The Nacreous Oughts

14 April 2008

"To the Reader"

Delusion, indulgence, greed and pettiness
Engross our minds and mortify our bodies,
And we keep overfed our fond pet pity
As winos host their vermin--with their own flesh.

Our faults are fierce, our resolutions craven:
We pray and bray and play we're gonna change
All the jolly way to the old sty-haven
As if the wish would wash away our stains.

On our daydreams' pillow squats Nick Trismegist
Who continually lulls a blurry rapt attention...
And the ore of our potential for intention
Is all dissolved by that cool alchemist.

He's the mover in our puppetdom!
Our choicest toys are those by which we're trapped;
Each day towards the Pit we take a step
Smiling still, through vapors dark and noisome.

Just like a congressman who sucks and smacks
A hooker's misappropriated nipples,
We snatch in passing some illegal thrills
Like dumpster oranges we must squeeze to the max.

Jammed, like a city of maggots at rush hour,
A million mad impulses honk in our brains;
From everything we touch, inhale, or consume,
Ineffable cancer seeps, in spite of our powers.

If switchblade, bomb, gun, Tylenol or rape
Has copped no Nielsen share of our obsessions
It's that, inside our cage of cheap possessions,
As yet we haven't wanted to escape.

With these familiar jackals, panthers, fleas,
Vultures, scorpions, cobras and baboons
All yowling, howling, growling, around the room
Where our waste loves remain, that's never cleaned,

One of them's most dirty, dour and cruel!
Though he doesn't scream too much, nor flails about,
He'd turn the earth into a parking lot
Or just as casually call the missiles kill.

--BOREDOM. Through the tears of unblinking eyes
He looks out for his suicide, and chain-smokes.
You recognize this connoisseur of jokes,
Eh? Like me, you'll swallow no more lies...?

--Charles Baudelaire (my tr.)

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