If this was goodbye I’d have worn better clothes
14 days of bland complaint, before the biggie,
when everything’s reversed, when a friend is
a stranger you haven’t met and even the wolves
are crying. Today is such a day and I look
to any pretext for collapsing. No one can help me.
Church is out. Christ, with impertinent holiness,
like a charity street-collector. He of the deep-seated
seasonal smugness! His freshman’s face and outspread
arms. I only want to be loved, though, not included.
And anyway, all the saints are Geishas: decorative,
I admire very much the grinning stillness of the dead.
Also, the 1700s, the etiquettes of malady. I like Porphyria,
the shrunken gums, the piss as purple as a Van Gough
sky. I like a largess of disease, those Olde Worlde victims,
rich with thirst…
I am mad in a modern way, sick in a modern way,
my impossible tonsils, sore as devilled kidneys. I am not
some rascally femme, fat as a ship’s cat, kept and shapely
with regret. I have no languid aptitude. I am only dank
and fierce and awfully under the weather. History had such
brides: imported, impeccable, limp; constricted chests
as cool as climate controlled marble. I am blotchy
with a tendency to bloat and dread. My doctor
has forbad lambency of any kind. I hate him: a horrible
smile like drenched gauze…
Give me Hoffman. Give me Paracelsus. Give me Rabelais.
Outside, a sly consensus of stars. Inside, the endless replenishing
frenzy. You fool, it is art. Throw physic, I won’t
give this to you, your ugly quenching quackery; tongue
of a million shrinking names. True, I am more pearl
in the skinning, but you try living without your wits,
without your fur, without everything
that makes you fox. The city would eat me.I am good
at redness, at cunning, not low cunning in its pinched-
in drudge, but cunning as the highest form of flight, cunning
as fancy and risk…
But here they come, now, the mortal cavalry, and I must
bow my head, impounded, pouting, doing as I’m told.
Poems are little deaths, you know, are what I do instead
of death. Don’t make me into some missus mop, some
discontinuous cabbage. He pays sanity out like silk, you know,
enough damn rope to hang yourself.