Interlude 1: Another intercoursing poem. This time involving Miller, Rimbaud and Bergman.

31 Jul

(Another poem. Not sure why I’m writing these. Something clicks, usually when I’m walking my dog at night. Then I bang it out. And here’s my first attempt, if you’re interested)


I Don’t Want To Intercourse Miller, Rimbaud, or Bergman.


Poetry should be simple and direct.

Like a hammer.

Or an axe.

Poetry should leave a mark.

It should cleave.

It should cut.

It should bash.

Poetry is a medieval weapon.

Ancient and atavistic.

Crude and cruel.

And weirdly enduring.


And so here I am,

No lover of poetry.

Yet at it again.


Henry Miller wrote, “I was born hungry.”

(Me, too, Henry.)

I have a love/hate thing with Miller.

Some of his books are fantastic.

Some of them are terrible.

He writes with a large appetite.

He writes of poverty and tits and cocks and derangement.

He is one of the finest poets of the gutter.

He didn’t publish his first book until he was 43.

(Think of that!)


When I was 30, I read Tropic of Cancer.

I was floored.

I was intrigued.

I was entranced.


Miller loved Rimbaud.

He loved poetry.

He loved wine.

He loved women.


I don’t write like Henry Miller.


Arthur Rimbaud wrote “No more hymns.”

(There’s something about that line.)

Goddamn him.

I read him, can’t shake him.

I read about him, can’t understand him.

He was poor.

He was raped.

He had a scandalous affair with Verlaine.

He wrote A Season in Hell at nineteen!

He wandered Harrar after midnight

stoned out of his gourd.

He wrote poetry of a new kind

Love and hate and beauty and disgust in equal measure

standing outside of other poetic traditions.

He had style! He had verve! He had élan!


When I was 27 I read Illuminations.

I was elated.

I was astonished.

I was bewildered.


He loved Baudelaire.

He loved danger.

He loved money.

He loved I don’t know what.


I don’t write like Arthur Rimbaud either.


Ingmar Bergman.

Critics tell you to watch Persona.

Okay, fine.

I would start with Wild Strawberries.

Or The Magician.

I love Hour of the Wolf.

I think Shame is a goddamn masterpiece.

I adore Cries and Whispers.


He made bad films too.

I think The Still-Life of the Marionettes is a disgrace.

I think The Serpent’s Egg is miserable.


When I was 19, I saw The Seventh Seal.

I was riveted.

I was confused.

I was horrified.


Knight: Have you come for me?

Death: I have been walking by your side for a long time.


Cinema was born.

Bergman isn’t safe. He isn’t easy. He isn’t nice or kind.

He’s Ibsen and Strindberg on celluloid:

Or, as Diane Keaton says in Manhattan, “Okay, I get it, God’s silence!”


God’s silence.

I get it.

Or I don’t.

Two words that encompass centuries of art.

Most of fiction.

All of cinema.


He loved women.

He loved the stage.

He loved Kierkegaard?

(This is a guess. Or a dumb joke. Or both.)

He loved himself.

Ingmar Bergman wasn’t a writer. Not really.

Or, more accurately, not first.


(And I don’t write like him.)


Who was Henry Miller?

The sainted assassin.

The sexist pig.

The great bald-headed fucker of women.

The derelict.

The horny goat.

The alchemist on paper.

The expatriated American.

The magical author of the Tropics.

The miserly author of Moloch.

Miller is funny.

Miller is knowing.

Miller is worldly.

Beneath the rough exterior, he was probably a nice guy.

He died happy at 88.

Heart attack in California.

His life teaches us something. Not sure what.


Who was Arthur Rimbaud?

I don’t have a goddamn clue.

Satan incarnate?

The bringer of light?

A drunk

an arms dealer

a seducer

a home wrecker

a bastard shit-heel

a French refugee in flight from his own country.

One of the few in-born geniuses of literature.

Rimbaud is searching.

Rimbaud is searing.

Rimbaud is scary.

He was carried through the desert on a stretcher.

At the end of his life he was obsessed with money.

He died in a hospital with one of his legs amputated.

His life teaches us nothing. Just suffering and blackness.


Who was Ingmar Bergman?

Christ-haunted. Hell, just haunted haunted.

A womanizer.

(And you can see it in his movies, if you look.)

A great stage director.

A middling novelist.

A wonderful screenwriter.

A magician, a knight, a squire, a wolf.

Death on the beach in a silly cowl.

A Swedish exile inside his homeland.

Chilly inside.

Bergman is wintry.

Bergman is driven.

Bergman is beautiful.

He spent the last decade of his life isolated

in a stone house

on a remote island.

His life teaches us the value of emotional distance.


Two womanizers and something . . . else.

Two sad, lonely, driven men and something . . . else.

Great men, yes, but not good men.

Not people to emulate.


I do not want to intercourse Henry Miller.

I do not want to intercourse Arthur Rimbaud.

I do not want to intercourse Ingmar Bergman.


I don’t sleep well.

I worry.

I fret.

I ponder.

I ruminate on unlived lives.

(I don’t wander foreign cities drunk on cheap wine.

I don’t write and direct my own films.)

My imagination creates chimeras with enormous fucking teeth.

I always thought children would erase the dark pieces inside.


They don’t.

I have two daughters.

I’m a bigger wreck now than before.

At night I hear screaming children through the whir of the fans.

I hear gunshots, the rumbling of detonated nuclear warheads.

Long-limbed assailants with sharp hooks for hands.

Motorcycle gangs from some ridiculous B movie.

Masked men running up the stairs.

Once I woke up to the sound of a woman being strangled.

I ran out to save her and found a dark, empty apartment.

I’m a mess.


Bergman writes poetry with film.

He adds to my worry.

He offers so little solace.

Rimbaud writes poetry with words (before negating it with his life).

He adds to my worry.

He offers so little redemption.

Henry Miller writes poetry with prose.

He doesn’t add to my worry, although he should.

The second line of Tropic of Cancer says it all:

“We are all here alone and we are all dead.”







2 Responses to “Interlude 1: Another intercoursing poem. This time involving Miller, Rimbaud and Bergman.”


  1. National Book Award winners, number 32: 1996’s Ship Fever, by Andrea Barrett. | simoneandthesilversurfer - August 22, 2014

    […] been writing poems recently, which is insane. I’ve been reading more of it, but my mind seems to want to write poems now, instead of […]

  2. Interlude 1: Unfinished Poem from the year 5000. | simoneandthesilversurfer - September 27, 2015

    […] where it was going. But, hell, we have to put our stuff out there, right? So here’s another intercoursing poem, incomplete and disatisfying. But it’s science fiction-y, which puts it in a strange […]

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