From time to time I will use this blog for samples of my writing that I intend to publish. This one is from a piece called “Rimbaud’s Last Words,” and will be in my upcoming book, entitled Autopsy on a Ghost. (Note: the Rimbaud referred to is French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, who died at age 37 of cancer. On his deathbed, attended only by his loyal sister, he spoke strange and inspired words to her that, unfortunately, she did not record. I have imagined what he might have said. Rimbaud, whose entire literary output of any significance was written between the ages of 16 and 19, greatly influenced the French surrealists of the early 20th century.)
The desert fermented my soul like wine that will never be drunk. Or figs, sensuous as they remain, that rot at first contact with the gastric juices lubricating my words.
I go to more fruitful rhapsodies than my body suffered after I renounced poetry.
Abnegations more surreal than any canoe carrying a bevy of feathered natives to the seed of their nakedness . . .
More convulsive beauties than the most tortured artist ever colored a body cast with. Or witnessed at twilight, standing on the rock where Moses let Christ’s blood wet his upturned lips like rain.
The semitic weed blossoms like a Christian rose on my pagan face—Allah’s gardens have too long been watered with my sweat.
You, my sister, might be happy to hear this. But dont take it for a statement of orthodox belief. My deviant heart has always questioned authority. I’m still an apostle of the wicked innocence that repudiates the self-righteous sins of our fathers. My eyes having been opened, I dont pretend now to be blind to patriarchal chicanery.
But looking on the bright side, as death not just approaches but kisses me every moment, I see the music of a radiance Paris in her gloomy sophistication never shed like healing sun rays on the ears and eyes, all the senses, of her citizens.
A single unidentified flower—I can only say it is red as a wound—blossoms by my bedside, its roots reaching deep into the soil my bones have always grown in. It is the soil whose blood runs green, easily penetrated by silence, but which literature could not comprehend when it tried to dig it.
It just didnt take to words, at least not those of logical discourse, whether they rhymed or not. It would rather be planted by an irrational devotion. One emanating from faces pouring chants that perfume the lips of the ancient ones, lovers of chthonic harvests, respecters of dreams . . .
Let me tell you some of the dreams I dreamed since I gave up poetry (or the pretense of it). I didnt write them down—being too much like poems—but they never left me. Not that they haunted me, they were more like companions, goading me to give up the life of a wanderer, drop the pose of an ingrate who has a beef with civilization . . . and confess my desire for a house in the country (somewhere in the south of France, preferably not far from the Mediterranean) where I could explore, first with silence, then with words, the world beyond experience.
Beyond cynicism. Beyond criticism. Beyond words even. The world not of abject acceptance of social and political hypocrisy, but of the sacred clown who wears his sombrero on his erect phallus and his shoes on his head.