Over the Short Grass


“Par les soirs bleus d’été, j’irai dans les sentiers,
Picoté par les blés, fouler l’herbe menue :
Rêveur, j’en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.
Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien :
Mais l’amour infini me montera dans l’âme,
Et j’irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,
Par la nature, heureux comme avec une femme.”

Arthur Rimbaud

Mars 1870




“On the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths,
And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat:
Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet.
I will let the wind bathe my bare head. I will not speak,
I will have no thoughts: But infinite love will mount in my soul;
And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy,
through the countryside – as happy as if I were a woman.”


Holland, David Thewlis and Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of Total Eclipse (Agnieszka Holland, 1995)

The Arthur Rimbaud of Our Time

“I can’t think of anybody like her. She is a national treasure, an icon, most people who see the film (Dream of Life) are like, ‘I thought she was just a rock singer’. They don’t realize that she’s the Arthur Rimbaud of our time. She’s a true artist. I wanted people to be inspired by her”

Steven Sebring


Still from Dream of Life (Steven Sebring, 2008)

Simultaneously Old and Young

“William Burroughs was simultaneously old and young. Part sheriff, part gumshoe. All writer. He had a medicine chest he kept locked, but if you were in pain he would open it. He did not like to see his loved ones suffer. If you were infirm he would feed you. He’d appear at your door with a fish wrapped in newsprint and fry it up. He was inaccessible to a girl but I loved him anyway.

He camped in the Bunker with his typewriter, his shotgun, and his overcoat. From time to time he’d slip on his coat, saunter our way, and take his place at the table we reserved for him in front of the stage.”

Patti Smith
Just Kids


William Burroughs with Patti Smith at his Home, Franklin Street, NYC. Photo taken by Kate Simon on Patti Smith’s 29th birthday, 1975

The Lovers’ Organ


“Un vieil orgue de Barbarie
Est venu jouer l’autre jour
Sous ma fenêtre, dans la cour
Une ancienne chanson d’amour
Et pour que rien, rien ne varie,
Amour rimait avec toujours.
En écoutant cette romance
Qui me rappelait le passé,
Je crus que j’en avais assez
Mais comme hélas, tout recommence,
Tout hélas a recommencé,
Tout hélas a recommencé.

Je t’ai donné mon coeœur.
Je t’ai donné ma vie
Et mon âme ravie,
Malgré ton air moqueur,
Reprenons tous en chœoeur,
Est à toi pour la vie.

C’est pourtant vrai, lorsque j’y pense,
Que je l’aimais éperdument
Et que jamais aucun amant
Ne m’a causé plus de tourments,
Mais voilà bien ma récompense
D’avoir pu croire en ses serments.
Il a suffi d’une aventure
Plus banale en vérité
Pour qu’un beau soir, sans hésiter,
Il obéit à sa nature.”

Francis Carco




The old barrel organ
Came to play the other day
Under my window in the yard
An old love song
And that nothing, nothing changes
Love rhymed with always
Listening to this romance
That remembered the past
I thought I’ve had enough
But unfortunately as everything restarts
Unfortunately everything restarted
Unfortunately everything restarted

I gave you my heart
I gave you my life
And my happy soul
Despite your mocking air
All resume in choir,
Is up to you in life

It’s yet to be true, when I think
That I loved him madly
And that never no lover
Doesn’t cause me more torments
But there you have it well, my reward
To have believed in these oaths
He has enough of an adventure
More mundane truth
For a beautiful evening without hesitation
He obeys in her nature
I didn’t deserve
I didn’t deserve

I gave you my heart
I gave you my life
And my happy soul
Despite your mocking air
All resume in choir,
Is up to you in life

What can we have against ourselves?
All of us follow his way
It’s the type of humans
But these that go hand in hand
And say softly, “I love you”
Becoming aware of the aftermath
In a sad refrain
Whose echo is quickly flown away
The organ at the finish then is gone
And, sorry at the infidelity,
I sung to console me
I sung to console me

I gave you my heart
I gave you my life
And my happy soul
Despite your mocking air
All resume in choir,
Is up to you in life


Patti Smith reading Francis Carco’s Depravity (1925) and Burroughs’ The Soft Machine (1961).

Photo by Michael Ochs, Los Angeles, 1984

The title The Soft Machine is a name for the human body, and the main theme of the book (as explicitly written in an appendix added to the 1968, British edition) concerns how control mechanisms invade the body.


To listen to this song composed by Francis Carco, André Varel and Charly Bailly, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl