Monday, November 14, 2011

Poetes maudits


Poètes maudits

Poètes maudits

“Slender jet-fountains”
—Paul Verlaine

Slender jet-fountains—
Streaming in the moonlight…
The calm pale Parisian moonlight
Where he grew up as a man—
Young sullen voyant…

Calm pale moonlight—
Reluctant to give him away…
But I had to put him on the train
And send him back briefly to
Dismal boring Charleville…

I had to get serious—
About finances and security…
In the face of Mathilde and
Her Family abandoning me—
Because of Rimbaud…

Nothing sucks more—
Than destitute littérateurs…
Dead-broke with no money
For the usual cosmopolitan
Poètes maudits accoutrements…

The Young Fools (Les Ingénues)

“High-heels were struggling”
—Paul Verlaine

Miss High Heels struggling—
With her full-length dress in
All that wind beneath frightful
Arcades Palais-Royal there
On rue Montpensier…

So shocking, my dear—
Yet a delicate feast for young
Fool’s hearts suddenly seeing
Dark pubes flashing beneath
Billowing blown petticoats…

Miss High Heels falls down—
Young Rimbaud lying there…
Whispering in his low voice
What he always whispers—
What a little male whore…

In the evening when—
Foolishness reigns in the
Café an Deltá and The Rat Mort…
That’s when Rimbaud plays
Hide and seek with me…

Arthur Rimbaud—
Nothing can be more alluring…
Than a young stud in drag
Doing burlesque that male way—
That’s more Fem than Venus…

The Ardennes

“We were alone”
—Paul Verlaine, Poèmes
Saturniens: Mélancholia

Memory, memory—
What do you want of me?
Autumn’s monotonous sky…
Ardennes glare of yellowing
Woods in the colorless air…

We were alone—
Walking thru the woods with
The north wind blowing thru
His long hair in streams—
Shedding gold behind him…

Suddenly Arthur stopped—
Looked at me and asked me
“Your loveliest day?”—out of
Nowhere in that angelic tone
That always meant trouble…

Before he could ruin it—
Like he always tried to do…
I bend down and kissed his
Pale white hand with the most
Sincere devotion possible…

And looked up at his face—
Those slanted eyes and the
Haughty high cheekbones of
A stranger more than lover…
An interloper from Hades…

It was autumn then too—
But the woods were different…
And the sky and air and the
Thrushes flying down and
Around us were different…

My infernal bridegroom—
He gave me his answer to my
Troubling gaze and querulous
Voice with the usual shrug—
Leaning back against a tree…

Poètes maudits
(After Belgium)

“Give me your hand”
—Paul Verlaine
Jadis Et Naguère

The owls brush my hair—
As I lie here near the river
Where he ditched me…
But I don’t blame him—
Nor really one little bit…

It was two years later—
The breeze had died down…
The poplars were leaning
In the quiet moonlight…
Telling me to be silent…

I couldn’t help myself—
But that was always my
Problem—not being able
To say no to myself when
It came to being indiscrete…

I’ll leave him alone—
It was wrong of me to
Follow him here and
Lay the same trip on him—
Even more hypocritical…

Silent peaceful nocturne—
I had my chance with the
Young fierce taciturn god…
And I failed him and myself—
What more can I say?

Love got tired of me—
Always dreaming about it…
And not doing something
About it other then running
Away with it like to London…

The Other Half of the Story
—for Paul Verlaine

These Anecdotes—
Quickie koan master tales
Tell the story better than me
About my newfound freedom
And sudden new slavery…

Monsieur de Maute—
My bourgeois father-in-law
Threw Rimbaud out and
Wasn’t’ pleased with me
Finding out I was a Fag…

My wife Mathilde—
Hated young cute Rimbaud
With his long hair and slovenly
Appearance, his pants too
Short, his Ardennes patois…

She was jealous—
His blue eyes handsome
And much too knowing for
A schoolboy, fit more for
A ruffian or hustler…

They nicknamed him—
“Boy Baptist” at Chez Baltur…
The Rat Mort, Café an Deltá,
Café an Gaz, Café an Suíde,
Discussing poetry, absinthe…

