Urmuz is the nome-de-guerre of Demetru Demetrescu-Buzau.
He was born in Romania in 1883, studied law and earned a living as a judge's
assistant. His entire literary output consists of eight story/poems, (of
which Fuchsiada is the longest) and one short absurdist poem. The story/poems
were presumably written to entertain his nieces: Urmuz did not originally
see himself as a littérateur. He was fortuitously found by Romanian poet
Tudor Arghezi (see "The Chiming Man" in Exquisite Corpse #56
and Thus Spake the Corpse, vol. 2), who bestowed on him the Urmuz moniker,
and published a volume of his complete works. Urmuz took his own life
upon publication of this volume, in 1923. His fame is posthumous: the
Romanian avant-garde made Urmuz their star; Eugene Ionesco credits him
as his seminal source of inspiration. Tristan Tzara attempted to suppress
the French publication of the Urmuz texts, according to noted critic Virgil
Ierunca, "in order not to blemish his own claim at originality."
The young and fervent Geo Bogza (long before
he became a state poet):
"Urmuz's presence among us: a whip to lash at
our conscience. In the basement of our soul, bent deeply from the waist
down, we follow the traces his steps have left, gashing violently the
earth trivialized by the mundane.
Virgin ears still bleed from the deflowering
precipitated by his impetuous and virile sentence.
From this moment on the word becomes a fertile
spermatozoid. Urmuz too was a contributing surgeon to the operation which
Voronca committed upon the stuttering and anchilozed language.
At the century's crossroads: Urmuz swaying,
a noose about his neck: semaphore signaling the disequilibrium of those
leaning attentively over the clamor emanating from the soul's abyss."
Heroico-erotic poem, musical too, in prose
Fuchs was not engendered by his mother, not quite... In the beginning,
when he came into being, he was not actually seen, but only heard, because
Fuchs, when he was given birth opted to come out through one of his grandmother's
ears, his mother being possessed not at all of a musical ear.
Following that, Fuchs went directly to the
Conservatory... There he took the form of a perfect chord and, after spending
at first, out of artistic modesty, three years hidden at the bottom of
a piano, without anyone's knowledge, came up to the surface and in a few
minutes concluded the course in harmony and counterpoint and wound up
his piano studies... Then he stepped down, but counter to all his expectations,
discovered regretfully that two of the sounds from which he was composed,
altered by the passage of time, had decayed: one, into a pair of mustaches
with spectacles behind the ears, while the other, into an umbrella - which
together with a G-sharp which was still left to him, endowed Fuchs with
his precise, allegoric, and definitive form...
Later, during puberty, it is told, Fuchs
developed a kind of genital organs which were solely a young and exuberant
vine leaf, as he was by nature uncommonly bashful, and would not permit,
for the very life of him, anything more than a leaf or a flower...
This leaf also serves him - it is so believed
- as daily nutriment. The artist absorbs it each evening before bedtime,
then crawls quietly at the bottom of his umbrella and after he locks himself
in securely with two musical keys, falls asleep carried off by musical
staves and swayed by wings of angelic harmonies, and seized by dreams
hearkened till the following morn, when - bashful as his wont - will not
surface from his umbrella until a new leaf has grown to replace the old.
During one of his days, Fuchs, having taken his umbrella to the repair
shop, was forced to spend the night under the open sky.
The mysterious charm of the night with its
harmonies, with those whispers, as though from another world, bestowing
dreams and melancholy wonder, moved Fuchs such, that - in ecstatic transcendence
- after pedaling his piano for three hours, without playing it, for fear
of disturbing the silence of the night, he wound up, by grace of this
bizarre mode of locomotion, in a gloomy neighborhood, in the direction
of which, obeying a will not his own, he had been drawn to mysteriously
- gossipy lips so spill it it was the same illustrious street which the
good emperor Trajan, after the counsel of his father, Nerva,
intimated to the naive shepherd Bucur to set down as the first, when he
founded the city which now bears his name...
All at once, several terrestrial votaries
of the Venerated One, humble servants at love's altar, vested in translucent
alabaster, with incrimsoned lips and shadowy eyes, surrounded Fuchs from
all directions. It was a splendid summer night. All about, song and glee,
sweet whispers, harmony... The vestals of bliss greeted the artist with
flowers, with towels artistically embroidered, with captivating kettles
and bygone washbasins of brass brimming with aromatic water. Each shouted,
louder than the other: "Darling Fuchs, give me your immaterial love!",
"O, Fuchs, you are the only one who understands how to love us purely!";
and as though urged on by one and the same impulse, culminated in chorus:
"Dear, dear Fuchs, play us a sonata!"...
Fuchs, out of modesty, squeezed into the
piano. In vain all efforts to persuade him to make an appearance. The
artist acquiesced but barely, to allow his hands to be lugged out and,
performed in a masterly mode close to a dozen concerts, fantasies, etudes
and sonatas, and moreover for three hours straight executed scales and
various exercises of legato, staccato and, Schule der Geläufigkeit...
