December 30th, 2011 / 12:05 pm

woman reading A Season In Hell 2 days before the world ends-but-won’t has 22 thoughts

1. Rimbaud was a hot twink.

2. Rimbaud loved the shit out of god.

3. If Rimbaud read that article in Time about how Mother Teresa didn’t feel the presence of god for 50 years but did her work anyway, he probably wouldn’t beat himself up so much about not experiencing “celestial calm.”

4. Celestial calm is spa spirituality.

5. Who wants to be numb?

6. I want to be numb.

7. Feel like a real revolution would be terrifying and that most people who say they want a revolution would be terrified.

8. I sort of don’t want a revolution.

9. Je suis very américaine.

10. Feel like the hand that holds the pen is maybe not as good as the hand that holds the plow.

11. Feel like the hand that holds the MacBook is definitely not as good as the hand that holds the plow.

12. If your lover shoots you in the hand, it kind of has to be the last straw.

13. If Rimbaud and Verlaine were alive today their friends would stage an intervention.

14. Rimbaud’s sister Isabelle would call their relationship “toxic” and stress the importance of boundaries.

15. Or maybe they’d just be happy to be openly gay and have a nice place in the Marais.

16. They would be dealing with marriage laws getting passed and have to question whether marriage is for them.

17. Getting married might ruin their poetry.

18. Having boundaries doesn’t ruin your poetry.

19. Having boundaries gives you more time to make art.

20. Not everyone can be a genius for five years and then die.

21. HTMLGIANT is bad for boundaries.

22. You are not the lizard king.


  1. Katherine Catmull

      Well this was fantastic and has sorted my day out.

  2. alex crowley

      “the hand that holds the penis”

  3. Craig Ronald Marchinkoski

      were you reading a season in hell or watching total eclipse?  and the world ends december 21, 2012. right?

  4. Scott Riley Irvine

      Having arrived to this post from all times, you’ll depart pretty disappointed.

  5. Anonymous

      7. Feel like a real revolution would be terrifying and that most people who say they want a revolution would be terrified.

      8. I sort of don’t want a revolution.


  6. Scottmcclanahan

      Numbers 13, 14, and 21 are my favorites.

  7. Melissabroder

      I’m just shallow.

  8. Melissabroder

      Thank you. I love you.

  9. tomk

      no 7. no 7 no 7 damn. Should not of read this at ten o clock on a friday night.

  10. jesusangelgarcia

      Melissa Broder on fire. You are the lizard king!

  11. Shannon

      I love this. All of it.

  12. Phil

      Yup. We want some change. Not total upheaval of everything, eh?

  13. deadgod

      6.  “Numb” where and when there’s pain, or “numb” everywhere permanently?  –because the latter is not that remote.  It’s useful to be alerted to picking the glass out of your foot when you step on some.

      7.  What do you mean by “terrifying”?  ‘Uncontrolled, no-account violence’?  Why blame that on “revolution” and not on reaction??  Turning human life from being dropped on its head to standing on its feet . . . I think “real” revolution would be just fine.

      10. and 11.  Hands that hold pens and MacBooks in some cases also hold plows at other times.  The former hands also sometimes honestly entertain plowpeople, and sometimes contrive plows that are easier and more fruitful to use.  The hovel of real work has many rooms.

  14. marshall

      niggas is scared of revolution

  15. alan

      Verlaine WAS married.

  16. M. Kitchell

      i want a real revolution BECAUSE it would be terrifying

  17. Glenn

      Very nice indeed.

  18. Craig Ronald Marchinkoski

      it helps

  19. Melissa Broder

      To a woman, whom he barely saw and eventually left. Would be much more of a timesuck, not to mention a tension/inspiration-dissipater, if he married his boo. Perhaps they’d have an open marriage, or frequent grindr together as a pair, but that wld be a timesuck too.

  20. Melissa Broder
  21. NLY

      I’m afraid Rimbaud lived to be about 37. His life continued to be more interesting than yours for the rest of that time, too.

  22. deadgod


      Change.  But not violent change. Not theft, not revolt, no revenge.  Instead, listen to the idea of gradual change.  Change that will help you [“the poor”], but that won’t hurt us.  Morality.  Law.  Gradual change.  We explain it all in a two-sided contract:  we’ll give you things, many things, but in exchange you must accept that you don’t have the right just to take what you want.  We’re going to give you wonderful things.  Sit down, wait, don’t try to grab–  The most important thing is patience, waiting.  We’re going to give you much much more than you’re getting now, but there are certain things that must happen first–these are the things for which we must wait.  First, we have to make more and we [h]ave to grow more, so more will be available for us to give.  Otherwise, if we give you more, we’ll have less.  When we make more and we grow more, we can all have more–some of the increase can go to you.  But the other thing is, once there is more, we have to make sure that morality prevails.  Morality is the key.

