Rimbaud’s Kraken     

Citizens, awake! These are not the low, mild
clouds of your usual daybreaks—behold
the slowly-advancing arms of the apocalyptic
monster, already filling with a pink, sinister light!

The city is a coral reef flaunting electric crustaceans,
a lewd feast laid out for him under the heavens.
He will fiddle harshly the nude steeple of the church,
thump the opera house roof in a savage tom-tom.

His music will make the pauper priests and debutantes
run wild in the street, shucking moth-eaten cassocks
and silk-and-diamond unmentionables to careen
off one another like lascivious pinballs.

Look out, schoolteachers! He’s come to suck the bones
from your bodies, to toss your slumping skins
like hobo overcoats into the gutters where you’ll
spend your last breaths belching out chalk dust.

The savage urchins, those diminutive monsters
who set fire to the backs of stray dogs—
all at once they’ll shriek in terror to see
their fingers turn to sardines in his thundering shadow.

The public monuments will swarm with snails,
their slime-trails a griffonage of queer divinations.
Don’t bother running to the sewers to hide—
the pipes have already come alive in their catacombs, ready to strangle.

Citizens, it’s all his! Your only chance now is to sprout
another quartet of limbs and clear the way as he unfurls
down the thoroughfares a hundredfold, while the paving stones
squeal like spinsters under the thick, obscene banners of his arms!  end