National Poetry Month: Beaudelaire to Debussy to Stutzmann

Baudelaire was born April, 9th, 1821 Paris, France. 

Stay Drunk
You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk. But on what?Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk. And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking... ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."
Charles Baudelaire

But the Hangover.....

Isn’t worth it at this age. Waking up dry-mouthed, lopsided, spongy-brained inside a head the size of a tombstone. You roll over, rise from bed, wobble with queasy dizzy steps to close the curtains, take a Tylenol, shut out the sun, the birds, the human buzz, everything that' singing ringing shining on, flip the pillow over to where it's cool and fresh, undrooled on and sleep til supper. (Not that I’ve ever really had the luxury of this kind of drunkeness.) Much. But those few nights of overindulgence were worth it, dim memories now swallowed up by time. So stay drunk on words, stay inebriated on music, cadence, stories. It’s easy when you discover how joy hides under rocks and joy is the drink you need. Besides, Baudelaire, you're a sober looking man to be giving such advice -or perhaps you're permanently hungover—Monsieur, we don't have to be anything, not even GOOD as Mary Oliver permits us, or perfect, as this is impossible.

We don't even have to be. But if we are, yes, oui, staying drunk on poetry or music is excellent advice. 


Here I am—drunk on Paris. Here is Nathalie Stutzmann: The complete 5 Poèmes de Baudelaire: