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.

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