From the great and glorious Scots we take the tradition of P.O.E.T.S. day: Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. This week’s invitation to look your boss right in the eye and tell him to go stuff it/sneak out the back and have a friend clock you out at the regular time is brought to you by Arthur Rimbaud, coiner of the phrase “azure snot.”
As a teen in the 1870s, he earned the scorn of members of the Parisian literati not named Paul Verlaine for his drunkenness. Verlaine, a poet himself, considered Rimbaud a genius and the two quickly began touching each others’ naughty parts. A recounting of their two year relationship was written by Rimbaud shortly after Verlaine was sentenced to two years in prison for shooting Rimbaud in the wrist. It was titled A Season In Hell. I haven’t read it myself so I couldn’t say how things ended between them.
Rimbaud gave up writing after that. He was not yet twenty years old. His biography from that point could be summed up by the word “adventurer” but with listlessness and alienation stepping in for the enterprise and wonder that we associate with the word. He spent time as a gun runner in Africa which has been a goal of mine since the first time I saw Casablanca. At the age of thirty-seven he died after having a cancerous leg removed.
The scant years he spent writing have him enshrined among the creators of free verse (would that that egg go back into the shell), an early user of synesthesia in poetic imagery, and one of the great symbolists. Join me in taking off early, raising your glass, and saluting the short and remarkable life of a drunken jackass kid you would never, never in a million years have invited over to your house.
From the Drunken Boat:
But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking.
Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter:
Sharp love has swollen me up with heady langours.
O let my keel split! O let me sink to the bottom!