Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Yellow Book

The Yellow Book

“his very eyes stopped reading,
and it seemed as if his mind,
gorged with literature and art
refused to absorb any more”
—Joris-Karl Huysmans,
Against Nature (A Rebours)

Dorian had known—this curious fancy
in the seventh chapter—Huysmans tells how

crowned with laurel—lest lightning might in a garden at Capri—reading the peacocks strutted round him

and the flute-player—mocking the swinger of the hero of the decadent novel—that with the young

green-shirted jockeys—in their stables had so influenced his life—had himself a jewel-frontleted

horse and like Domitian—had wandered through a corridor striking him—he’d said like Tiberius

haggard eyes for the—reflection of the shameful books of Elephantis—while sick dwarfs with ennui

and that terrible tedium vitae—that comes from burnt-out Caligula—having caroused and peered

through a clear emerald—supped in an ivory manger with or without in a litter—of pearls and purple

bedroom-eyes—and gilded marble mirrors
purple-velvet Pomegranates—in a House of Gold

daggers that used to end plays—as he passed by
like Elagabalus with painted face—denying nothing

with colors plied by distaffs—among all the red shambles of the circus—the women bringing the

Moon from Carthage—and Dorian in mystic marriage to the Sun silver-shod with—Icarus waxed wings

and carried through the Street—listening to boys and men crying out to Nero Caesar—Roman sugar daddy

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