Thomas De Quincey
They never mention how he was addicted
to laxatives as well as laudanum,
rarely examine the psychology of living
fifty-five years with a brown python
sleeping coiled in his colon, stirring only
with liberal dosings of bran and hot water,
black coffee enemas and green apple stews
to goad the snake from its slumber,
a life-long project he pursued like an epic,
employing an entire regimen of asanas
recommended by his daughter in India,
the prune compotes employed by Coleridge,
nor do the maestros of academe
note the fasts that generated as many visions
as the Dark Mistress herself.
No, the professors judge this unworthy
of their magisterial delvings, yielding
only an ore of darkly impacted peat devoid
of diamonds despite the decades of pressure.
Don’t think I spend my time wasting my time,
not at all, I’m inventing carbonated milk,
tea-flavoured coffee, a light fuelled by methane
that shines out your ass, the biodegradable toupee,
and of course immortality.
Naturally there is foolishness.
It may be the essence of a fertile mind that sows itself
with every seed gusting past in the wind
unedited by restraint, probity, caution, or any Christian virtue.
I advise nothing less than flying
as close to the source as possible so you see
I don’t sit toadish in my caravan
failing at crossword puzzles,
glooring doomily at the rain
and messing with syllables but pursuing
art designed to elevate us all.
Grant Buday has published ten books. His most recent novel is The Delusionist (Anvil Press, 2014) which was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award.