Fleurs du Mal

They with baptismals and living mothers,
For whom the bells toll,
At whom crickets of the veldt titter,
Even the swollen savage, fat in the Saharan sun,
Even my father and his useless gods,
The preacher casting out a million cankerworms.

Those never somethings,
Those never nothings.
They of little faith.
With too much skin,
Truffles, trifles,
Enter all who expired yesterday,
Breaking red in tooth, claw and ticker tape.
Today I’m starched erect with envy,
Unblemished by the misery I tout,
Menacing thankless eyes,
Such snakery,
The nameless wife whispers, wisdom,
Thru curtains: curse God and die.

I try, I tell her, I try,
But human, my spine is weld up by awards and marmalade.
Just alive, the eyes,
With Vista fires, athletic jealousies,
Hair thinning, nutritious pretenses,
Calorie counting.
What a quest, what a queer:
Where now them days when we feared debt and death,
And her hermetic scythe,
Angel Gabriel, his temper,
The Second Coming, Jesu Christi. Oluwa o!
Four horsemen, one forty-four thousand redeemed,
Maman’s slippers, right as rain,
And one serving of sulphuric Hell?
Where once sweet lust became quenched,
A stolen dusk-kiss behind goalpost,
Fireflies, earthworms, and soil between our toes,
The neighbor’s daughter and I.
Warm onion breath, Hard frission.
With unripe mangoes, my trick with stringed dragonflies,
When no fence, no girl, no dog signs, no leashed goat,
Came too daunting to conquest,
Gone, them happy days.

Now I gladly trade bales of this and that,
With the best of yous,
The worst of yous,
Them unhealthy flowers,
Your beloved browned dead,
Give me your milky filth,
Your sudden kaputs,
Your false starts,
Your vanquished chimera,
Your loose tooth,
Your sebaceous belly fat
Your sordid secrets,
Your bad kidney,
Your dirty daughters,
Your incestual sons.
Give me your mighty worst.

Let me be, history, history,
What fine mystery.
Let me be like I never was,
Petrichor without rain,
Baby shoes without baby,
Paragraphs without misery,
Nostalgia without whiskey,
Hope without the antidote.

May my Rosicrucian recrimination go thus,
Serenity Prayers. Check.
Kidney stones. Check.
Black holes. Check.
Black man. Check.
Cavities. Check.
Weakling. Check.
Womanly. Check.
Debt. Check.
Ants. Check.
Oranges. Check.
One belt buckle. Check.
One pizza stub. Check.
One thesaurus. Check.
One lighter. Check.
One brown wallet. Check.
Check please!
Pray tell, who was he exactly?
Fade out.

Image credit: Destruction (1900) by Carlos Schwabe (July 21, 1866 – 22 January 1926), Swiss Symbolist painter and printmaker


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