So the other day I passed by Montreal's best bookstore, Le Port de Tête, and picked up a used copy of Tristan Tzara's 1931 epic poem, L'homme approximatif. When I got it home, I noticed there was a slip of paper inserted between pages 52 and 53, and on it there was an anonymous poem, typed out and printed in that mimeographic purple ink I recall from childhood:
Whom do I know?Scattered nobodies.Whom do I love?Your mother.What don't I have?A brother.And where did he go?We don't know.What follows the night?Light.And how should I write?(Slight):As smooth as the silk of the worms of Cathay,and as rhythmic as Edna St. Vincent Millay.
I Googled various lines of the poem, and nothing came up. It's evidently just some amateur trifle, yet something about it sticks with me, even more than anything I've found so far in Tzara's own poem. What was it doing there, between those pages? Why was it mimeographed decades ago? Who is the questioner? Who the respondent? Wby should one write in the recommended way? I would be delighted if, miraculously, the person with the answers were to step forward.