|illustration by Allen Koszowski|
Been in a very Oscar mood of late, which is good because thinking of Wilde often makes me want to write something influenc'd by his genius. Here is an old sonnet to his memory:
I entertained the evil things of life,
Those panther boys whose beauty I adored;
And for this crime I lost my sons, my wife,
And I became a thing grotesque, abhor'd.
And so what can I do but live in dream,
Where my fine name is not a thing of mud,
Where kissing handsome lads is not blaspheme,
Where--seven-veil'd--I dance in pool of blood?
Ah Dorian, the mirrors of your eyes
Shew unto me youth's golden little time.
Ah Sphinx! How wonderful you are, how wise!
Oh Bosie, teach me passion's poison'd clime.
I deign to dance in Dante's holy flames.
Judiciousness I leave to Henry James.
I shall be performing to-night at ye Baltic Room, at a Bohemian event in celebration of H. P. Lovecraft called Pentacles and Tentacles. I regret that ye image of tentacles is so associated with E'ch-Pi-El--he is far more than Cthulhu--but let that pass. It is rare, these days, for me to gather with ye Strange Young Ones of the Seattle punk and party scene, and I am curious to see what kind of beautiful freaks dwell within that milieu. I shall be reading some few of Lovecraft's sonnets from Fungi from Yuggoth, but I also want to read
something in memory of Wilde. I shall be wearing my Oscar Wilde jacket at to-night's event, with a green carnation in its lapel. Oscar, of course, has been as major an influence on my writing as has Lovecraft, and it was with great pleasure that I finally wrote an entire prose-poem sequence in honour of Wilde for my Centipede Press omnibus, The Tangled Muse, a sequence which was then reprinted in my second book from Hippocampus Press, Uncommon Places. I will be reading, to-night, an unpublish'd poem that I wrote in memory of Oscar Wilde, which I have just to-day revised. Here it is:
The moon arises, white and naked,
In its vaulted tomb -- the sky.
No angels accompany it.
It floats there like some pale, detached head,
And I want to reach for it, hold it,
Kiss it as I dance, seven-veil'd,
In a pool of hot spilled blood.
And I would let my own face ascend
To godless heaven,
And frown upon this play of mortal puppets.
The carnation in my lapel is green,
Like unto a slim glass of absinthe,
That drink of poison'd dreams and ecstasy.
One drop of wormwood beads upon my mouth.
Kiss it away, I beg you.