PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT FROM THE PERFORMANCE BY NOAH BECKER
The artist is sitting on a chair in the exact center of the gallery space:
SECOND DELERIUM: THE ALCHEMY OF THE WORD by Arthur Rimbaud
My turn now. The story of one of my insanities.
For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes-- and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable.
What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints, old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children's books, old operas, silly old songs, the naïve rhythms of country rimes.
I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents; I used to believe in every kind of magic.
I invented colors for the vowels! A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would be its translator.
I began it as an investigation. I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.
Far from flocks, from birds and country girls, What did I drink within that leafy screen Surrounded by tender hazelnut trees In the warm green mist of afternoon? What could I drink from this young Oise --Tongueless trees, flowerless grass, dark skies-- Drink from these yellow gourds, far from the hut I loved? Some golden draught that made me sweat. I would have made a doubtful sign for an inn. Later, toward evening, the sky filled with clouds... Water from the woods runs out on virgin sands, and heavenly winds cast ice thick on the ponds; Then I saw gold, and wept, but could not drink. * * * At four in the morning, in summertime, Love's drowsiness still lasts... The bushes blow away the odor Of the night's feast. Beyond the bright Hesperides, wthin the western workshop of the Sun, Carpenters scramble-- in shirtsleeves-- Work is begun. And in desolate, moss-grown isles They raise their precious panels Where the city Will paint a hollow sky. For these charming dabblers in the arts who labor for a King in Babylon, Venus! Leave for a moment Lovers' haloed hearts... O Queen of Shepherds! Carry the purest eau-de-vie To these workmen while they rest And take their bath at noonday, in the sea.
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