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Disappearing Poets: The Dada of Julian Torma

My name is Jamie Lee Hamann and I started sharing poetry articles back in 2013. Every year I share a poem a day in April.


Meeting Mr. Jarry

"Why, odd even asking, did you feel the need to bring your baboon Mr. Jarry?" The village Detective asked.

"Well sir being the creator of Pataphysics a certain weight of responsibility lies upon my shoulders." Alfred replied as he dug through his leather briefcase. The baboon stared at the detective.

"Fine. But tell me is he dangerous?"

"He is ok. Ok. Ok. Now detective what brings you to my room at such an hour?"

"Sorry to disturb your lunch, sir. I am responding to a report of a missing person by the name of Julien Torma. A thirty year old male apparently arrived in our quaint village, Tyrol, a few weeks ago and has not been seen in days." The detective inched his way towards the rooms coat rack and wondered if this was enough protection from a baboon.

"Yes. Yes. Yes. My friend Julien took off on a hike into the Alps and never returned. Baboon here has missed him terribly. I, on the other hand, am not bothered either way but felt a report should be filed. Morals and all." Alfred pulled a few books out of his bag and threw them onto the floor. The baboon, bored with the detective's questioning, sauntered towards the books. He stopped and looked over towards Alfred, then the detective, grabbed the top book and hurried into the bedroom. "Excuse him he prefers a book over social situations."


Born on the Pataphysical Calendar

"Mr. Jarry what was your affiliation to Mr. Torma?" The detective took a seat now the baboon left the room and opened a small note pad.

"Why he is the first person born on my Pataphysical Calendar."

"What is this Pataphysics you keep referring to Mr. Jarry?"

"Apparently Julien Torma was born on 6 April 1902 according to my Calendar." Alfred began to thumb through the remaining books on the floor. After a few seconds of shuffling he picked up a used looking notebook. "Here read this."

"Thank you." The detective accepted the notebook from Alfred and took note of how heavy it felt. He opened to the first page and saw written a definition of Pataphysics. "Pataphysics is defined as the science of imaginary solutions? Interesting yet not helpful really."

"For us, dear detective, life is a fact. No more or no less."

What is Pataphysics?


  • Opposites are equivalent
  • Explains the Universe as supplementary to ours
  • It is a science of imaginary solutions
  • It is a science that governs exceptions
  • All alternative outcomes accepted as long as reality based


"That is why I am here Mr. Jarry." The detective noticed that Alfred's clothes were being held together by safety pins. An all black sports jacket, with many holes, and black bicycle pants that tightened above the ankles. "I am interested in finding Julien Torma."

"Well whatever happened to him all alternative outcomes will be examined."

"Alternative outcomes?"

"All possibilities are one the table." Alfred replied as a phone nearby filled the room with a ring. "Excuse me a second detective."

"Do you mind if I look around?"

"Feel free." Alfred picked up the phone. "Hello Ubu here."


Ubu's Last Stand

The eyes of the detective fell upon an old trunk. After moving closer and opening the aged crate he noticed four incredibly detailed puppets. Each ancient marionette, well adorned with fancy clothes and trinkets, displayed a name plate over its chest. He noticed a portly puppet with a small triangular beard like Mr. Jarry. The plate across the large chest read 'Ubu' and the detective wondered who 'Ubu' was and why did Mr. Jarry answer the phone in such a manner. A commotion between Mr. Jarry on the phone and his baboon startled the detective who quickly closed and locked the trunk. He moved his attention to a collection of Julien Torma books.

A Julien Torma Book List

  • The Obscure Lamp (1919)
  • The Big Troche (1925)
  • Cuts (1926)
  • Euphorisms (1926)

The Interview Ends

"So the only record found of Mr. Torma reveals his age, thirty, but also reveals a very secretive life." The detective spoke with a loud authoritative voice towards Mr. Jarry's room. "He wrote three books yet no one knows him on an intimate level?"

"This is why Julien used to say 'sacrilege is acceptable only as a game’." Alfred walked out of the room hand in hand with the baboon. For a second the detective thought he saw them skip.

"Mr. Jarry I must walk in the cold mountain air. Nothing you have said makes a lick of sense." The detective placed the notebook under his arm. He felt as if he needed to read these books written by Julien Torma and wondered about the town library. "Thank you for the notebook and a good day to you sir."

"Yes. Yes. Yes. A good day for a bicycle ride. Remember detective to accept all alternative outcomes." Alfred Jarry tore himself from the baboon's glare and picked up a ten speed from behind the couch. "You, baboon, tidy up a bit while I ride."

An Hour Long Lecture on Pataphysics

Everything is Going DADA

The detective moved to the side of the hotel staircase as Alfred Jarry locked his door and barreled by holding his ten speed on his shoulders. Soon the detective made it to the street below. He wondered if Julien Torma was widely read and if this crazy Alfred Jarry character did not make him up, books and all.

He took a deep breath of air as he reached outside. Well he would keep searching but really the Alps never forgive. What if Julien Torma was one of Alfred Jarry's puppets or another baboon?

He felt revived at this new case and enjoyed a curiosity he had not felt for a long while.

© 2022 Jamie Lee Hamann