2 poems by Luciana Croci

After Rimbaud


Through a skylight 

late morning’s smelting hammer 

strikes with a migraine.

Bedclothes stir, veined hands snake about,

fend off warm covers.

M. Jacques follows his belly 

upwards from bed, gropes down,

teeters as he squats chin to knees,

right hand lifting nightshirt,

left-hand’s knuckles forming knots 

around a chamber-pot.


On straw chairs aligned in the square

he and his friends absorb the sun’s heat.

Pale rays generate memories

of times that were green

awaken slight, long dormant sensations

as buttocks are teased by the prickly straw 

and spring juices rise, flow and spread.


A glow of musty furnishings

and aged mahogany.

A glass pane bars out cold night air

as the old man bakes by the fire.

Alas, warm fumes catch in his throat,

he gasps, he coughs,

his fat tripe quivers –

song-birds nesting inside?

quickly, a chamber-pot –

squats panting 

while a full moon blushes

at a rosy backside.

In homage to Rimbaud

Paul and I …

were we the poems?

verses written in wine 

refined with hash, distilled with absinthe. 

We scrambled senses 

in this city of taverns and brothels, 

we were rain-ragged gargoyles 

squirting from eaves on the Notre Dame

children throwing stones at a doppelganger

shrieking insults and running from view.

I wrote words

sharper than a knife thrust,

rubbed salt into the wound

bled through seasons in hell.

My wildest dreams, my illuminations

proved as imperfect as streetlights 

to be douted at dawn.

Words slapped together on a page 

surged and fell with the flow of the Seine

spiralled into drains 

lost their way in the sewers.

My poems,

cheap wine made from barrel washings.

About the contributor

Luciana Croci is a Newcastle-based poet and writer, whose work is published in Animal Encounters (Catchfire Press, 2012), Novascapes (Speculative Fiction Anthology, Invisible Elephant Press, 2016) and Australian Poetry Collaboration (Meuse Press, 2018, 2019, 2020).

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