A Well-Traveled Pavement

               For my part, I say: the sole and supreme pleasure in Love
lies in the absolute knowledge of doing evil.

               Beneath the aching vanity of
seven sullen ages, under the
swollen canopy of what is yet
to come and not love, our fearless but
no less tearful game’s depravity
deprives us of sanity, strangers
molesting us from inside with such
gutless & guiltless touches of madness,
greed and a devilish swiftness of
obscene fingers diminishes a
fifth of our beauty, lurching & sating
the morbidity of their shameless
               mutual curiosity, church

               and state plunge hard into a drunken
harmony of power-bottoming
suits & closeted fathers denuded
of their frocks, a new faction talking
the same ancient trash that neuters fast
Latin n(o)uns to inaction, we are
the definition of unlawful
attraction, a choir of boys stoned in
the sanctuary, swallowing down
Roman candles, droning chortles of
pained ecstasy like inimical
cords ’round the crumbling columns of an
               entire empire’s collapsed sanctity,

               ribald & appalled, we are the muted
communicants reviled by exes
espousing the intolerance of
our impatient community, an
umbral confraternity of the
faithless, we lunge before the offer
of its opportunity at an
altar rebels revere for its harsh
brevity of austerity, a
siren’s sepulchral bed of nailed men
punctuated with insincere calls
to our infidel mouths to muzzle
               the balls of seed we musket deep from

               underneath the fire of our trenches
into the infertile pastures fenced
in by ravenous beasts who feed on
calamity, fiends of trifling tools
assaulting life’s little-read wounds with
bent riding crops fashioned from blighted
faggots & oft-ignited tufts of brush
drenched in the sweat of last night’s carnage,
trampled & sun-ravaged bushes burning
with the damage of an untended
furnace, turning to brash repugnance
golden tongues emboldened by fallen
               gods laughing at our plans to devour

               the Universe by licking its pits
until it can no longer stand the
intense pleasure of having its musk’s
odour drip from ours onto the lips
of everyone else’s we kiss,
filth milking moustaches, fur at which
we tugged once growing like weeds again
& devouring with a vengeance beaks and
talons piercing our canyons & filling
our caverns with day’s resonant cries,
albatross wings of curtains dawn’s claws
open as light pours in, flooding us
               with worse intentions than getting laid.

1Charles Baudelaire, “Squibs: III” from his Intimate Journals, translated from the French by Christopher Isherwood and introduced by W. H. Auden, published at Hollywood, California by Marcel Rodd in 1947; page 34.