Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Reading Baudelaire

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Reading Baudelaire

Article excerpt

whereupon I slammed shut the book

hurled that clock against a wall

and sped out the door

radioactive words etched in my brain

they burn I burn

(but that's Sappho)

because I couldn't take it

couldn't take it

Monstrous time, bestial your jaws

saw-toothed, ratcheted

the sweet past, a dream

of opulence, lace curtains,

her cobalt bowl on the table

bulging with wet grapes

and figs

souviens-toi!prodigue! esto memor

to remember is all

to remember the past

creates the past

to remember her, her lips

and golden wheat hair

and the kiss frozen in time

Excavate, archaeologist

of nostalgia, of desire . . .

the future has diminished,

the smashed clock still ticks

sinister fleurs, fleurs du mal

year of the cock

I sit before a paper place setting

of the Chinese zodiac

in LoMein House

awaiting a friend

drinking tepid jasmine tea

I'm the rooster

and it's my year, 2017,

it's what my Italian name

means in Spanish-

cock

lucky, eh? …

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