in joy. I take the train, I argue:
I hide. My bed is made of shit. I squirm, I sing:
I organize. My past is wrapped in hope. I pray, I preach:
I listen. My skin is oozing fear. I sneaze, I scream:

Line Six

Look at the corpses vanishing in the sky! Deep in space the music peters out.
Forget about the gangsters glowing on the screen! From time to time an orgy rings a bell.
We are like our president twitching in the hay! In the funeral parlor salvation hobbles on.
Lets talk with our gurus vomiting on the floor! Downstairs the system splits its sides.
Remember all the freaks crouching in the shelter! In the shopping center reason fades away.
Have mercy upon the gamblers sweating in the dark! No matter what we do, morality will not do.
We should avoid our parents whispering in the grave! In view of global warming, progress has its points.

Jacket 17 — June 2002 Contents pages
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