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Poetry by Noah Rymer

volta

(for Baudelaire)

the days go by screaming like madmen with axes
cockroaches pinned pirouetting feeble legs overturned
life opens her languorous lids, smacks tired lips,
breathes sweet sorrow like ashes from an urn

the oracular spark has come and gone — already
the albatross hangs about like some former lover,
some millstone waiting to sink witches into the
drowning depths, drowsy fingers dowsing wands

searching for some final dissolution, the end of the night,
but I will go out howling and scratching like a thousand Ornettes
on their tinsel horns spurning the cheap whores that life provides
of the dollar and of the girl and of the white-picket fence

my brain bathes in liquor as ascetics boil in cold baths,
our skulls chattering in mysticism and babbling tongues
thinking of the immortality of the soul, being both exiles
and pilgrims of a world vastly indifferent to us

and during those flaneurial nights scorched by hot neon
chasing the cold affections of a lover scorned
bleeding from briar-stitched blanket’s crown of thorns
interred underneath Andalusian moon’s sick dawn,

I listened to the mad ramblings of the defrocked monk
yet cannot help but to think that I’ve forsaken my master:
the April ninth tomb, cerement womb, a cradle of alabaster
(though, to his commandment, I’ve stayed dutifully drunk)

so I light a candle in the wombs of decaying cathedrals, letting
rosary beads drip down the pallid hymn of dusk, interceding
that my father (who art damned, by his own admission), be seeing
divine visions in closed lids; Our Father’s mercy abetting.

Noah Rymer

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