There skulks a vigilante called Scumbrella
w/ swashbuckling bartitsu umbrawler moves.
1/2 werrr, 1/2 weyyy, a mentally unstable fella,
whose motley movements defy fitzes & sleuves.
At the dead of night, at the scene of a crime,
off scofflaw stage brollycrook hooks youths,
pimpled pitbulls yet to gnaw bone of hard time,
hoodies he hooks into patella in the face,
then jabs bumbleshoot at their custardpuss spines!
As Mez Pops put UK airspace in its place,
gamp glider Scumbrella l/ accipiter swoops
at trainee mugger, now 'Mum'-yeller auto-Maced
(epiphora of cowardice). Trenchcoat cape dupes
Bash Street chavs w/ shadowplay abillowing,
blots out fullmoon for pack of coyot' yoots,
further blinded by brollyspokes set twirling
by borgne majorette of a mean Gene Kelly,
crimefighting in the rain - what a wonderful feeling
to flaconade ferals w/ ferule of umbrelly,
or on evildoer's cupola springshut subumbrella
l/ panoramic facehugger - that should quell any
scally's scritch should Scrumbr'a skirl Rihanna
a cappella (upon umbrellairguitar, a wee noodle).
Since squabashing tall 10-year-old who twocked Fruitellas,
he's sasquatch-scarce once sirens fill twitchells.
Spiceheads & dratchells expand gangland slang glands
at groggy Z-doggs who dogpiled in IRL,
now duffedup triphazard to any backsteet errand-
boys 'n' girls, runners 'n' riders. Digladiation
Oswald Cobbleoddjob-style done, t'Umbrella Stand
pub a heifer of a zephyr his transportation.
No time to spare, as sirens have been replaced
by ambivalent armed response unit's simunition,
pyongyang of bullites onomatopiercing space
stealth deadened in penultimate comicstrip panel.
Later...at pub w/ his have-a-go antihero mates:
Pteropine Man fresh from frightener in the ginnel,
louring at being mistook for that Yank upstart bat
again; the noble Paedophile-ophobe on sabbatical,
by Yewtree interceptions burntout, Madeleine McCatt
softer focus of offduty searches ; nursing no Stella,
Captain Norfolk Black Turkey Magic sat
w/ an Adnams, Charles Random de Berenger's
seminal ruffianbusting manual sole topic
of convo for the Cap'n's workfriend, Scumbrella.
Snickets of recidivism precipitation now licks,
but in phonebox where, l/ Ms. Zellweger,
supers flaunt granny pants leans lost brolly ironic.
It's hard out here for an automaton
the sun is hot on my metal
Over heats my copper wire
Causes all manner of motor malfunctions
In cold winter days the residual wetness I step in
shorts my circuits
and shocks my partners
I am fond of small coffee shop nooks with outlets.
I don't need to travel too far to recharge
And since I'm so shiny
often briefcases and lipstick come around
sit their lattes on my discarded instruction manual pages
To offer me oil
I will let them insert the Nettie pot shaped disk where they choose
it's rough being a clock work boy
I set myself to operate
at three hours before is necessary in case
I'm distracted by some new upgrade or need
to document another error message.
they never write me back,
bronze looks good on thigh plates
I had this woman notice my key today
protruding from my back
the translucent panel showing into all my cogs and gears
she said she wanted to turn it
back, so she could see my program
run it from the beginning again.
I warned her, turning the key
would only turn back me.
I would rather let the program run on it's natural course,
sure, I'll get closer to the end, but I'm a curious construct
haven't seen the end of my functionality yet
woman keep coming up and asking me to turn back the key
and I am weak,
but don't worry I said
if I run out of energy, you can always turn the key back.
I'll play it all over and you can remember.
She didn't like the idea of doing the same thing over either
she turned the key, waited for it to run out,
left me on the doorstep for some other person to turn back on.
it's hard out here for an automaton.
the sun is hot on my metal
over heating my copper wiring causing all manner
of motor malfunctions
and system failures.
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 fondle 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 cocks 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.
Plumped rouge with pigment
her lip fills to graze the erection
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.
Train is coming to the city of steal,
And you are aboard granting the dream.
As you enter the city of knowledge,
A science miracle on the lake's edge.
Two hours ago, you followed a river down stream,
Just then you saw a sky high tower covered in steam .
The tower of Lesia, or so the folks call it,
The greatest library on Earth is within it.
The city's houses are created of steel,
Forever they move, afraid to stay still.
Universities are all over the place,
So that everyone can science embrace.
And mechanical creatures wonder it's streets,
It seems like they are alive, as you hear their heartbeats.
The folk in here works miracles every day,
Each district's so different in it's own way.
The streets are in fog but one thing is clear,
Now there is no doubt that magic is real.
The city's walls With gears are covered ,
Cause all of the city is a steam powered
Huger then lake machine .
words self-calibrate to match my emotion
all my wires seem intact in the gas lamp glow
no one understands the strength of a potion
until they pour it inside you and they watch you blow
but this is different I cannot quite describe it
I move like a muse with the corset undone
I sense how the power of thunder is striking
and the steam in my pipes pushing up pushing down
I sit on the edge of this meaningful feeling
and everything's trembling inside and out
like a vessel afloat I'm breaking your ceiling
and reach for you, master, my creature of doubt.
we are two always but one feels the other
the wires are tangled we're both flesh and steel
your arms hold me tight your fingers go further
my eyes melting metal, your tears almost real
now give me a name and teach me your methods
unscrew all the bolts use your lips show me how
this poem will self-destruct in 5 seconds
you may countdown this stanza or you may run.
Drowning in the sea of red
cartridges stuck inside her head
singing to the pigeon man
about all the stars again
how they crunch under her toes
there she goes
She dines by the candlelight
golden beetles lined with blight
in her velvet dressing room
withered flowers in full bloom
Drowning in the sea of red
cartridges stuck inside her head
singing to the pigeon man
about the dawn once again
how the curtain rises low
on last show
Cigarettes in the first row
Rustling of the stolen feathers
City shining through the smoke
My compass pointing towards my dreams
my polished brass imaginator
My gyroscopes spin lazily
My log contains but disconnected letters
the few remaining sentences
its stacked and leatherbound brothers
I chained my silver dream kaleidoscope
above my head
it's diamond sapphires and amethyst pearls
are out of reach
I said I would sail this way
and I have
how to turn this dirigible
who sits motionless
ran through wings
I lift her glass
I touch her while
she's still. Clock-
until I wind
I let her
go on. "La danse!"
the night where
tap the window
Papillon — French. Meaning "butterfly."
La danse — French. Meaning "The dance."