SYMPATHY FROM THE DEVIL
When you laugh at Satan, the Lord laughs also. But Satan does not laugh
when you laugh at your own apish posture in the mirror. He has an antelope
look in his eyes. He doesn’t love the way you don’t love the gaunt stalker
entering and exiting the community college, the snow-mustached sedan
with the conscious math of a man counting every step till April. I wish she’d died
for what she did to you, he whispers when we are uptown for brunch.
There’s a moon so massive that if you saw it you’d die instantly, he says.
I’m not especially convinced, but it’s not totally critical. When you deny
Satan it’s not like confetti falls or heralding trumpets sound. You go on
relishing your Cobb salad on the promenade. I’ve never wanted to be an alien
more than that moment, to waltz around on that iron and nickel orb. No one
would collect my mail, except Satan who would need to be blindfolded
to bring it by. You’ve been away from the world too long, he says.
I know a girl. But I’m lost on the moon already, where you can never
say the same thing twice. No one can look in the mirror or speak above a whisper.
Not even light can touch you.
ON MEINDERT’S NATURE WHICH SWALLOWS ALL RELICS
Try as I might, I can’t escape Melbourne. But in the National Gallery
I lose myself in your thicket, Meindert. Virile limbs blot out secrets
with burnet tusks. The vastness of your idea swallows its inhabitants
the way a boot swallows a whole ankle then spits it up again.
Nine months earlier, Nina unbuckled her boots, slipped off tights
and emptied herself onto the bed beside me. In my apartment
we stared at woodcuts of the apocalypse the next day
and the one after that. I can’t hike outside that moment, can’t board a plane
for the present—which may lie just beyond your brushstrokes.
Your pond which swallows me, the suffering of the old masters
cascading the walls. It’s cold under your blanket of flotsam and sky.
Smoke signals can be seen. I think it’s impossible to remain alive
without idolizing beauty even a little. Even if there comes a day you can’t
even detect the smell of gas on your own fingertips. Like in “Love Liza”
where a suicide note burns down a house and takes a life in shambles
along with it. Yours is the metaphorical darkness we must acknowledge
at some point. The darkness which pushes the sun and shuts the doors
to the museum, the darkness which has somewhere to get to and sails calmly on.