An Essex County Memory of the meaning of Henri Michaux

river from train

Would I be right to to think that a distinction
when it comes to French Poetry is that rural poets,
out in the countryside, seem natural,
whereas most places it’s pretty generally thought a city thing?
Other possibilities, all these poets are city people
who’d write all spacious after weekend trips to the countryside.

I won’t look it up or read books about them.
I like forming the imaginary person out of the poetry, I really do.
My Michaux might be a cool familiar man who lives out in the country
in some rusted out community of 9 houses spread across a mile of road.
Parties around a fire pit in a mellow informal way.
Smokes small doses of opium mixed with some local thing
out of a hand carved pipe. Eats mostly hot dogs in little french buns.
Not Oscar Meyer. Smaller hot dogs he makes himself
from lesser used meats, all veined with what he’s craving at the time,
garlic, cilantro, compressed spinach, little red berries.
Just has a few of those when he’s hungry. Cooked or cold.
Drinks homemade beerwine, like mead.

“I do not say this in order to wound. I could say other things if i
really wanted to wound.
” –Henri Michaux, I am Writing to You From a
Far Off Country

It is a good time to consider that as a sentiment.
I find the translations used in this quotes fairly simple.

“I am writing to you from the end of the world. You must realize this.
The trees often tremble. We collect the leaves. They have a ridiculous
number of veins. But what for? There is nothing between them and the
tree any more, and we go off troubled.
– I am Writing to You From a Far Off Country

Being from Windsor, I know this feeling all so well. Essex County,
like France or Belgium

“Could not life continue on earth without wind? Or must everything
tremble, always, always?
” – I am Writing to You From a Far Off

“There are subterranean disturbances, too, in the house as well, like
angers which might come to face you, like stern beings who would like
to wrest confessions.” – I am Writing to You From a Far Off Country

Essex County was not always like the south of France to me.
It was like a run down south of France with a hint of Sons of Anarchy.

“It soon became clear(from my adolescence on) that I had been born to
live amoung monsters. For a long time they were terrible, then they
ceased being terrible and after great virulence they weakened little
by little. Finally they became inactive and I lived among them in
serenity.” – Henri Michaux, In the Company of Monsters

“On the highway, it is not rare to see a wave, all alone, one wave
separated from the ocean. It is absolutely useless, does not
constitute a set. This is a case of magical spontaneity.” – In the
Land of Magic

It was also how the dying lake, Lake St Clair, communicated with
those who liked to write and to travel. At least somewhat.

“What most people do all the time is to gnaw on their double. In the
land of the Magi, this is absolutely not permitted, they’ll be
severely punished, they must reform immediately.” – In the Land of

I love that line “they must reform immediately”

“All drugs modify your supports. The support you had from your senses,
the support your senses had from the world, the support you had from
your general impression of being. They give way. A vast redistribution
of the sensibility takes place, making everything bizarre- a complex,
continual redistribution of the sensibility.” – Knowledge Through the Abyss

Far away from Windsor now, with few opportunities to wander Essex County

in the middle of the night with only the possums and muskrats invoked

les amis besoin amis jai, the friends i need i have

and how i miss them, those waves

echoing only in the former world

in the its world, something other than me

“like the slight whistling of a breeze in the rigging before the
storm, a shiver, a shiver without flesh, without skin, an abstract
shiver, a shiver in the workshop of the brain, in a zone where you
can’t shiver with shivers. How, then, will it shiver?”
– Miserable Miracle

“He who hides his madman, dies voiceless.” – Slices of Knowledge

“How much less hateful men would be if every one of them did not wear a face.”
– Slices of Knowledge

“In this century, the phallus is becoming dogmatic.” – Slices of Knowledge

“Cauldron of thoughts taking itself for a man.” – Slices of Knowledge

“He who leaves a trace, leaves a wound.” – Slices of Knowledge

Again I must interrupt here, just to say, isn’t Henri Michaux fantastic?

A wound: a tremour patch, a certain beat in the nervous system’s overall irradiant gusts… a signature in the gusts of thought waves coming in and…

“He who has rejected his demons badgers us to death with his angels.”
– Slices of Knowledge

! And such a distinct mindset.

The heart of a sensitive person suffers too much to love. – Slices of Knowledge

“To understand, the intelligence must get itself dirty. Above all,
before it even gets dirty, it has to get hurt.” – Slices of Knowledge

“Don’t act proud. To breath is already to be consenting. Other
concessions will follow, each one fitting into the other. Here ís one.
Enough, letís stop it.”
– Slices of Knowledge

“The cry of intimate pain is our cry. But nobody moves. In a hospital,
who turns around at a groan?” – Henri Michaux! “Space of the Shadows”

“No, no, not gain. Travel to lose. That’s what you need.” – Tent Posts

The poet’s poet. I imagine Michaux would have read this aloud

“Some are dumb for having been too smart. Don’t rush into
adaptability. Always hold inadaptability in reserve.” – Tent Posts

“If you manage to sleep, it’s because you’ve had enough of the show,
the presence of the real; you can’t take it any more. Sleeping away
the most steadfast of your disillusionments. “
– Tent Posts

“Critics examine the most recurrent words in a book and count them !
Look instead for the words the author avoided, those he was close to
or unmistakably far from, alien to, or fastidious about, whereas
others are not.” – Tent Posts

“The more you succeed at writing (if you write), the further you’ll be
from fulfilling the pure, strong, original desire — the fundamental
thing — to leave no sign. What satisfaction would be worth that?”
Writer, you do just the opposite, laboriously opposite. – Tent Posts

“Perpetual unending changing steady path to extinction”.
- Tent Posts

“Opening the door inside you, I have entered
To act, I come
I am here
I support you
You are no longer abandoned
You are no longer in difficulty
The strings untied, your difficulties fall
The nightmare that left you haggard is no more 
I am shouldering you”
– “To act, I come,” Henri Michaux

Where Michaux rocks – the linelinegths there had gone all wavelengths with formatting qua browsers and all. ie., they’re hardwired in like that by a formatting issue. Most of the quotes it doesn’t effect so much but what it says it says. Magic incantation from Henri Michaux is what it is. Also intensely sympathetic people  and many of them I’m sure thought oddballs by many, however they think of oddballs there.

“A crew of reinforcements In mystery and a deep line
Like an undersea chant
 I have come
This chant takes you
This chant raises you up
This chant is animated by many streams
This chant is fed by a calmed Niagara
This chant is entirely for you
” – To act, I come

“Where pain was, is cotton
Where scattering was, is solder
Where infection was, is new blood
Where locks were is open sea
The carrying sea and the fullness of you
Intact, like an egg of ivory”. –
To act, I come

“He who does not accept the world builds no house in it.
If he is cold, itís without being cold. He is not without heat.
If he chops down birches, it ís as if he were chopping down nothing at all,
but there are the birches, on the ground, and he takes his agreed-upon-wages,
or else he only takes a few punches. He takes the punches like a gift
without any particular meaning, and he goes on his way, without being
Toward Serenity




  1. blessed Michaux

    Comment by pensum — June 8, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  2. arc arkon euphanosphosphein

    Comment by Armann Sscetyps — June 8, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

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