Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Opium Den

Opium Den

"Of all sweet passions
Shame is the loveliest.”
—Lord Alfred Douglas

Dorian Gray glided—along the quay
through the drizzling rain—toward the den

a dark house wedged in between—two gaunt
factories—with gaunt shuttered windows

a secret knock—then a shadowy figure
opened the door—and Dorian went in silently

without a word—or look at the squat figure
up a little staircase—through a ratty green

curtain swaying with the wind—from the street
then into a chamber—lit by flaring gas jets

distorting the reclining bodies—laying in weird
fantastic postures—on filthy mattresses with

gaping mouths—and empty staring eyes that
fascinated him—especially the young sailors

evil opium and—handsome stoned sailors
fascinated Dorian—teaching him the secrets

of a new forbidden joy—how much better off
they were than him—loaded and clueless

easily available—not troubled by anything
only wanting to escape—for a long lost weekend

until their ship sailed for—China again, plying the
lucrative opium trade—getting laid & tattooed

sailors often bore tattoos—as a mark of good luck
and as souvenirs of the places—they’d visited

usually the tattoo parlors—and opium dens were
under the same tattered roof—places he haunted

so that while the tattooist—and whores did their
thing—that’s when Dorian dressed in drag did

the tattooed young Neptunian—naughty sailors
who didn’t care who gave them—the oral pleasures

they needed after days and nights—of lonely Pacific
voyages dreaming of women—and smutty romance

in the darkness of the dens—there was no need of
shame—the spirit of the flesh even of crude sailors

had its own subtlety and charm—so that the look
on the portrait’s face grew more coarse—while

Dorian’s lips grew more comely—with each new
shipload of gorgeous young hunks—delighting

him so much that he was gone—for long weeks
down by the louche docks—languidly servicing

her Majesty’s—swooning youthful seamen
his meeting them—strangely moving Dorian

provoking him to wonder—if the ruin of their young lives was really—any different than his slow demise

for with these young stoned sailors—there was no infamy or insult—and for a few seconds he Dorian

was sad but then, after all—what did it matter to them since their days were so long onboard but

so brief ashore so that—the burden of another's errors was never on their shoulders—each man

lived his own life and—paid his own price for living it the only pity being—Dorian had to pay so often for

his single fault—indeed he had to pay over and over again—in his dealings with young men—decadent

destiny never closing its accounts—simply adding more ghastly decay and wrinkled putridity to the

portrait in the attic—up there behind the locked door
giving Dorian those moments—of complete freedom

moments, psychologists tell us—when the passion for sin—and for what the world calls forbidden sex

dominates a nature—so that every fiber of the body and every cell of the brain—seems seduced by those

very same instincts—and fearful impulses that
make killers murder and maim—addicted to the

love that dares not—speak its name except in dark
dirty opium dens—down my the Whitechapel docks

young sailors—and men who like young sailors
such moments cause—loss of freedom of the will

they move to their terrible end—as automatons move—choice taken from them and conscience

either killed, or, if it lives at all—lives but to give rebellion its fascination and disobedience its charm.

for all sins—as theologians grow weary of telling us are sins of disobedience—when that high spirit

that morning star of evil—falls from heaven, it’s into the arms of a greedy fag—like Dorian Gray

Callous vampire—concentrating with stained lips
hungry for young sailors—draining them dry

Dorian Gray hastened on—to the next opium den
quickening his step as he went—buying his way into

the inner sanctum—where Davy Jones’ locker
conceals the comely treasure—runny pearls and

onyx pubes—sparkling in the candlelight on sofas
pipes and hookahs—darting into dim archways

knowing all the short cuts to—ill-famed dives
up and down the docks—knowing when each ship

comes in delivering its cargo—cute seraphimyoung brutal boyz of the deep—done in nicely

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