Keats’ last book of poems was stolen by the flower girl that cut his throat. Keats had been continuing his nights under an assumed name, in Paris, where – obsessed with his new blood-soaked, delirious eroticism – he penned “Le Fleur du Mal” in the blood of prostitutes and beautiful men that had been used up into husks. He always remembered the day he coughed blood into a handkerchief like a rose falling from a skull’s gaping maw, and the day he laid back and let La Belle Dame Sans Merci finally finish the job like a pale night lily thrusting up from a sweltering pond.
He was so tired, by then. He held still for her when she crippled him, stole his library, and sold it all off to the notorious dilettante, Baudelaire, for her opium and food.
Next trace I found of Keats, he was in Algeria, where nightfall is peppered with gunfire and scattered stars, writing letters and running from poetry. He slowly devoured the boy, Rimbaud, and the brilliant boy’s poems dwindled into the same immortal darkness unto death.
I’m looking for their tracks in the library. I think they went to India. I’m learning to speak Urdu. I’m digging through the letters of clerics and mystics.
Where did they go? China? The Russian Veld?