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from The Mad Song

By
January 11, 2008

 

          Of Bedlam in its prairie pride. Of the roach that winds between the stars, triumphal. Of well-water served in garnet goblets. Of crusted penknife sitting on the pillow in the crib. Of the foxy light July bestows. Of tightwad peace and spendthrift war. Of the ousted governor’s children, especially his eldest, and the way she swings her hips. Of notorious arts and how they make hoi polloi drunk. Of lauren-blue drifts and plumes. Of your vulcanized scent. Of nightly the oceanic barb I must remove from my heart. Of the bison and the owl. Of a country boy, not easy to know.

                                                                                                    ~

          I’ll recruit my army from the oldest religion. They in their carnival will be our liberty. O, but choir, but gas, but nail, and politician will not have it done. I’ll eat out your eyes before sun-up. I’ll declare the rooftops tarry and tally-ho the National Guard. The eyes of desire are slow fixed upon you. My throng rumbles blacker than theirs. And will be the fountain and the spring. What conference we hold with the heavenly tender. The heart is never wrong, though often mistaken. Don’t wait for night to fall, lover. Our campaign has yet to begin. Come find me in the fields with the Atlas of Pan.

                                                                                                    ~

          Had the bonfire not been there. Had the day been longer to whittle. Or had you danced that way with me alone. Every love is a losing cause. But had the night moved us closer. And the reputation of men is cowardice. If I had been a woman like you.

                                                                                                    ~

          Of the coming rain. Of better hostilities toward incivility. Of a dusting broom. Of milk cows gone mad. Of fiery cities, fiery highways, leading to the doorway of more fire, endless fire. Of innumerable enumerations.

                                                                                                    ~

          My mother, when I was young, said many things. I can’t recall them but in love. If I were to say love to you would you recall me? Would you mark me as a man who loved even a little? I’ve destroyed much I hold dear. Into these clumsy, rampant hands you have fallen. I will try and not destroy you but with fire. Let us go, with speed or slow, northward to that warmer world. And find the cabin where I once believed. And cozy ourselves for a better part. Wheel, then, my goddamn car to the fallen pines. Let it rust there for the next century. And the one after.

                                                                                                    ~

          My mother, when I was young, said many things. I can’t recall them but in love. If I were to say love to you would you recall me? Would you mark me as a man who loved even a little? I’ve destroyed much I hold dear. Into these clumsy, rampant hands you have fallen. I will try and not destroy you but with fire. Let us go, with speed or slow, northward to that warmer world. And find the cabin where I once believed. And cozy ourselves for a better part. Wheel, then, my goddamn car to the fallen pines. Let it rust there for the next century. And the one after.

 

Michael Schiavo‘s poetry and nonfiction has appeared in The Yale Review, Tin House, Seneca Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Believer, LIT, The Hat, 1913: A Journal of Forms, and Forklift, Ohio among other publications. He is a contributing editor to CUE and an editor of Tight .

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