Falling Asleep Reading Baudelaire's Une Charogne

Falling Asleep Reading Baudelaire’s Une Charogne
By Joe Cloyd
It was a morning in June,
At the bend of the gravel
Path… You were
I remember that deathly stench.
The evening news said
That someone cut that woman
Into 7 pieces, but we
Didn’t know that then.
We just saw
A human leg,
And then another 15 feet away—
Another leg. At first,
They looked like they
Were made of wax,
But the convening congress
Of swirling flies
And squiggling maggots
Killed that notion.
Who knows? Maybe they were
Discussing some crucial issue
Concerning the future
Of their little insect-livelihood. Or perhaps
They were debating the budget
For the next fiscal year
Which to them might
Be like a
Or perhaps the
Occupants on the one leg
Were planning
A preemptive strike
Against those
On the other—
It was a metaphor for the earth,
I said to you.
You weren’t buying it.
I continued: you know,
Cycle of life and all that shit….
You said that
I had no soul, I was dead and
That I was an asshole.
I didn’t disagree.
We were interrupted by a dog.
The nearer he got to the second leg
The more ferociously he snarled.
So we turned around.
You got out your cell
And called the cops.
I said nothing,
Which was probably
The smartest thing
To say
In the

0 thoughts on “Falling Asleep Reading Baudelaire's Une Charogne

  1. I agree. The last stanza shakes it out of the established flow.
    That being said, Joe, this is the best thing I’ve ever read of yours. Bravo. I’ll even overlook my aversion to capitalizing every line. . .
    really, though, very nice.

  2. For Baudalaire’s ‘A Cadaver’ [English translation]– http://fleursdumal.org/poem/126
    Whereas Baudalaire’s poem was more of a ‘finding beauty among the morose’ (even a morbid fascination), i think this poem is more attuned to dark humor. Very novel idea referencing (paying homage) to Baudalaire’s work and then updating/building upon. Caps at beginning of each line are in keeping with Baudalaire’s style–nice touch (though you might have to give Misener a massage to ease his troubled buttocks…hehe.just kidding).
    Poem even borders on translation/parody including flies, maggots, and dogs between the original and the modernized.
    When the main character begins rambling on about the ‘goings-on’ of the insects involved on different severed limbs, the humor truly kicks in. It’s sometimes very difficult to have remorse for someone/something we didn’t know, even when confronted face to face with the deathly spectacle of a corpse. Shock could also be one cause of ‘comic relief’ that so many of us might think or experience. Just the other day my mother-in-law read out a headline: “Man hangs himself with own bluejeans.” …to which i replied: “Ah, for whom the bell-bottom tolls…”. Heartless but maybe that’s one of the ways we stay sane.
    Great piece though a bit choppy–get it? ‘choppy’ [from limbs] Bwahahahaha!

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