Shake It Up a Little


That’s Rimbaud, Arthur (or is it Artur? I dunno) Rimbaud.

I read some of his poems and they were good, and I found him through reading about Ginsberg and Kerouac, Burroughs and how they liked Rimbaud during one or the other of their wild chapters of life.

Then I read a biography of Rimbaud that I don’t remember much from, though I liked it, his crowd reminded me of the backward children I hung out with in the Midwest in my salad days.  He came to Paris in 1871 during the aftermath, I think, of the Battle of Paris (about which I know very little, except that he was on the side of the insurrectionists).

He buddied up with Verlaine, another poet, and they scandalized the already terrorized Paris with their crazy living, woo woo.  After splitting with Verlaine, Rimbaud continued his crazy ways.

He didn’t write poetry for long — he ended up a merchant travelling all over the place, didn’t make much of a success of it.

What interested me about Rimbaud was his notion of the derangement of the senses.

Well, not what he actually wrote, which I don’t recall much of, but how it became one of the many visions that changed the way I thought.  Not the words, the words were just a kind of bow and arrow that shot the meaning right into my mind.

This, to me, is not a matter of the Matrix paradigm of how we are conditioned.

It’s more primal than that.

I don’t think Rimbaud’s debauchery was what it looked like, I’ll say that.

He did practice what he preached.  At the very time he was doing immoral and self-destructive acts, he was also using his own psyche as the canvas for the strange colors that resulted in his spirit and which produced his poems.

The dark and the light … they are never separate.

So even though I can’t put into words the transcendent visions that make me tag these kinds of essays “Rimbaud’s derangement of the senses,” I would like to share this tag with the rest of the Docudharmaniacs here, because I’m certainly not the only visionary in the house, as it were.

Happy Friday.  Spring in The Big Apple has been breathtaking.


  1. … did what they did because of the disenchantment of Western civilization. If he had lived in Persia he would have been a Sufi, if in India he would have been a yogi. The fact the West had killed off the mystics provided no paths. Those of us who followed the beats and hippies were looking for spiritual truths that could only come from alterning “normal” consciousness. Unfortunately the new modernist paths led nowhere but created some nice maps and inspiration for people like me who seek to combine the mystic arts of the East with the artistic mystical tradition of the West.  

  2. Some people just act like they aren’t, and by tamping their crazy down what they produce day to day is nothing to write home about.

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