SODOM after Verlaine by Niall McDevitt


after Verlaine

this melancholy's too much. I'm alone, adventure over.

an illegal feeling eats inward. the climax is deathly.

I sense - like a mouse in a laboratory - science's scalpel 

and observe with soft-focus eyes my lifeblood drained.

London billows, London shrieks, a city from the Bible.

the gas-lamps flame and shimmer, road-signs redden

and crumbling slums 

                                    echo seismic pressures

looking weird as covens of toothless, fossilised crones.

ugly flashbacks lunge with spitting and hissing of cats

in the filthy pink-yellow fogs of this Soho vice-zone

where street-slang cuffs your ear as a penance for sins.

I'm upto my eyeballs in decay, a shabby martyrdom. 

in the dust of my window, it's written: the bottom falls 

out of the sky where fire rampages 

                                                          in this biblical city-state

Drawing of Niall McDevitt by Julie Goldsmith

Niall McDevitt is the author of three collections of poetry, b/w (Waterloo Press, 2010), Porterloo (International Times, 2013) and Firing Slits, Jerusalem Colportage (New River Press, 2016). He is also known for his poetopographical walks such as The William Blake Walk, An Arthur Rimbaud Drift, and many others. His latest book BABYLON (a neoliberal theodicy) is forthcoming from New River Press. 

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