INCOMPETENT TRANSLATION: “Le Bateau Ivre” by Arthur Rimbaud

by a contributor

Bill Yarrow

At five o’clock in the afternoon, at five o’clock
in the afternoon, I got on (or boarded) to embark
the intoxicated dingy, the restive inebriated skiff

of last week’s dreams, with a muskrat, cockroach,
and Richard Parker (the CGI tiger from Life of Pi)
to drift, elementally and continentally, infinitely

and augustly, past honeymoons and industrial
cantilevers, vats of lovers’ hats and laundry,
through boulevards of bacon bits and coarse catacombs

of honey. Who would have thought? I ask you: would you
have thought? And what the sky. And what the pock-marked,
red-faced, foul-mouthed, slim-hipped sky. What price

allegiance? (Circular gunfire in Orion’s head) What man has
planted can break his self-regard. Perfume from an unseen
censer. O Jamesy, Jamesy, let me up. Let me up out of this.

Bill Yarrow is the author of Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012). He has been published in many print and online journals including ThrushDIAGRAMContrary, and RHINO. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College where he teaches creative writing, Shakespeare, and film. Two chapbooks (Twenty from MadHat Press and Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku from Červená Barva Press) are forthcoming in 2013.

Return soon for another of Bill’s poems and his list of 5 Things.