Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rimbaud by Jack Kerouac



















Arthur! On t' appela pas Jean!
Born in 1854 cursing in Charle-
ville thus paving the way for
the abominable murderousnesses
of Ardennes---No wonder your father left!
So you entered school at 8
---Proficient little Latinist you!
In October of 1869
Rimbaud is writing poetry
in Greek French—
Takes a runaway train

to Paris without a ticket,
the miraculous Mexican Brakeman
throws him off the fast
train, to Heaven, which
he no longer travels because
Heaven is everywhere---
Nevertheless the old fags
intervene---
Rimbaud nonplussed Rimbaud
trains in the green National
Guard, proud marching
in the dust with his heroes---
hoping to be buggered,
dreaming of the ultimate Girl.
---Cities are bombarded as
he stares & stares & chews
his degenerate lip & stares
with gray eyes at
Walled France---

Andre Gill was forerunner
to Andre Gide---
Long walks reading poems
in the Genet Haystacks---
The Voyant is born,
the deranged seer makes his
first Manifesto,
gives vowels colors
& consonants carking care,
comes under the influence
of old French Fairies
who accuse him of constipation
of the brain & diarrhea
of the mouth---
Verlaine summons him to Paris
with less aplomb than he
did banish girls to
Abyssinis---

Merde! screams Rimbaud
at Verlaine salons---
Gossip in Paris---Verlaine Wife
is jealous of a boy
with no seats to his trousers
---Love sends money from Brussels
---Mother Rimbaud hates
the importunity of Madame
Verlaine---Degenerate Arthur is suspected
of being a poet by now---
Screaming in the barn
Rimbaud writes Season in Hell,
his mother trembles
Verlaine sends money & bullets
into Rimbaud---
Rimbaud goes to the police
& presents his innocence
like the pale innocence of
his divine feminine Jesus
---Poor Verlaine, 2 years
in the can, but could have
got a knife in the heart

---Illuminations! Stuttgart!
Study of Languages!
On foot Rimbaud walks
& looks thru the Alpine
passes into Italy, looking
for clover bells, rabbits,
Genie Kingdoms & ahead
of his nothing but the old
Canaletto death of sun
on old Venetian buildings
---Rimbaud studies language
---hears of the Alleghanies,
of Brooklyn, of last
American Plages---
His angel sister dies---
Vienne! He looks at pastries
& pets old dogs! I hope!
This mad cat joins
the Dutch Army
& sails for Java
commanding the fleet
at midnight
on the bow, alone,
no one hears his Command
but every fishy shining in
the sea---August is
no time to stay in Java---
Aiming at Egypt, he's again
hungup in Italy so he goes back
home to deep armchair
but immediately he goes
again, to Cyprus, to
run a gang of quarry workers,---
what did he look like now.this later
Rimbaud?---Rock dust
& black backs & hacks
of coughers, the dream rises
in the Frenchman's Africa mind,---
Invalids from the tropics are always
loved---The Red Sea
in June, the coast clanks
in Arabia---Havar,
Havar, the magic trading
post---Aden, Aden,
South of Bedouin---
Ogaden, Ogaden, never
known---(Meanwhile
Verlaine sits in Paris
over cognacs wondering
what Arthur looks like now,
& how bleak their eyebrows
because they believed
in earlier eyebrow beauty)---
Who cares? What kinda
Frenchmen are these? Rimbaud, hit me
over the head with that rock!
Serious Rimbaud composes
elegant & learned articles
for National Geographic
Societies, & after wars
commands Harari Girl
(Ha Ha!) back
to Abyssinia, & she
was young, had black
eyes, thick lips, hair
curled, & breasts like
polished brown with
copper teats & ringlets
on her arms &
joined her hands upon her central loin &
had shoulders as broad as
Arthur's & little ears
---A girl of some
caste, in Bronzeville---

Rimbaud also knew
thinbonehipped Polynesians
with long tumbling hair &
tiny tits & big feet

Finally he starts
trading illegal guns
in Tajoura
riding in caravans, Mad,
with a belt of gold
around his waist---
Screwed by King Menelek!
The Shah of Shoa!
The noises of these names
in that noisy
French mind!

Cairo for the summer,
bitter lemon wind
& kisses in the dusty park
where girls sit
folded at
dusk
thinking nothing---

Havar! Havar!
By litter to Zeyla
he's carried moaning
his birthday---the boat
returns to chalk castle
Marseilles sadder than
time, than dream,
sadder than water
---Carcinoma, Rimbaud
is eaten by the disease
of overlife---They cut off
his beautiful leg---
He dies in the arms
of Ste Isabelle
his sister
& before rising to Heaven
sends his francs to Djami, Djami the Havari boy
his dody servant
8 years in the African
Frenchman's Hell,
& it all adds up
to nothing, like
Dostoevsky, Beethoven
or Da Vinci---

So, poets, rest awhile
& shut up:
Nothing ever came
of nothing.

Written in 1958 and published as a City Lights broadside in 1960.

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