DEATH, THE UNRAVELLING. PENELOPE UNWEAVES THE MOON
Death, the unravelling. Penelope unweaves the moon.
In the nightstream in the woods at night, pouring the water
I drank from back. Water of life. Water of light. Dark elixir
widow-walking burnt bridges. The lighthouse of a window
in the woods. Giving my silver sword of moonlight
back to the water sylphs in tribute for all the pain
they caused me so beautifully, poetically, mysteriously wise
in the way they treated me. Well done, guys.
I’ll be looking for Venus through the trees for
the rest of my life without a silver sword. Thanks
for letting me keep the spur. It reminds me of the stars
in your eyes when they come out like chandeliers of sex.
Grasp your flesh as if it were the only soft spot
in the world you’ve ever found to lie down upon
and pretend you were dead convincingly as a pillow.
This gob of fat and excess, this deer bed, these eyes,
with dawns and dusks of their own with orbiting observatories
in direct communication with the brain, it’s a coolie
of a vehicle at your disposal with a good suspension bridge
made of spinal cords. Flat guitar strings that haven’t
been boiled enough to keep their spring dangling
above the abyss by the tail of a misplaced participle
in the mouth of a snakepit that cheats on its Fs with a capo.
Back in the Glebe when we all sat at the same table
and got drunk on ourselves lying like young
and middle-aged artists as we were supposed to have done
because for everything there is a season. And that was it.
I wore mongoose and snakeskin boots back then
in this enormous freak show of dreams and visions
gone right and wrong. Liked the cowboy show. And the wolf.
Dark, drunk days when the whiskey smelled
like puke in the tungsten snowbanks of the streetlamps.
Sick nuns of the Tetragrammaton. I am the world’s
most evil man said no one who was ever serious about himself.
Ah, Spanish roses in Jewish health food stores
unrelated to the Outlaws of the time. Golden Triangle
cowboy stuff with a lot of smashed glass that broke
your heart like a nasty beer glass on a road trip to the moon.
Art. Is it murder or suicide? Or Willie P. Bennet?
Though I sense it in the ashes of Wiffen on his highway
of poetry in tears. But there’s a limit.
And I took it when my life moved out like an exit
off the freeway to be with somebody else.
Because it was true love for a while there.
And you weren’t allowed to be with anybody else
who wasn’t true to your sequins and scales.
Inside of me there’s a lunatic fringe Zen cowboy
islander poet pirate painter prince trying to die extraromantically as if
he’s lived under the moon all of his life howling at it
as if he were in mystical agony like a shepherd of wolves
who knows the difference between the meaning of the words,
pack and flock. Baa. Baa. Black sheep. Black bird.
Anyway you want to put it. What suits you plum
tickles me to death. And I mean it like a rattlesnake
on drugs at your jugular vein. Never again, thank God
for all the haloes in my life I’ve ever grabbed at like brass rings.
All moondogs with an owly look about them
and something slightly carnivorous about the roses
we threw at each other like the silk purses and bullsears
of a dead matador. Ole as the crowd rises to its feet
like a flying carpet and a cape. And we all had to have
whiskey, music, poetry, and death on our very last breath.
It was life’s legendary way of cornering on two wheels
as if you were turning a car over like a card you’re peeking under
to see what you’ve got. Seven come eleven. Or snake eyes
on an inoculated starmap. Or a strawberry tart
with fangs like crucifixion nails on your birthday
for a heart. An art. A way of life I couldn’t compare anymore
to what? I always tried to. Then covered up the lies about it
if I were the only professional emergency exit stage left.
Say hi to Joanne for me. She’s the only woman in my life
I feel I owe something to more than I gave her
because I was arrogant and young. Hi, Joanne.
You were my apostate magdalene-madonna and I loved you for it.
You can research the rest in these Burgess Shales
like an old, beer and blood stained photograph of the past.
You must like to suffer or you wouldn’t have recognized me.