Since even the goddess Venus, the Venerated
One herself born out of the sea's white foam, was bewitched - perhaps
notably on the score of the legato studies, whose ethereal sonorities
reached likewise her ears on Mount Olympus, ruffled in her goddess-like
serenity, she, who had been no one's since Vulcan and Adonis - transgressed
in thought, and overwhelmed by craving, powerless to fight off the temptation
of an audience with Fuchs, resolved to possess him for a night...
In pursuit of this aim she first sent Cupid
to pierce Fuchs' heart with an arrow on whose tip she placed a missive
bidding him up to Olympus.
At the appointed hour, the Three Graces appeared...
They fetched Fuchs and ferried him lightly
upon soft and voluptuous limbs, to the start of a silken ladder, made
of musical staves, ladder which had been fastened to the Olympus balcony,
where The Venerated One awaited...
Chance would have it however that Vulcan-Hephaistos
should get wind of this, and sizzling with jealousy, caused a powerful
rain to unleash, as vengeance, through the offices of Zeus...
Fuchs, though with umbrella in the shop,
did not give in to defeat, being agile in ambling effortlessly with his
staves, and, aided by the vigorous wings of musical inspiration, hoisted
himself higher and higher, braving nature's elements. At last, drenched
in rain, he reached Olympus. Aphrodite welcomed him as a hero. She embraced
him, kissed him with passion, and then sent him off to an automated prune
At night Fuchs was ushered into the alcove.
All around, nothing but song and flowers. The Graces and the other olympian
servants of the Venerated One, dancing before him, covered him with flowers
and sprinkled him with intoxicating fragrances, while off in the distance
innumerable unseen wooers, guided by the miraculous bow of Orpheus, intoned
songs in exaltation of amorousness...
Before long, the nine muses appeared. By
means of the melodious tongue of Euterpe they conveyed their greeting
to Fuchs thus: "Be welcomed, o chosen mortal, you who through your
divine art draws humans closer to the gods! Venus awaits you! May Jupiter
will it that your art and your love's caress be worthy of the Goddess
- our mistress - and may he will it that a new and superior race will
spring out of the amorous play which will join you, race which will populate
from now on not only the earth, which is incapable of aspiring beyond
Olympus, but Olympus itself - like the earth - subject, woe, to decadence!!
Thus they spoke, and the chorus of unseen wooers intoned anew in exaltation
of amorousness, while the Olympian bards, tuning their lyres, extolled
in verse the immortal moment.
But before long, silence ruled again...
All at once, there was no one about... A bluish semiobscurity invaded
the alcove. Venus was disrobed. White, hands twined behind her head under
the loosened golden tresses, with a gesture of delicious abandonment and
supreme voluptuousness, she stretched her superb milky figure on the bed
of soft pillows and flowers. In the air, warmth and arousing aromas. Fuchs,
from bashfulness and fright, longed to hide inside a crack. But as something
like that does not exist in Olympus, he saw it necessary to give himself
courage with no aid from anyone.
It was as though he wanted first run around
the room a little, but Aphrodite with her silken hand, with her fingers
of perfumed roses, helped him out of his difficulty... She picked him
off the floor gingerly, she caressed him, she hoisted him two-three times
to the ceiling and, gazing at him long, she kissed him with craving. Then
she caressed him anew, kissed him again a thousand times and then seated
him softly between her breasts...
Fuchs began to quiver from joy and from
fright would have liked to leap off somewhere like a flea. But since those
warm and perfumed breasts made him dizzy and crazy, he began hopping like
a tadpole gone out of his head all over the place, bolted in a zig-zag
across the flesh of the goddess, quick and fidgety, grazing like a loon
over the rosy tips of her breasts, over the silky hips, squeezing through
her plump and flaming thighs...
Fuchs was beyond recognition. His spectacles
cast perverse glimmers, the strands of his mustache became wet and libidinous.
A goodly length of time lingered in this manner, but the artist did not
know, in essence, what exactly was left to be done, and neither was the
goddess one to wait much longer.
Somewhere he had heard, that "in love,
as opposed to music, everything ends with an opening. Well, fine
then, but Fuchs could not find it, no... could not hear it anywhere.
Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. He told
himself that, just as the opening, as music, can be conjoined with
by ear only and the ear being the body's most noble opening (of
those which Fuchs had known) - the divine music's organ and through which,
looming up into the world, he had gazed first upon the light of day -
it follows then the joy supreme must be sought nowhere else but in the
Fuchs, now invigorated, collected himself,
wound himself up and, from the goddess's toe tips, with untold frenzy,
charged forward with a sforzando and penetrated the eyelet in the
goddess's right ear lobe, through which she customarily inserted her ear
rings, vanishing inside entirely.
Once anew the choruses of unseen wooers
and muses intoned in the distance songs in praise of amorousness and once
anew the Olympian bards, tuning their lyres extolled in verse the immortal
After close to an hour of repose, during
which time he verified his vine leaf and sketched a romance for the piano,
Fuchs presented himself upon the ear lobe, vested in tails and white tie,
radiant and gratified, tossing thank-yous and compliments right and left
to the gathered throng which had been awaiting him feverishly, in the
manner he had learned on earth when he happened to give a gala concert.
