Lord Henry / George Sanders

Lord Henry / George Sanders

“More clearly homoerotic—
is the competition of Basil
Hallward and Lord Henry
for the attentions of Dorian”
—Claude Summers, ”Oscar Wilde,”
The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage

It’s all—Lord Henry’s fault
I was in the garden—burying my face

in the great cool—lilac blossoms
feverishly drinking in—their perfume

it was the finest wine—intoxicating
Lord Henry like a snake—touched me

“You’re quite right—to do that”
he murmured to me—as I trembled

nothing can cure the soul—he said
my dear Dorian—beautiful boy

nothing but the senses—just as nothing
can cure the senses—but the soul

thus I ended up—a gothic novel
flawed & haunted—by ambivalence

I ended up—a tragic novelette
a text—divided against myself

I ended up—on the edge of an
exquisitely poignant—new Aesthetics

a modern—Pateresque epicureanism
both liberating—and self-realizing

harmonizing—my youth and spirit
a postmodern—nostalgic Hellenism

but instead—my gay imagination
floundered in—self-indulgence

caught between—two male lovers
Basil Hallward’s—idealized love

linked to a—long tradition of
platonized—Greek homosexuality

culminating in—his sinister portrait
awakening in me—my vanity

inspiring me to—diabolical abuse
of others—as well as myself

exploiting my poise—and youth
corrupting myself—with self-love

the object of Basil’s—Artful motives
curves, lines—subtle colors

Basil worshipped me—portrayed me
out of guilt & fear—as Eternal Youth

The Black Cat—wasn’t supernatural
actually just a mere—gothic plot device

Basil reshaped—whetting voyeuristically
Lord Henry’s infatuation—with me

stirring him from—his usual languor
rousing his cynical—disillusionment

his tendentious—misinterpretation
of Miss Pater—ironically suggesting

beyond my—supernatural bargain
with the devil—mere youthful beauty

the Faustian desires—of both Basil
and Lord Henry—to fuck me over

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