Clark Ashton Smith

Almost Anything

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Superlatively sonorous
Like a saxophone full of brass tacks and coffin-nails;
Reverberantly rhythmical and rhythmically reverberant
Like the quobbing of a foetus five months old
In the womb of a she-baboon;
Imperial, romantic and picturesque
Like a merd-brown fog slinking away through slum alleys
And over the city dump;
Fair and pulchritudinous as a female Hottentot with buttocks two axe-handles broad
And eyes that shine like rotten mackerel by moonlight;
More savorous than Gorgonzola buried for two months
At the bottom of a ship-load of guano;
Soft and voluptuous
Like the bosom of an acaleph that is more than slightly moribund;
And fragrant as a room
Where a cat was shut in by mistake. . .

But you say that my meaning is obscure,
And that it is hard to understand what I am referring to:
I ask you,
Hypocrite lecteur, mon sembable, mon frère,
What is the use of writing this modernist poetry
If one is not permitted
To be decently or indecently cryptic on occasion? . . .
And as for the meaning—
Well, I am not any too sure myself,
But if you are really determined to know,
I suggest that you refer the matter to some modernist critic.

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