Back in my bedroom closet, once again boxing backwards, I pulled out of my files an early collection of poems which I had given the title Grassfires. I've been posting some of the poems from this collection on Facebook and elsewhere, but for some reason, I felt it appropriate to also post this one here. I probably should wait a few years, until it would be an even four decades old. But who knows if I'll make it to that juncture? So I post it now:
Song for Rimbaud (on my 29th birthday)
Rimbaud! you exiled your art, your world a crystal
phrase which you banished to a coolie’s share of
blood-sweat, bland rice, a hermitage of dark women,
strange money – a slave trader’s greed – your Abyssinian
revenge knew no charity but the charity of death, a
pitiless bourgeois vengeance: cancerous malediction.
Rimbaud! you were righteous – I drank your words
and my fingers hemorrhaged, coiling into claws of
silver, clutching the olive sprig, grasping white
lightning – and my pen froze, searing a runic brand
onto my retinal affectations: my wooden chair became
Merlin’s tower of stone.
Rimbaud! I mouthed your incantations of desire, and
there came hopping, one-legged, a hairy demon, howling
into the corners of my dark cell evil abuses in a dozen
foreign tongues, words that fell on my soul like the
firebrands of an inquisitional Pentecost: writing in the
mercy of the flames I found a tender courage.
Rimbaud! I have reached my thirtieth year and have
fouled myself with imagined sufferings – yet in my
vision I saw you aflame and dying into an age that I
have yet to imagine – consumed, almost human, grinning
with the dogs that wait amongst lepers, beyond the
gates of the steel-bound metropolis: impatient already.
Rimbaud! the years behind me are a single day, all
memories one – dozens of women with but one flavor –
the colors are with me now, not yet more brilliant –
history but a dog-eared tome studied in preparation for
examination to gain entrance to a monstrous bureaucracy:
all true souls fail, condemned to springtime visions.
Rimbaud! conquerors glare in two-dimensional facsimile
of plaster, marble, bronze – only the sainted dead spring
moist from the pits to dance your deadly dance of dream –
the portrait you drew of Christ: sneering hipster, blue
eyes of pure acid guarded behind Italian shades, double-
sexed, against the temple pillars slouched: triumphant!
Rimbaud! have peace: the Rose will open – She will conceive
and bear prodigies into the future – I see your new incarnation,
a generation that lifts Her gaudy skirts - the apocalyptic underbelly –
but the stars in Her pupils, the pulsing planets
of Her estrous tears are singing harmonies
known to Pythagoras: genies are sewing the banners!