Rimbaud In Africa - Poem by Morgan Michaels
Like linen, dipped in blood
you stripped off soiled innocence, welcomed cleanly shame,
vowed to leave behind
love and other indignities;
and jeered at by scores of sylphen Furies
who only pretended they couldn't be eluded,
succumbed to the gallic sense you had-
money, its lure, the prize now
you surpassed all at trying,
and ran and ran, it didn't matter where-
to the earth's very end-
beyond the archipelago of still quite active volcanoes
till here in Harar
you found absences, gestures to blame
and bottles of sweat to pour down the drain.
When you passed, elephants bruited the sky-
in some catharsis, found.
The blacks covered their eyes when you walked by
knowing what you knew contagious, dangerous.
Sick, you came back to die.
How strange to return to the world!
There, they buried you,
a common man in common ground.
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