      I think it’s essential to real revolution that there be no preemptive concession concerning the meaning of terms like “violent”, “give”, “patience”, “make”, “grow”, and, especially, “you” and “we”.  It’s from refining and clarifying the use of these words that “morality” would flow.

  23. Scott Riley Irvine

      Albeit fully dependent on regular mooching off his mother during his time in Yemen. His correspondences for those last years are pretty wretched. 

  24. jesusangelgarcia

      I’m calling your bullshit, NLY. Rimbaud lived long after he stopped writing, true. But he was never happy, from I’ve read. He gave up poetry for “business,” thinking he’d now be a respectable member of society. But he suffered for his “sin” of turning his back on poetry (his deepdown self). What was his business? The slave trade.

  25. Scott Riley Irvine

      Might be wrong, but wasn’t he only an arms dealer? 

  26. NLY

      Are you calling it Alvin, or Lebron?

  27. jesusangelgarcia

      I think you’re right. Now I’m the one talking bullshit. Fallacy of memory. Either/or both/and: arms dealer, slave trader… same difference: dealing death v. perpetuating life (poetry). He warn’t happy. That much I’m clear on.

  28. jesusangelgarcia

      Ha! I can’t make that call.

  29. Shamalamadinginton

      That sounds interesting, actually.

  30. Shamalamadinginton

      Are we problematizing being gay and not-gay again? Jay-zus.

  31. deadgod

      NLY does say “interesting”, rather than jesus’s “happy”. 

      But was his life in Africa and Arabia “interesting” to Rimbaud? was he interested in the peoples, cultures, landscapes – on something like their own terms?

  32. dominic

      If he were around today, i think he’d be medicated for his synesthesia, dulling his brilliance, writing fantasy lit for tweens.  I’m glad he’s not around today. 

  33. Melissa Broder

      right, and i think wally shawn’s character knows this and i think he is being tongue-in-cheek and i think he is also being dead serious b/c he is too chickenshit to not ask for a concession regarding violence and i am chickenshit too.

      the fever is such an amazing play.

  34. Shamalamadinginton

      Who the fuck cares if it was “something like their own terms”? And who the fuck care if Rimbaud’s life was interesting to Rimbaud? He stopped writing. People havw a write to do that. 

  35. Shamalamadinginton

      It’s so interesting to read about revolution. 

  36. deadgod

      I wonder whether Rimbaud’s life in Asia and Africa was “interesting, actually”–I think he himself was as bored by and contemptuous of life in Java, Yemen, and Ethiopia as he had been in northern Europe, but maybe I’m misunderinformed.

      Speculating about whether Rimbaud post-“poetry” was a non-entity, a commercial imperialist, a tourist, a traveler, or some combination of these identities might be “interesting” to a person interested in his poetry–hence Melissa’s 20. and the reactions of NLY and jesus.

      You say that Rimbaud’s life in Asia and Africa “sounds interesting”, so you the fuck care if Rimbaud’s life is “interesting” . . . to you.  If you’d like anyone else the fuck to care about your “interest[s]”, you’ll have to do better than uncomprehending frustration.

  37. Melissa Broder

      The play isn’t about revolution. It’s about ice cream.

  38. deadgod

      Well, the concessions I speak of have to do with language.  If fanatic conservatism starts ‘losing the argument’ in a widespread way, it’s conservatives who will turn first to violence–look what they’ve done rhetorically for three years to a moderately conservative president!  But if the rhetoric itself is transformed . . .

      I think an effect of the piece is to inspire interruption of the monologist–for example, to assert that reactionary “violence” is already always constitutive of political economy.

      And I don’t think it takes much – or any! – more bravery to challenge the terms and rhetoric of political economy than it does to mouth its rationalizations sardonically–though such critiques are surely almost always far less entertaining.

  39. NLY

      My sense of it (and I haven’t read anything about this in awhile) is that Rimbaud spent the rest of his life being conflicted and embattled within his self, and died a most unhappy man. It’s an ‘interesting’ question, whether or not he found this period interesting to himself, and one which I hadn’t quite considered in writing my (admittedly somewhat coy) response.

  40. Lisa Marie Basile

      Melissa, thank you for bringing Rimbaud and other wonderful things into my day.

  41. Melissa Broder Online


  42. Melissa Broder Online