“Ode to Eno Peeing in Duchamp’s Urinal”


Mark Blickley




October 23, 1990: “I thought, somebody should piss in that thing, to sort of bring it back to where it belonged.  So, I decided it had to be me.  I described my action as ‘re-commode-ification.’”  —Brian Eno







There’s a fly in the urinal, apparently deceased

No movement at all, that I can see at least.

As I unzip, I wonder, do flies have a soul?

Is there a fly heaven where they can go?

Are there fly preachers for this tiny species?

Promising rivers of honey and mountains of feces

Vowing streets will be paved with rotting meat

Exuding ambrosial fumes in eternal heat.

There’d be no dread swatters with dried guts of kin

And of course, no birds or spiders would be allowed in.

But that’s all too silly to seriously think so

They’re just not important enough as species go.

No there’s no heaven for this little fly

With fields of garbage awaiting on high

No celestial bliss for this little fellow

Just a watery grave of pale yellow.

It crosses my mind that at this junction

I should probably feel some sense of compunction.

I mean, it’s not very nice, no way to behave

Peeing disrespectfully on someone’s grave.

But this fly’s not a someone, is he?  Just a dead fly

And surely not as grand and deserving as I.

Granted—a fly’s existence has a useful role

In our planet’s system as a whole.

While I and my kind in the name of progress

Pollute and destroy and make a big mess

A fly’s not been known to murder his kind

To hate and cruelty he’s not inclined.

And a fly wouldn’t enslave one of its own

To greed and corruption, he’s not prone

He really does nothing to which a fault you can pin

OK—so he pukes on food, but that’s not a sin.

But a fly deserve heaven?  Who’d believe it?

No, that’s reserved for the species who can conceive it

And who continue to hold a dogged insistence

That they somehow deserve a continued existence

Free from pain and sadness, no old bones creaking

No spiders or swatters, metaphorically speaking

No maladies producing moaning and crying

No hunger or sorrow, no anguish, no dying.

What great hope and comfort in this grand ideal

Is it any wonder the mass appeal?

But now—a fly needs no solace, he doesn’t fear death

Has no selfish longing for eternal breath.

He just does what he does ’cause that’s what he must

Then it’s ashes to ashes and dust to dust

And someday my fate will be the same

I’ll return to that from which I came.

You see—the atoms which constitute all creation

Give all things in nature an unbiased relation

And when everything’s reduced to the bottom line

A fly’s basic makeup is the same as mine

So maybe someday will our atoms unite

In a tree or the ocean or a bird in flight

We might meet again this side of forever

So, I say “Adios, little fly guy,”

and I pull the flush lever









Mark Blickley grew up within walking distance of New York’s Bronx Zoo.  He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center.  Two of his videos represented the United States in the 2020 year-long international world tour of “Time Is Love: Universal Feelings: Myths & Conjunctions,” organized by esteemed Togelese-French curator, Kisito Assangni.  His latest book is the text-based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams. 


Image by Alfred Stieglitz and Mark Blickley.



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