The Paris Spring of Mrs Wilde

The Paris Spring of Mrs Wilde


The café is a shadowed—world of vices
Where lonely men—slide their way on sidewalks

Passer-bys let themselves—be detoured
Ennui & boredom—draw them from the suburbs

Heads turn around—the night has its own ways
The café a shadowed world—full of smell & decay

A new face shows up—heads turn around like
Weathervanes—breeze of boss Cupid wings

Although seen—everything remains unseen
Names in the night—nameless young faces

I would’ve ended up—this way anyway
Minor bon vivant poet—an aging Parisian queen

Sooner or later—it happens to the best of us
Playwrights aren’t forever—neither are poets

The Age of Decadence—a queenly coffee klatch
Beardsley, Firbank and I—petals on a bough


This city—of trembling hands
This city—that never weeps a tear

Stairways rising up—from mists below
Stairways leading down—into the Seine

Love can be disgusting—laughter of hyenas
Gnawing memories—Verlaine’s broken heart

Immense beasts—palpitating darknesses
Gargoyles leaning down—ancient Roman dive

How did I end up here—under the wings of
Gaunt cathedrals—beneath a wolfish moon

Boys that I didn’t know—but understand now
Consuming rich divorcees—like myself

All of us—finding ourselves lost and found
Walled in by this night—of truant romances


“I is another”
—Arthur Rimbaud

Here I am—in the City of Light
Exiled into—French boyish arms

I should’ve—ditched London sooner
In Harris’ yacht—I was in harm’s way

My own bateau ivre—beached rudely
Just as you did—beautiful Ardennes boy

You reclaimed—the inside of a volcano
Simmering there—deep inside you

Your high-cheekbone face—fringed with
Frenchman green eyes—flower of youth

It was every man for himself—around you
Sinking ships going down—like Miss Titanic

Sinking deep—phosphorescent parlors
Visceral glowing fish—swimming deeper

Paris the Bright City—beneath the Sea
Jules Verne diving deep—deeper than me

Black Cat Café—your Left Bank home
Imagination—your voyant craft

Young Rimbaud— Ardennes idiot savant
Help me to recapture—my childhood at will

Stretching ropes—from steeple to steeple
Garlands from window—to window

Golden chains—from star to star
Illuminating the darkness—inside me

Leave me a jilted lover—if you wish
Like Verlaine in the gutter—stunned

But shoot me dead—with déjà vu
Beat me, bend me—into the Light

I prefer Light—to Literature now
The French language—Illuminations

Full of jetsam—rotting eroding Light
It’s my gay imagination—that needs you

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