Rimbaud Quits Poetry
From my upcoming collection, Rustic Blue
The fog bristled over the surf
and onto the high Thames.
Rimbaud was there with his
eyes drawn inward, like unmoored
pinwheels spinning into infinity.
He spent the week at Oxford
where Oscar Wilde had drawn an
evil grin upon the laughing
heads of the rowing fraternity,
to spy perverse archiocese,
then walked back to Reading,
near the jail where Wilde
would rot into eternity.
Waterloo drowned into whims of
blue when the warm brown sunset
fell towards blackness, and the love
of poets rocked like a sullen
ferry regaling on drunken paradise.
I clambered to Dover one morning
to see my mom step off a channel vessel
She’d come all the way from
Charleville to say she was sorry.
She stood prim on the washed deck of the
Yawl from Dieppe, and before she
cradled me in open arms, she
pulled out a small napkin from
a Brussels itinerary, of soap, an ivory
nail file and a chocolatier’s sampler.
We walked around London until
the fog danced around the phantom
gaslamps of the opiate quarters. But there
were only rumors of absinthe here, and
the fading glow of the rowhouses gripped
the rapturous tendons of my decaying sail.
Once, My heart sunk in the broken maw of
a dying maelstrom and raged to kill
the man who lorded over the poet in me,
and within me, he caved to the
world that revered him with baffling
sincerity, and then asked him, the seer,
to see this world with clarity–
So I showed them the darkness
of an inkless inkwell despairing to be
filled. But then on the high Thames one morning,
With the industrious, box-building, buzzards roaming,
I came to the river while my mom slept still,
Vowed to give up the scrawls of my republic
and be the muse of a higher cause
but not the God that damned my heart to perdition–
My master pinched the catholic lash
one morning. So I gave him my words,
and left forever, telling smutty mariner’s
tales under the guise of a briny prophet.
When she left England my pen flew off
into some thoughtless ocean, so I soon ran
into the edges of the map, and in the
balmy glades of madness fermenting in me,
I vowed never to return home again
except at Christmastime.