i was trying to remember the friend of helium. for some reason i thought it might be baudelaire. it appears that baudelaire and helium were never acquainted. later in the day i actually had reason to read a little more about baudelaire. it appears baudelaire and i should be better acquainted.
a little more about my new friend:absinthe is green. strindberg, who is the true friend of helium, liked his absinthe. strindberg was also a librarian. a little more about helium's friend:
The painter of modern life has a specific task: 'he makes it his business to extract from fashion whatever element it may contain of poetry within history, to distill the eternal from the transitory'.
"The modern 'hero' is the one who, while embodying the tendencies of modern capitalism to the highest degree, is simultaneously engaged in an inevitably doomed struggle against them. The heroism of modernity as endurance and as impotent rage takes the form of self-deception (the flaneur, the gambler) and self-negation (the prostitute, the worker and the ragpicker). For B, the ultimate hero of modernity is the figure who seeks to give voice to its paradoxes and illusions, who participates in, while yet still retaining the capacity to give form to, the fragmented, fleeting experiences of the modern. This individual is the poet."
by: Charles Baudelaire
I'm like some king in whose corrupted veins
Flows agèd blood; who rules a land of rains;
Who, young in years, is old in all distress;
Who flees good counsel to find weariness
Among his dogs and playthings, who is stirred
Neither by hunting-hound nor hunting-bird;
Whose weary face emotion moves no more
E'en when his people die before his door.
His favourite Jester's most fantastic wile
Upon that sick, cruel face can raise no smile;
The courtly dames, to whom all kings are good,
Can lighten this young skeleton's dull mood
No more with shameless toilets. In his gloom
Even his lilied bed becomes a tomb.
The sage who takes his gold essays in vain
To purge away the old corrupted strain,
His baths of blood, that in the days of old
The Romans used when their hot blood grew cold,
Will never warm this dead man's bloodless pains,
For green Lethean water fills his veins.
'Spleen' is reprinted from The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire. Ed. James Huneker. New York: Brentano's, 1919.
Johan (August) Strindbergall these new friends like to go by their middle names. granted, i like august, but johan is a lovely name as well. which is surely why Guy Maddin selected it for an important character in Careful. Guy Maddin has another film, Cowards Bend the Knee aka The Blue Hands. i read the screenplay for this film long before i saw it, it has some sticking power with me. as does the film Mad Love, which surely Maddin harks back to in The Blue Hands. Mad Love has a murdering knife-thrower, a wax statue, peter lorre *and* hand surgery. i thought perhaps that might be 3-4 different movies, but no it is all thankfully one.
To escape the uproar which he had stirred up, Strindberg moved in 1883 to France with his family. Between the years 1884 and 1887 he lived with short interruptions in Switzerland. During this time he corresponded with Friedrich Nietzsche, and became interested of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Under financial and marital difficulties, Strindberg started to show symptoms of emotional crisis. Feelings of persecution were suppressed by heavy drinking of absinthe. Eventually he started to believe his wife wanted to have him locked away in a mental institution.[aside: Strindberg's friend Poe says "And I said -- "She is warmer than Dian: She rolls through an ether of sighs -- She revels in a region of sighs. She has seen that the tears are not dry on These cheeks, where the worm never dies, And has come past the stars of the Lion, To point us the path to the skies -- To the Lethean peace of the skies -- Come up, in despite of the Lion, To shine on us with her bright eyes -- Come up, through the lair of the Lion, With love in her luminous eyes." in his Ulalume]
[oh, another aside: do remember to use august as an adjective more often. i will do the same. note also that august birthdays are the lion and the virgin. i should remember to write more about the lion as i have often thought of doing. and it seems i should visit Lethe...oh wait clearly i already have.]
which i was reminded of when i saw this [i heard it from a friend who...]:
oh my stars. karl freund directed mad love and i just realized that guy maddin and i have the same birthday. what a nice world. my horoscope says i will make perfect sense to at least one person today (it also told me to write things down). this is the best i could hope for on any day.
remind me there is more to remember, lest we forget, and that i have poetry to write.