The artless nature—
Of this Ardennes youth…
His rustic uncouthness, his
Big hands and big feet and
Total lack of Innocence…

And his clairvoyance—
So animal and exquisitely
Depraved, knowing that
I craved him and his dirty
Adolescent ways…

His voice just changing—
Breaking now and then from
Boyish joking to violent
Manly swearing, nostrils
Erect and quivering…

He sought to displease—
A reverse method that
Worked on me, forcing
Me to be his slave in
Forbidden love…

The Babylon barracks—
Fucked during the Commune…
Loosing his virginity with
Soldiers and revolution in
The Paris streets…

The premiere of Le Bots—
Hadn’t we put our arms
Around each other in bravado
With me gazing like a bride
Into the kid’s angelic eyes?

I show him off—
This strange Ardennes kid…
To Velade, Aicard, Merat,
Jean Forain, Camille Pelletan,
My poetic partners in crime…

A longtime gossipy friend—
Edmund Lepelleter wrote in
Le Peuple souverain that
I was mincing around Paris
With a Mademoiselle Rimbaud…

I brought him to Banville—
Had him read Le Bateau ivre…
But when the master asked
Why have a boat talk?
Rimbaud said “Old Fart!”

He bullied me—
Took advantage of my
Closeted homosexuality
And need for sex since
Matilda was pregnant…

I was proud of Rimbaud—
He was my discovery and
Paris was alive with gossip
About our gauche friendship
And the way it flew…

It didn’t go well tho—
Not with the Parnassians…
They were prissy queens who
Saw poetry as chatting with
Other bourgeois queens…

Valains Bonshommes—
Meeting at the Hôtel Camonsë
Or Les Mille-Colonnes under
Arcades of Palais-Royal
On rue Montpensier…

Léon Valade aghast—
“Verlaine’s latest protégé,
A most outrageous poet…
Barely 18 with big hands and
Big feet and big whatever…

“The kid a Terror—
John the Baptist of the
Left Bank, full of obscene
Unheard of powers and
Strange corruptions…”

“He’s either a young god—
The incarnation of some
Chicken Orpheus or he’s
The strange ragamuffin
Harbinger of doom…”

Francois Coppér

“He’s an illusionist con-man
a smooth hustler, failed
Romantic, skilled amateur
Full of rackets and daydreams.”

Mallarmé’s recollection—
Obsessed with the boy’s huge
Hands, fragments fallen from
Some Orphic statue, proudly
Foully sprouting into view…

But more that that—
Proudly foully sprouting
From Rimbaud’s loins the
New French poetry…
A terrible responsibility…

Huge red rough hands—
Enormous doltish feet…
More animal than amiable
Locus of youthful indiscretions
And dubious innocence…

I got Arthur—
A place to stay with
Charles Cros the poet…
In his bachelor pad studio
At 13 rue Séguiler…

But Cros was too ho-hum—
For my young misanthrope
Master who used Cros’
Copies of L’Artise for
Mere toilet paper…

Cabanes was different—
Composing songs for Arthur…
“Le Sonnet des sept nombres”
Refrains like “Angel, what
Are you doing on Earth?”

Album zutique—
Parodic, scatological,
There at Hôtel des Etrangers
The Zutistes episodic camp
Like future Dadaists…

Thighs, hands, pimples—
And more than a thimble
When it came to satin-smooth
Mauve-streaked immodest
Oozing pale opal jizz…

His asshole was different—
The heavy praline carnal
Crack spread-apart to reveal
What his buttocks concealed…
A manly sullen hole…

The City Without Tears

“The rain falls gently on
the town”—Arthur Rimbaud

The city rains and rains—
More rain than the rains of
Ranchipur…Lana has this
Languorous gentle hurt
Aching sound of rain…

What pierces her heart—
A faithless lover’s lie?
Gentle the sound of rain—
Parisian roofs dripping
Down during a deluge…

Now in London—
The city without tears…
How it rains and rains
All the time when Arthur
Isn’t next to me…

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