Death of a Romantic
for Kurt Brown
Soul is the first to go,
followed by Love, Longing, Desire.
The moon is untethered,
sunset mashed under a boot heel,
all rainbows bled, constellations crushed.
Forget the firefly, dragonfly, butterfly, moth.
Singe the ladybug’s wings, pluck the bluebird clean.
Uproot twining roses, jasmine, willows that weep.
No alabaster or alpenglow,
nymph pink, madder lake, Wedgewood blue.
While you’re at it, 86 the ballads of Berlin,
Gershwin and Kern, the Late Show,
flowered china, French perfume.
Day rolls into night, unquestioned.
There is Fire, Air, Water, Earth.
And Truth, perfect and terrible,
cut in a mirror which is no longer a looking glass,
swallowed whole down my throat
which is not a golden flute.
* * *
Love Poem to my Chiropractor
Bless you for bowing to these bones,
this mazy staircase unstrung by time,
a child on each hip. Now this bank of bones
sways, a crazed pendulum.
Bless the heels of your hands that knead each swale,
fingers that kiss each crest, each relic hollow.
Beguiler of this gimcracked column.
Charmer who mends this whittled pillar.
Who tends me like this? Rends me
fluid as a girl in arabesque? Rig me,
lull the muffled throb, render me lithe,
restore adagio, glissade and glide.
Unlashed, I stretch on your table
then rise, ductile a gold.
Bless you for your hallowed hands.
Who else loves me to the marrow?
* * *
And what if there is no God? No
homunculus with a shock stick
sparking each neuron?
What if dead is dead
and all the prayers you ever huffed up to heaven
only whittled your backbone to wishbone?
Yellow would still be yellow
and by the time you finish this sentence
50,000 cells would still fizzle out.
Shrug. Then muster.
Drop a dime in the meter.
Your feet flex. Your lungs pump
though the left will always
be smaller than the right
to make room for the heart.