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“A tiger....I didn’t come here for this, I don’t f^cking need this, all I wanted to do is f^cking cook....don't ever get off the boat!!" exclaims the former New Orleans 'Chef', the wound-too-tight paranoid gunboat sailor in 'Apocalypse Now'. (Hat tip to the late Frederic Forrest)
A century earlier, the poet Arthur Rimbaud not only got off the boat, he dived headlong into the water, immersed, stews in it, ruminates, smells the rain, flowers and sulphur and the excrement, yet expounds upon the inherent lush beauty while wrestling with the world and its demons and pitfalls, fighting for his soul he nearly drowns....he survives the ordeal, writes about it, scorns it, praises it, spits out an effigy, curses the terror, wrung out he drifts down the river, ecstasy, nightmare, and sleep in a nest of flames. Without rudder and anchor too, destined to become mere flotsam and jetsam, he finally turns his back on it, throws away his pen---disavows his gift, all at the ripe old age of nineteen. He throws off the halo of verse and becomes an everyman. The worms and maggots will knaw and eat through him; his mortal body will go the way of all flesh, and crumble in a grave like all others. The very thing he fought so hard against. He curses the sky, "hell is certainly down below", curses his mother, curses the muck and mire of the coarse old farm, burns his poems, escapes Charleville, Paris and Verlaine, leaves the known world and travels to Harar and sells rifles to the natives, trades coffee, ostrich feathers, spices, gum, tea and biscuits, while scorching under the hot African sun. Years go by, then he gets a wound on his leg, limps back to Marseilles at the age of 37, diagnosed with cancer they cut it off, he repents to a priest and dies soon after.
Years later, his younger sister had saved his work and they put a statue of him up in the small town square.
The grandfather/forerunner of Jarry, Apollinaire, Breton, Dada and Surrealism, Rimbaud firmly resides in the self-made upper echelon of the Symbolists. If you have the courage, look him up, if you read French, even better---'A Season in Hell', 'The Drunken Boat', the 'Illuminations'.

Drunken Boat for A.R.
Drunken Boat for A.R.
18"X 30"