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Le Gibet (The Gibbet)

The stench of five-dollar perfume
and embalming wine wafting
around the barfly’s sunken eyes
and drooping cheeks held a
bizarre mystique that I
couldn’t quite place at first.
But her incessant cackling and
swaying from side-to-side
as she talked to herself
soon set me to thumping
my foot and humming knowingly.
Goaded by cat-like fascination,
I slipped into her consciousness
surreptitiously, and together
we conjured sublimely bittersweet
images of Ravelian desolation:
her swinging from the gallows …
and me waiting to cut her down.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, Cyberwit Publishing, 2005, by Adam Donaldson Powell)

Maurice Ravel plays his “Le Gibet” (from Gaspard de la Nuit):

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