Devant plusieurs hommes, je causai tout haut avec un moment d’une de leurs autres vies.
With several men I have spoken aloud with a moment of one of their other lives.
To the harlots, the hustlers, the adulteresses,
and every paramour purveyor
of another’s pleasures—
Suppression of symptoms is not a cure.
Another intervention more, and some-
one’s antique antipathy will burn down
fast your antiseptic’s apathetic
allure. Slow-poured quicksilver clouds mark time’s
curved passage, sighing ivoried contours
of milk-coloured molasses past a brown
fortress’ turreted line of incised silk
sky. From towering heights ride shards of pure
perspective, Valkyrie-patterned powdered
reflections of shattered heavens that blur.
Shred with banal belligerences drowned
off misted tears to align as future
fires midnight’s jet in its lightening, blown
flight toward scorching dawn prophesies hard.
Dissolves from obsidian shapes words an
infamy of having no one around,
no family, immolates as does this
having no interest in others who
are not like us. Orphans fed on wished for
promises. Ravenous for what sordid
sort of course emerges after hurt. This!
From bled shadows forms coagulate! Stirs
to standstill oil spilled onto copper. Foiled,
navigates a path not forward, neither
in reverse nor circle, but spirals from
before to futures tomorrows obscure,
this return this trade earns. Devil’s playground!
Not this artful at all, mindful of our
detour, or persuasive of giving up
on love that we might never once give in
to being one of them. False angelic,
waxing homiletic, imprisoned by
acceptance, shackled to strangers’ hauteur
opinions. How each step toeing craven
oblivion feels the way holding six
pearls under one’s tongue does. Lures erasure.
Charms further into the mouth, that oyster,
while saying nothing about their swineherd
author’s offer of some coveted sound,
the missing seventh’s obscured wisdom, heard.
But swallowing without better renown,
or understanding, its symbolism’s verve,
what sentence another’s dripped words kissed in
accomplishes. Theft’s accomplices bound.
Paying nothing ourselves but incentived
attention, performing simulacrum
gymnastics of respect for un-amoured
souls. Those whose ersatz affection we let
our imperfect flesh be purchased, and felt.
Enamoured effortless as sin procured
without conscience, licking at wounds without
suffering and often, skin fragrant. Slurred
with cinnamon until it falls off, thrown
from him, between my lips his pinafore
innocence splits to an incision crown
jewels premise, as treasure does, for sure,
any pilfered cavern. As I have done
every damage and remain softened,
not hardened, for I am not delicate,
not one of them. An insect chrysalisped.
Soft palate, shelled. The men for whom I purr,
for whom my night’s work represents pleasure’s
happening. Its coming’s apocalypse,
its eventual resentment when, whores
coming themselves, returns their shame with its
sudden sobering tarnishing the pursed
language of parsed jewels to an antic,
unspoken vanishing such much abhorred
vanity as this always fuels with frowns
for us. Martyrs calling each to nearer
Death to ‘Never leave me!’ Yes, for saints are
the artists of suffering, by the pound
making of Creation’s crumbling, its wreck,
something more permanent than mere faith in
themselves carried over the coals of poor
dying centuries prayers revive. Lyric
intent igniting in solitude what
light sinister ends transcend as its burst
bends around bitten lips its venomous,
repetitive scorch of sacred names yours
mends. Distilling melting dialect proud
to kiss us to loud kisses tongues labour
to carry afar instead of hands. Clowns
offering fingerings of amateur
aphorisms wit nourishes, stitching with
the thread of interrupted confessions
its flickering continuum’s regrets
whispered in the cracked mirrors of brothels.
Laughter in the dark a spark Minotaur-
footed, howling green, and echoing wails
heavily against the grey floors of pitch-
cold hotels. Scratching marbles with heels worse
stiletto claws and other troubles fill
but no one feels or cares to heal, no, sir.
No more pity for missing women found
without love interests, only pressure
or priority of my mispronounced
poetry’s lens is pen expressions for
women without love, who interest me
more than their fantasies’ absent men. My
fellow vixens, bitch kindred, ‘M’-to-‘F’–
to-‘X’ witches hell-bent, ravenous as
malevolent lesbians and bitter
mysteries whose blue miseries our shine’s
hidden addiction tends. True lunatics
good time fanatics infect with a sore
bitterness this confusion counteracts,
lack’s tasteless acts cycling pasts to their sour
setting our need’s rising together now
resurrects as better present tense, torched.
The only thing missing is an end’s bow
to justify this means by which we work
over scattered dust who into our dusk,
strutting shadows walk. For we are dirt found
transformed, spend all our nights acting, our trick
glamour’s scorch, its cinders’ force, as much our
amorous advances pretend. Splintered
diamonds with no one to mine them, cut
faces deflect doubt, edit out flaws kept.
Do not give breath to these voices, no, girls,
nor go on or go about crossing hearts
with the seal of love, or become ever
anything else other than your lived loud
Selves you want them all to accept after
getting up to applaud your going down!
1Arthur Rimbaud, «Delires: II: Faim» / “Delirium: II: Hunger” in Une saison en enfer / A Season in Hell of A Season in Hell / Une saison en enfer & The Drunken Boat / Le bateau ivre: Translated from the French by Louise Varèse: Preface by Patti Smith, published at New York by New Directions Publishing Corporation in 2011; pages 64–65 (parallel text in French and English).