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I drew breath within days of Max Beerbohm;

by the age of seven, was out of it.

Consumption led to love of sumptuousness:

I posed with crossed legs and the steam engine

I imagined never ran out of puff.

Later I quipped that I had caught a cold

by venturing without my stick’s tassel.

I worked at night with my gold nib by light

of flickering ormolu candlesticks,

under my Mantegnas and crucifix.

I felt an irregular birth, a spawn

of Satan, unlike Mabel, the princess,

whose throat I felt like slitting in our plays:

the dramatics of decapitation!

Algolagnia was then just a word.

I was the Abbe- dandified hero,

who quelled the mutinies of my cravat

and jabot prior to entering portals

to Madame Venus’ boudoir kingdom.

I didn’t dream they would hiss of incest.

In Menton’s Hotel Cosmopolitain

I gasp my last at twenty six years old

under a hanging Christ and dear Wagner.

Bathyllus’ swan dance led to swansong:

my fin de siecle scenario.

Smithers, will you obey my last wishes

as Jesus Christ is my lord and my judge?

Destroy my priapic portfolios:

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata scenes.

I hope He will not judge in black and white.