have you heard the night rants of the Iowa bard?

bones from fairy tales, and borrowed skin, 100 words from the godmother for finery.  I’m ready for the ball, and by my count I have them all.*

have you heard the night rants of the Iowa bard?

with his gaze filled with gin and a chocolate nape
he fell in a dust pit as grubby as drudgery;
his maquillage smudged, his silk flecked with fruit juice and fig
he rose, oh he rose, primavera again
with a glow and a song and the lilt of the stars

the young buds were a green mist
against white distant sky
when he left the snow road, never to see
tattered gray jonquils lighten gold with the dawn.
they say he followed the rumbling bells
down, downfall and down beyond three magic doors,
and found fetid breaths of an icy tomb.
there beneath blushes of crystal roses, lovers like marble
trilled with moist laughter over torn still-live prey.
in crimson and carmine and coral and rust
they danced for a year in the heart of the hill.
for the red balls
the costume is blood.

the cherries were red gloss and warm in the sun,
alluring as love or the beauty of fire
when he gambled on seeing the world as it was,
woke to the damage and cried for escape.
he followed his heart to the surface
through a door of jet with a latch of glass
through an ocean door with a stormkiss clasp
past the choir of swans, past the sparrow the logs and sheep
to the desperate market gate.
for the barding,
the costume’s no frisson of fear.

the butterflies were a cloud of light
across the baked bloom of long tapered branches
when he found the highway he lost in the snowdrifts
switched for black tar, hot to his touch, cutting
mounds of goldenrod studded with wilted ironweed.
he followed the road past the school and the church
and the plant where the farmers turned gold into oil
urgent as thirsting, ardent as hunger.
for the homecoming
the costume is joy over panic.

the town seemed no more than a frieze in the dusk,
a polite lunch, a cool good-bye kiss, un-amazing;
life on earth was a dull stuff, modulated to trickling
the cool pallid stars turned to paste diamantes
the moon’s silver flash was a pap and a snap and a hoax.
he begged to take back that one throw of the dice,
to close his eyes willing away the dank pot of truth
but no one returns to the underground chambers,
though they still dream the wafts of a delicate trill.
morning brings nothing where memory was
for bitter regret
has no costume at all.

have you heard the night rants of the Iowa bard?
he rose, oh he rose, primavera again
with a glow and a song and the lilt of the stars
and he’s mad as the river in flood.


Posted on 2010/10/15, in poetry, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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