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Arthur Rainbow Salutes the Dawn

Albert York Woman and Skeleton 1967

Ed. note: Wayne Terwilliger, our Paris correspondent, passed along Jacques Martin's translation of a sonnet by Arthur Rainbow, the pseudonym of a Franco-American poet keeping a low profile on the Ile St Louis. Art by Albert York, second cousin of the poet's last living relative, the Duchess of York.

Rimbaud, According to Rambo 

Stop those drugs from reaching American soil.
Clean up San Francisco and let Tony Bennett sing.
Let freedom ring. I have nothing to offer but toil,
blood, sweat, and tears. What goes up, must come down.

Poetry is like Africa but less exciting.
I don't see the point of writing poems or going to town
where the cafes, teeming with tits, try their best to fling
their gadgets in your face. The principles are the frown

on the face of the portrait of a poker player
who learned church Latin in the provinces of France.
Nevertheless the queen couldn't tell off the mayor

because neither of them learned to dance
because they abolished the dance in all its elegance
because life was a game contrived by chance.

-- Arthur Rainbow

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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