Baudelaire the Damned

Despite his pinched circumstances, he kept a caged bat as a pet, feeding it a diet of milk and bread. Occasional visitors to the gloomy cave of his room would find the former dandy in a workingman’s smock, the revolting smells particular to poverty clinging to its folds. His repartee, recognized at one time for its sophistication, had also deteriorated – to a mumble of disconnected words and phrases. It was as though while hiding in Brussels from all his creditors in Paris, he had managed to hide from even himself. Weeks later, he would die raving in his old mother’s arms, just more proof, some said, of the progressive syphilization of society.

Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press), The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro Press), and Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).

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