Susan McLean



(With apologies to Lear and Eliot)

How unpleasant to meet Baudelaire,
with his mad eyes and sinister flowers,
so disturbing, so devil-may-care,
as he fondles his evil for hours.

How gladly he broods on ennui,
dissipation, depravity, woe,
with a kind of exuberant glee,
like his ghoulish progenitor, Poe.

He isn’t inclined to play nice;
he does not give a damn for your rules.
He knows poets, like whores, have their price,
but he won’t take dictation from fools.

He hates what he loves to uncover
with his vision that sullies and warps.
As he’s screwing his flit-about lover,
he pictures her moldering corpse.

Just be warned: if you gaze in his mirror,
you will see more of you than you dare,
as the fault lines grow deeper and clearer.
How unpleasant to meet Baudelaire.

Susan McLean has published two books of poetry, The Best Disguise and The Whetstone Misses the Knife; a third book, Daylight Losing Time, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press. She lives in Iowa City.