poems / stories

Remembering

poe

You entered our lives like a gigue and departed
Just as quick, the echoes sounding
Naked rooms: where you’d meet us, bounding
To the door to greet us; broken-hearted,
I recall you, Poe, as a warm, soft weight,
In nighttime rounds across the bed;
“The happiest cat in the world,” I’d said,
A flimsy glove tossed at the foot of fate.
For too bright you burned and now, an afterimage,
You’ve astonished us with grief and rage;
So tender me this final privilege:
Inscribe my heart as words upon the page.

Song of (de)liberation

The dream of every cell is to become two cells.
—François Jacob

O eyes, I gouge you blind
O ears, I prick your resonate drums with rusty needles
O nose, I plug your oozy channels with pitch and gum
O tongue, I scrape the buds from off your soggy back
And you, exasperating nerves:
I deaden you with mercury, arsenic & lead

And so with sightless eyes
And soundless ears
And scentless nose
And tasteless tongue
I direct my anesthetized gaze out at the world:

Savouring the spastic sputterings
Spewed forth by these most senseless of receptors

And to bring my purposelessness to a close
I will engage an accomplice
(Whom I’ve instructed earlier)
To sever my genitals, balls and all

Dispassionate fate, I throw down the gauntlet:
Explain this sorry wad of flesh, blood, fat & bone!
Explain the one who snubs the hypocrisy of your mechanical imperative!

Of Pope and his couplets:

“Fitting, for a man of his stature.”

and yet he wrote not in the fleeting half-aborted stiches
favoured by those now touched by blind Poesy’s bankrupt hand
which echo on the page like a stone cast down a steel-walled well

no he wrote instead in a cadence fit for Kings and Gods
and what’s more his Rape was seven-hundred and ninety-four lines long

(trust me i’ve counted)

but fearing the cruel irony of Cassandra’s curse
he dressed his Prophecies in the habits of the mundane
just as the would-be bards of today
dress the mundane in the garb of prophecy

(denude me of these puffed-up lines
and there’d be nary a mote left)

All He Robbed

For Harryette Mullen

Follow me, I’m no God at this. I can’t write black. I’m overbred, you’re better. I can’t say I sought your tone. I haven’t the length to pen the trope. Stale is more than enough for this boor. Your bandstand is ineffable. Your coastguards were beheaded. Your pet bear is sloshed. You’ve lent me many a documentary, but they’ve yet to teach me anything. The service delivered but I’ve never had my package tied. I regret to say I’m unable to recognize your unpossessed empires. I didn’t catch the look you bent. Anyway, my commuter has stalled. Now I’m unable to pass turds. I’m buffer than Anastasia. I’ve just turned key-lime into diarrhea. Don’t you get a kick out of my yacht? Which hell do men die? I forgot what I was going to pay. I still can’t find a pan that wrecks and then I shake my pen still. You know what a farce rape is these days. I admit I haven’t been riding my unicycle. Time never seems to have time for what I need. I’m all out of slippery bogs to put the cold pews in. I didn’t get the memorial. I want to lick the bonbons. I’ve never had a pale tit. I couldn’t get the sickly door to work, so I called. I went from A to Z with a witty scamp. If I could only get back to waiting, then I’d catch the easy train. When Ra oped mine eyes I got on famously like an unplugged brook.