A 1:00 a.m. Conversation with the Poet Baudelaire

M:        Charles! I am surprised to find you here…asleep. Wake up!

 

B:        I was feeling content to stay in my room today.

 

M:        Are you drunk!

 

B:        I had been drinking.

 

M:        I thought that; at last, when I found you; I would find you drunk; not asleep in your room.

 

B:        Did you say womb?

 

M:        I said room.

 

B:        But it feels more like a womb. It is warm, and dark in here, and cold outside.  The streets are full of slush, rivulets of snowmelt and filth. I was safe in my dreaming; dreaming of temptation, delightful and promising.

 

I was too cowardly to accept a devils’ offer, afraid of losing myself in a bargain for fame, for a place in the world. Now you are here, with your admiration. I wish you would go. Do not offer me any part of that world out there; a world that made me famous, respectable, to spite me.

 

I never meant for you to take me seriously. I never knew that time would wound me so.

 

I think you belong outside. I will meet your cold-consuming stare from my window. That hungry gaze, belongs in the frozen world; out there.

 

Leave me in here, leave my room.

 

M:        Your room, this cozy room, this in-between place; that is neither ditch nor palace, though more the former than the latter.

 

I would hardly call it warm, though I can see from the notes on your desk that the ink in your jar is fluid enough to write with.

 

B:        What do you know of flowing ink? That ink is my elixir, I would drink it if I could. It is the distillation of my heart, the liquor of my soul; an intoxicant that flows from me rather than into me, like wine and wormwood it has poisoned me; made me a wretched hero in the eyes of the world.

 

           

 

  

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