the last public beheading in paris

the parisians
took to the streets
to celebrate the use
of the old guillotine
wine splashed
across the cobblestones
an augury
to the blood to come

they packed the bars
awaiting
the guest of honor
to be paraded
to the wood and iron
implement
of final resting
of succinct endings

a bucket placed
unceremoniously
in the face
of the pomp and ceremony
the disharmony
of drunken faces
staring in rapt attention
as the fool was knelt

the rowdy crowds
brayed for blood
until the silent executioner
pulled the rope
letting the heavy blade
slide down
the filthy tracks
of splintered gore

ruddy cheeks gone pale
as the bystanders
see the spectre
of death looming
as the blood spills
in great spurts
to run along the streets
of the city of romance

as the parisians faint
at the spectacle
the reality of taking a life
no matter how vile dawns
as the body twitches
the eyes still blink
in the cushioned basket
facing the sun

the residents would complain
of the stench
emanating
from the contraption
of humane disposal
as the bits of flesh putrefy disturbing
the painters poets and mimes

it was to be
the last public beheading
by guillotine
in paris
as the revelers realized
that endings such as this
were meant to be mourned
not celebrated

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