new zealand electronic poetry centre


Mark Young

online works


Came down by abyssinian camel train,
rimbaud riding shotgun & wearing a
sweatshirt emblazoned with the head
of de sade & the enscribed legend:
‘voici le temps des ASSASSINS’.
                                              Came down
through somaliland, heading for harar &
addis adiba, stopping over in various
villages where we fucked the young boys
given us nightly by the local chieftains.

Sold some guns / bought bhang / drank
absinthe / fought camels / got fucked by
the local chieftain. Young boys came down
on donkeys, de sade came down with his prick
up the arse of a male goat, rimbaud
came down with malaria & raved for days.

Sold more guns to an enemy village, but
salved what little conscience we had left
by acting as neutral nurses in the ensuing
battle, crucifying the dying or tying
their limbs to camels which we whipped in
opposite directions. Gathered up the guns
left by the dead, smoked bhang, pulled each
other off & came over icons of the coptic
saints. Drank absinthe till we stank /
                                                    of wormwood.

The sand burned our eyes & throats, & even
the prettiest of the young boys couldn’t
put the fires out. Sold the re-acquired guns
to those left living at exorbitant prices —
many slaves, much ivory; even myrrh &
frankincense & gold which we bargained for off
three senile fools who’d got lost while searching
for some star. Fucked them also. & their
camels. Then set the slaves to diddling
themselves with elephant-tusk dildoes. Went
to sleep dreaming of some place called bethlehem.

                                               Moved off on
sudanese asses, me riding shotgun, rimbaud
tied to the leading donkey with another
bout of fever. Fell partway off so his head
traced runes in the sand. Raved about quinine
but couldn’t find a rhyme to go with it. Up-
right by khartoum, so we went looking for the mahdi
& instead found verlaine who was / looking for the
harbour. Three days spent drinking with him,
until he suddenly pulled a gun & shot rimbaud
in the wrist. It healed quickly — he always
was a bad shot — but we’d had enough by then, &
consigned him to the nile & a blowjob from a
crocodile that left him screaming for his wife
& mother-in-law. Gave him a good funeral, though —
the barge he sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
burn’d on the water; purple the sails, & so perfumed
that we saved on the incense.

                                           But even in cairo we could
still smell it, so we moved east. Waited for the
red sea to open, then on to aden to arrange another
arms consignment. The night spent in a whorehouse,
& off on a dhow before dawn, bound for zanzibar.


© Mark Young

Last updated 10 March, 2004