In his own private Gethsemane he is at once savior and betrayer, extending one hand as he slyly withdraws the other.
Je finis par trouver sacré le désordre de mon esprit.
Finally I came to regard as sacred the disorder of my mind.
Living in proud seclusion among the poor, in
one hand a sceptre, in the other another
guy’s orbs, living like I’m emperor of the
entire world, fondling an uproar of swollen jewels,
fists dripping pearls, lips opening for swords, holding
onto your life by a short cord, switching
code working both sides, tethered by desire’s circuitous
threads to what I admire whenever it saunters
by, a commitment to getting what I want
to make mine hardwired on the inside, guiding
my mind and under the armour Kevlar skin
in case Cupid acts cavalier again and takes
another shot wearing thin my patience, riven with
riveting drive riveted in, platinum grammar making bullshit
sound like silk, stitching tight lines like these
I let loose for strangers’ eyes to split
wide, writing out loud without any spoiler alert
how it ends for those who won’t repent:
repeat this, you’re in for a big surprise…
In its lingerie of shrouds death stands, contrapposto
and proud, shopping around, farming for a quota-filling
throw-down, killing time culling this planet of its
population’s swelling digressions, foregoing dragging the plow to
strut through the crowd akimbo, scythe and dice
in one hand, the other on a hip,
unimpressed with having to schlep among the tired
living, tired of giving a shit about its
cruel errand, no merciful exterminating angel, unforgiving in
its conviction that something real is beyond the
experience of these so-called people, even cattle exhibit
more autonomy, man is only a vehicle, as
much a god as life is just death
in drag, sometimes a lie is the best
disguise, the soul now a product no longer
imparted but imported, but a part sold separately
for those too illiterate to download it, a
revolution’s devolution uprooting the circuitry, computerized idiocy the
new literacy, Millennial and final, there is no
second coming for him who has already lied,
having faked it already do you really think
he will come twice for that price? Give
up the ghost of your fantasy, in what
sick sort of BFE is this your reality?
If Christ was not the first rock star,
neither was he the first hustler, oh, Lord,
his mother if neither a virgin nor a
whore, then a stripper shedding like layers of
skin every version of innocence, peeling veils like
pain from the way we feel, a
metaphor from whom we came to learn to
pin on tomorrow what in our pasts we
bore before crucifix billboards were installed to bear
this burden, being judged a fraud by god.
1Patti Smith, “Preface”, in A Season in Hell: Une saison en enfer & The Drunken Boat: La bateau ivre: Translated from the French by Louise Varèse: Preface by Patti Smith, published at New York by New Directions in 2011; page v.
2Arthur Rimbaud, «Delires: II: Alchimie du verbe» (“Delirium: II: Alchemy of the Word”), in «Une saison en enfer» (“A Season in Hell”) of the same edition cited above; pages 54 and 55 (parallel text in French and English).