Published on December 28th, 2017 | by Christopher Cipollini0
We come to this world bearing a handful of salt, yet you came bearing a basket of unfathomable burden. Bound by words. Young. Too early to speak, a solider of misfortune in the armor of infant’s dress. Dejected from the cradle. In the country farmhouse where your mother came with a switch in hand, even the crows mourned your sufferings. Oh Isabella, what will become of your wayward brother? How will the poet write in hands already bloodied? How will he see he world in an inhuman mask? Yet you sought no pity. You tramped through an alleyway. To muddy your boots and utter profanity to the gods that fashioned you. The crux. The toy of the blasphemed. Fate may leave us an amputee yet still offer a wink in our favor. You seize the ticket and venture to the city, straddling two worlds. You brought an ugly, foul poet to his knees. Seeing this weakness you touched then cursed him.
Now he clobbers his child unborn in your name, and how you snicker, whilst unleashing a torrent of marvelous words through a bullet grazed hand. Yet something richer lay within. Where did you see him, Arthur? In a garden? Amid the shade of a topiary? In the ghostly folds of a harlequin statue? Did he emerge from the providences, or did you see him, the wisping shadow of a life come and gone. A child of Rome perhaps. Appearing in the glow of ritual fires in the Temple of Castor and Pollux? What is it that beseeches me know the rhythms of your words? What truths lay in the canon of your work? I seek to be like you-to emulate your incomparable beauty. Let my misfortune be my god, and let me conquer him. Let me carve my face as vile as a mogul, so I may live on the fruits of my pen alone. Let me be saintly and disheveled, as you were, when you trod the streets of Charleville seeking a refuge and benediction that was yours for the taking. Let me write in abandoned opera houses. Let me dream in hallowed corridors of the despoiled monasteries. Let me stain my trousers in seed and callous my hands. People see and fear yet trace and revere the poet.
Rimbaud-saint of the dank and disheveled.
A magnificent rogue. Let me curse the muses, as you did. For blighting me with a gift so fickle. So seldom does the poet have it in mind to become what he is. You were baptized in the grit of Marseilles and washed in the sands of Abyssinia Yet now what? What will become of Arthur? No child shall sing in his name. It would be forbidden. No tree would be planted in his honor. It would be fractured. No candle, nor crux, nor holy day. So I shall board the ship as you did. I will feast on the fruits of my work. As you have. I will be misunderstood, yet embedded in my truths, as you were.
You have finally attend God’s favor-but shall he attain yours?
“Thus, let the ninety nine wounds of our savior burst and bleed”.
This article was translated in French by Anne-Cécile Baer Porter.