He stepped forth and graciously offered the Venerated One the dedicated
But, with shock and distress, the artist
ascertained that nary one clap of applause arrived from anywhere. In truth,
all the tenants of Olympus, stared thwarted at one another. The goddess,
at first perplexed, then vexed and gravely offended, discerning that Fuchs
deemed his mission undeniably fulfilled - she who had at no time received
such affront, not even from the gods themselves - shot quickly to her
feet and, crimson as a poppy flower, irked, shook once her head, gracefully
but drastically, inducing Fuchs to tumble to the ground.
All at once, as though from a sign unseen,
the whole of Olympus was on its feet... A deluge of hollers and threats
from all quarters. Bar none all frothed with rage at the slap in the face
of Olympus by the unskillful earthling... A vigorous arm enjoined by Apollo
and Mars yanked Fuchs's vine leaf, sticking in its place the gadgets which
were by rights his own. Severe orders were issued that in the future the
vine leaf be only accorded to statues, while a graceful hand, the rosy
one of the goddess herself, gripped gingerly the artist by the ear and,
with a noble gesture, but an energetic one, flung Fuchs into Chaos.
A deluge of hollers and threats. A deluge of disonancies, of chords upturned
and unconcluded, of dodged cadenzas, faulty consonancies, of trills, but
above all, rests, showered from every direction upon the exiled artist.
A hail storm of jagged sharps and naturals pelted his back ceaselessly,
a drawn out rest shattered his spectacles... Those gods possessed of viciousness
in excess barraged him with shinbones, with aeolian harps, with lyres
and cimbals, and, utmost of score-settling, with Acteon, with Polyeucte,
and with Enescu's Third Symphony, whose inspired music on this
occasion, originated indeed from Olympus.
At last, Fuchs's fate was decided. He was
to first roam through Chaos with unbearable swiftness, in five minute
revolutions, around the planet Venus, then after, so as to wholly expiate
the affront brought upon the goddess, he was to be exiled companionless
to the uninhabited planet, with the burden of giving birth on his own
and on his own alone, to that off-spring, that superior race of artists,
which should have sprung forth in Olympus from his amorous union with
Fuchs barely began carrying out his verdict,
when Pallas-Athena, forbearing, stepped in (unexpectedly) on his behalf.
He was granted permission to fall back to
earth, but only under one condition: there is so much useless off-spring
there, artistic or not, that it was not at all needed to beget any other.
It was foisted on Fuchs the task of doing away with snobbism and spinelessness
of thought in art on earth's realms.
Placed thus, in this dire bind, after a
prolonged and mature cogitation, the artist determined that this last
condition was far more difficult to bring about than the off-spring begetting
A heroical decision was then reached by
our hero in his roaming through Chaos. He consented to accept Athena's
assistance under the condition imposed upon him; but, when he sensed the
proximity of earth, he did what he did and, budging a bit to the right,
he dropped down in that very neighborhood, slightly shady, from which
he departed and which spellbound him such.
Knowing himself now well prepared, he would
learn here how to put into practice that which he hadn't known until then,
so that afterwards, fully initiated, he would request the Venerated One's
audience so as to try to rehabilitate himself as best he could in what
had been left wanting. In this manner, he told himself, it will become
possible to give birth to that new race of supermen, and thus would be
released of the duty to undertake on earth the impossible bane imposed
But the vestals of pleasure, who had welcomed
him mirthfuly, upon discerning his intentions, surrounded him from all
directions, intercepted abruptly his forward motion and beleaguered, bereaved,
flailing their arms in the air in sign of protest, excommunicated him
from the neighborhood, exclaiming in unison: "Woe to you, Fuchs,
we have lost you and recognize you no longer, because formerly you were
the only one who, from Plato's times onwards, understood how to love us
purely... What sort of thoughts do you nurse as you step amongst us? Woe
to us from now on deprived of the aesthetics of your sonatas, woe to you
deprived of the inspiration of our lofty love! Fie on her who, though
our mistress, Olympus's and the world's, did not understand how to appreciate
you, and spurning your love and art, led you to fall so high up... Flee,
Fuchs, you are unworthy of us now!
Flee, Fuchs, you slimy satyr! How could
you devalue the noblest organ, the ear?! Flee Fuchs, you're dishonoring
Flee, Fuchs, and may the gods protect you!"
Thus excommunicated, and frightened of an
eventual discharge of their liquid displeasure, Fuchs sat swiftly at his
piano and, pedaling steadily and forcefully, arrived lastly at his quiet
shelter, with his spirits oppressed, disconcerted, sickened of men as
well as of gods, of love as well as of muses...
He fled to get his umbrella back from the
shop and, taking his piano along, they vanished forever in the midst of
nature, glorious and unbounded...
From there his music radiates with equal
force in all directions, thus causing the word of grateful Fate to be
carried out in part, ordaining him that through his scales, concerts and
etudes of staccato, to spread far the word and by their grace,
through the power of education, to cause the appearance in time on this
planet an improved and superior race of beings, towards his glory, his
piano's, and Eternity's...