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.