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Dionne Charlet Nov 2016
Sands traverse oceans to envelop me
within the coercion of a dream of Egypt
as I search the turquoise of the medallion in my hands
to match the gray-blue of his eyes.

Too long have I willed for him
to sail the Atlantic,
stride through the door,
and sweep me from haunting this view of London.
But for now I am left
to my own image and a pane,
so I muster the meat of my palm
within this sleeve of lace
to brush it across the glass for a clearer look,
yet my efforts have revealed
no more than engorged eyelids reflected…
manacles of me.

Behest of self,
maniacal I am slated
to perform involuntary tedium,
hopeful to unlock deeper meaning
within each hieroglyph,
once so purposefully etched in a semblance of bronze.

I long to surrender
to the warmth of the taste of iron
caught in his sights over a tomb blanketed in gold.

I will come for you, Daughter of Heaven and Earth.

Spontaneous peristalsis of phrase
connects with the drop
gurgling through the candid quiet
and I wonder
if the image that now reflects would indulge him,
or if he might ****** the lock of dark hair
that he cropped from my neck with the skill of an assassin
when our paths first crossed in Cairo.

Time has softened the image I hold of him;
his eyes are satin,
burning like a flag still waving
as his army advances over our forbidden dig.

There is something
sensation-like in downfall…
copious saline embodies the fractal curve.

I found no scrolls of the Book of the Dead.

Here in my olive skin I rot like a peach
that’s been left in a satchel
forgotten to dust of the ages
disturbed by picks and axes
that strike with the determination of discovery.
A peach, never to be savored;
never to nourish or to pleasure,
or be trampled by insects
and carried off in pieces
to the hollow of the ant queen.

My eyelids are hard to turn like wet pages
forced to envision a river that is not the Nile
where I am held within the binds of propriety,
corsetted, bustled, and locked out of Egypt
dammed from the salvation
of even an intermittent Dutchman’s finger
by dunes and shores and footfalls
to find words that stream in liquid resonance
where firm succumbs to self and
I can feel passion writhing through my intangibles.

Thusly, clouds form over a city that blackens and distorts
the way a river's reflection of my face
would ripple from the plunging body of a dove,
belly-up, encased in wings,
and two thousand miles from him.

Arousal is a moccasin seethed in spasms
of peristalsis and musculature
toward the beckoning pulse of breast.

Any hope for contact collapses into flesh,
venom sheathes each corpuscle,
and a woken neck flails in judgment
before the truth in his eyes
under the shadow of the Great Pyramid
where Ramses II lies supine
across the Turin Papyrus.

I imagine the other side of me
and where she might reflect when
all that there is in such a study
contributes to my wanting
to wreak my bellied freedom
beneath crevices that sink as crevices do
in downward angled layers
to withstand the ages.

Dark hair gleams in contrast,
more for strip of scalp
than the trickle of red down my back.

Breached like sugar that candid—
starburst wings of Monarchs dripping ancient like sunsets
over magenta and milky mauve in the reeds—
my ankles revealed and inverted to the sky they glean, yet...

his arrival is delayed
when the pistol ***** three times.
The still of my breast compounds
with the steady union of the dark, and
somewhere denial flows with the sands.

So cycles change, like a fable for Eternal.

“Daughter of Heaven and Earth,” written by Dionne Charlet, appears in print in Cairo by Gaslight, the second anthology in the By Gaslight Series from New Orleans small press Black Tome Books.  Books in the series include New Orleans by Gaslight (ISBN 9780615801186) and Cairo by Gaslight (ISBN 9781516961528).  Both collections feature poetry by Charlet, under the pseudonym Dionne Cherie. Look for the upcoming anthology Paris by Gaslight, which will feature a poem of the same title by Dionne.
A steampunk narrative poem of adventure and love lost in Cairo.
Dionne Charlet Nov 2016
Plumped rouge with pigment
her lip fills to graze the *******
intent to disquiet the likes of de Sade
autografted with ocular detachment
should a Marquis wish to harness
the song of the morning
within a bandolier of Seine
to ensnare any bustled Persephone
gilted by discharge of ions
into a ménage of torment
through the Porte des Lions.

Hers is the tincture of doxy
caramelized and debrided of naivety,
empowered by the eve of invention,
swollen to curves and grounded in Paris.

Illumination defies pervasion
down to every gear and pulley
she has hushed through mechanization
and lulled by steam,
swaging a cacophony of flickers
encased in glass by the Lady’s watch,
where every rivet of her plate glisters silken
reverberation in cascade,
elegant, caged, and towering,
outspoken in silence,
ever challenging the Champ de Mars.

"Paris by Gaslight," written by Dionne Charlet, is the title poem to be featured in the upcoming steampunk anthology Paris by Gaslight, the third anthology in the By Gaslight Series from New Orleans small press Black Tome Books.  Look for the first two collections of poems and short stories set in Victorian Times, New Orleans by Gaslight (ISBN 9780615801186) and Cairo by Gaslight (ISBN 9781516961528).  Both collections feature poetry by Charlet, under the pseudonym Dionne Cherie.
"Paris by Gaslight" - written by Dionne Charlet - is the title poem to be featured in the upcoming steampunk anthology "Paris by Gaslight".
Dionne Charlet Nov 2016
The soles of my sandaled feet
maneuver lumps of brick as if by rote
and I am compelled to face the square.

Almost noon on Sunday,
I seek the impromptu mall
of Tarot readers and caricaturists
where palmists merchant to St. Peter,
each an homilist to the choir of steel drums
tinkling near the alley.
Alternate drummers motion bills and coins
into the walled cache of a tattered suitcase.

Tall arched doors spill into
the welcoming flicker and scent of melting wax
as an older woman enters,
the heft of her rosary bending her
near genuflection.

Familiar passages resonate;
memories lead to Sacraments.
Questions filter through me like confessions,
and I note what lingers of my faith.


I feel too guilty for Communion.

Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
Even as I turn to You,
my right toe numbs
and my ear begins to itch.
My ******* constrict
and my throat presses into the wet.
Inject me, Father, with Noah's syringe –
the one that jazzed him
to build that floating zoo –
that I may track my path before the Rise.
Or, let me don Your priestly robes,
and turn some wine to Corpuscles
divined to see beyond my own plank
or preach the Beatitudes to yawning zealots.

Is there a mirror on that altar?

As the cathedral entrance closes,
I am who I am
—and I am not worthy—
standing my shadow's length
from the shallow steps.

Azaleas blooming at my back,
I remember when religion grew within my mind
fed weekly by carvings on a chalice
in a chapel on Esplanade left to nature post Katrina.

Spanish moss greys the white beard of God
where the dome of the fresco fractures.

Phalangeal hues of sun
eclipse the floating dust
from breaks in stained glass stations.

Masses of blackberry and kudzu
drape a pregnant mass
over the sculpted marble of the cross.

The chiseled palms of Christ extend as
ropes of growth unravel from His Torso

like a figment of my reconciliation.

Vines fall to form a brambled crown
atop a broken stone
between the great doors
where the Bible swells open.

A version of this poem has been previously published in the anthology Louisiana Inklings: A Literary Sampler (29 October 2013).

*"Sanctuary" was featured as Poem of the Day and  added to the Poetry Club on
An exploration of faith abandoned when subjected to the nature of religion.

— The End —