Franz Marc’s Birthday* – Temporary Residence

Zwei Wölfe, Franz Marc, 1913

“Furr” – Blitzen Trapper

Yeah, when I was only 17,
I could hear the angels whispering
So I droned into the words and
wandered aimlessly about till
I heard my mother shouting through the fog
It turned out to be the howling of a dog
or a wolf to be exact.
The sound sent shivers down my back
but I was drawn into the pack.
And before long, they allowed me
to join in and sing their song.
So from the cliffs and highest hill, yeah
we would gladly get our fill,
howling endlessly and shrilly at the dawn.
And I lost the taste for judging right from wrong.
For my flesh had turned to fur, yeah
And my thoughts, they surely were turned to
instinct and obedience to God.

You can wear your fur
like the river on fire.
But you better be sure
if you’re makin’ God a liar.
I’m a rattlesnake, babe,
I’m like fuel on fire.
So if you’re gonna’ get made,
don’t be afraid of what you’ve learned.

On the day that I turned 23,
I was curled up underneath a dogwood tree.
When suddenly a girl
with skin the color of a pearl,
wandered aimlessly,
but she didn’t seem to see.
She was listenin’ for the angels just like me.
So I stood and looked about.
I brushed the leaves off of my snout.
And then I heard my mother shouting through the trees.
You should have seen that girl go shaky at the knees.
So I took her by the arm
we settled down upon a farm.
And raised our children up as
gently as you please.

And now my fur has turned to skin.
And I’ve been quickly ushered in
to a world that I confess I do not know.
But I still dream of running careless through the snow.
An’ through the howlin’ winds that blow,
across the ancient distant flow,
it fill our bodies up like water till we know.

§ § §

*(Actually February 8) This year’s anecdote: In the frustration of inertia I went back to as yet untranslated Marc letters, and I found some correspondence that looked interesting about when FM went to visit the Brücke  at the beginning of 1912. FM was only supposed to be gone for a few days but actually disappeared for, like, three weeks – this was noted by KBoyV who wrote annoyed notes almost every day commenting on the the situation, i.e. “You left on 2 January and were supposed to return on 5 January and it is now 12 January!”

FM sent some cheerful postcards but made no mention of being in any hurry to return to being, as FM put it, “henpecked.” (FM went to Berlin around the holidays anyway, to visit his perplexed in-laws, camp out on the doorstep of the von Eckhardts, continue investigating the musems, and generally “see what was going on.”)

FM was very intrigued by the crazy goings-on at the Brücke hangout, trying to remain unfazed in the midst of what must have been, even by FM standards, extreme partying situations, nonetheless reporting breathlessly in letters (“OMG these guys are doing DRUGS and stuff!..” and [this is an actual quote, not my interpretation for the modern times] about people “doing goblin-like gymnastics and  cartwheels.”

The Brücke  had made all their own furniture, wall hangings, murals, even ceramics, lamps, glassware and stuff, and despite the CD cases, pizza boxes and beer bottles strewn around it looked like kind of  a cool studio to hang out in. Anyway, a repeated theme in people’s observations and sometimes FM’s own about himself is that he was, sometimes, kind of clumsy or as KBoyV frequently remarks “awkward.” The Brücke dudes finally agree to let FM put some of their stuff in the second Blue Rider show. Meanwhile, FM  keeps accidentally busting up their handmade furniture. On 19 January 1912, there was actually the classic sit-down-on-a-chair-and-it-breaks pratfall.

HM was finally dispatched to Berlin to get FM detoxed from opium, teenagers, or whatever, and back on the train home to Bavaria (this lead to a typically digressive and huffy mini-festo on the annoying tendency of trains to go, you know, directly from place to place instead of just cruising around for a while). FM remarked to HM upon departing that even though the place was pretty much already trashed when he got there, it looked like “a couple of giant bears had turned everything over” by the time he left…

From (more or less): Franz Marc: Briefe, Schriften, Aufzeichnungen. Leipzig: Gustav Kiepenheuer, 1989, S. 60-66

What do you think?