Dave Lordan

Charolais

Dave Lordan

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When, in the 1760s, in Paris,

the Comte Du Charolais, a member of the Condé,

clan and the Faubourg St. Germain

and a Prince of The Blood is unable


to locate his mistress at her usual station

inside the crowded-out cafe

beneath her current apartment, 

he becomes extremely agitated.


She’s a fashionable aristitute, Delisle,

with whom Charolais sired a son

and slaughtered him at seven months

with Spanish Fly, and Laudanum.


He was no sperm of mine, guffaws Du Charolais,

if a drink like that killed him. 

and throats always gape 

before ejaculations of laughter.


Now Charolais, in a passionate rage,

assumes her secreted from him

in some fumiferous snug of the gathering, 

wearing one of those high-society


human-hair wigs he and other

Bourbon Blood Princes have bought her, 

or she’s at work in the lounge, or, 

more disturbing to him, in the cellar.


So Charolais orders The Watch 

(that is, the early Gendarmes),

to surround the Cafe and when the plebs 

there continue concealing Delisle


directs an all-out attack. 

Many ruffians are bludgeoned. 

One loses an eye. Another draws arms 

and is shattered through the thigh.


Delisle is not discovered in the cafe 

but later, stalking the Rue Traversière,

Charolais sights her from his coach, 

Orders the coachman to corral her, 


leaps out whip-in-hand,

slaps her twice on the cheek, lashes her behind, 

and bundles her into the coach 

where he sits down upon her.


Back in the apartment, that he partially pays for, 

Charolais commands Delisle

to her chamber to await on all fours there,

beats up her maid and her butler, 


(who sound no alarm, but disgrace 

him ever-after with the tale 

and dream on their deathstraw

of his body in a bonfire), 


then orders supper, dines for an hour-and-a-half and retires. 

Charolais and Delisle spend all night 

and the next day together

in each other’s arms.



Dave Lordan


Dave Lordan's latest collection is Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains (Salmon). He works as a researcher for the Rte Poetry Programme, teaches creative writing, and manages the community creativity website bogmanscannon.com.

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