RamboRimbaudBookshelf copy

So delighted to be a part of The Operating System’s 30/30/30 Poetry Month project, an always fascinating series of essays by a variety of artists about poets who have inspired them. New essays are posted each day of Poetry Month ( frequently including art directly inspired by that poet) and mine went up today — so you can read about my unconventional relationship with 19th century French bad boy poet Arthur Rimbaud and 1980s bad action hero Rambo, as well as my poem “Filling Station (Rambo & Rimbaud, Proprietors)” here.

An excerpt from the essay:

Everything’s a bad translation, I decided at one point—the difference between what’s in your heart/head and what gets on paper, the difference between the printed and the spoken, all the other things other people hear when you say “poet”, your Rimbaud, my Rambo.

During the years I wrote Rambo/Rimbaud poems, it didn’t occur to me that what I was doing was looking for a way in, a way to understand these figures that had no resonance for me, as the world seemed to say they should.

Plus, of course, putting Rambo and Rimbaud together is just inherently funny.


And the poem begins:

A thoroughly dirty
little gas station
on a high desert road,
oil-soaked, oil-permeated
to an overall
mirage translucency
under the bored stare
of an afternoon which asks, if,
since things are so slow,
could it go early?

Rimbaud sits in the shade
of the cement porch
behind the pumps
on a crushed and grease-
impregnated wickerwork taboret,
part of a set,
beside a big hirsute begonia.

Head on over to The Operating System to read the rest. Enjoy!


(And I recommend checking out the other entries in series too — Anton Yakovlev on Joshua Mehigan, Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo on Linda Gregerson, et al.)