Dirty Gerty's Hurdy Gurdy


Only the poem knows what's true

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A la Caravaggio

Although the poem, below, is dedicated to Caravaggio (particularly his famous depiction of Medusa's head), it is much more than this. Medusa isn't malicious, here, by means of turning me to stone. She tempers grief. She is, in fact, the flesh against which I re-discover my stone:

For Caravaggio

On a shield your eyes writhe
Like the trestle of snakes
Whose eyes reach out
From your mane.
One would think your disdain,
Your small mouth
And small fangs,
Were fixed on a certain point.

They do not look at me,
So the blood spilling
From your severed head,
Is like a zephyr on the sea.
Skin not yet ashen,
The flesh of an amber peach
Set against green and copper
A storm against a lake.

But the songs of the snake,
Violin Stings
Weaved into your scalp,
Are the busters of a vacant street.
Your eyes sing more to me,
That point on which they’re fixed,
The soul to which my tears affix,
A marble cutter’s Art.

My face is just a loam
For the chalcedony it hides.
When I see your scream,
I want to hide
From the green rain
Acid upon my skin.
But I can’t,
Because it is your mane

And it is the pain of my flesh,
A bloody loam,
That brings me back
To nothing;
For what am I if not
A snakeless head
Eyes already dead,
Already shaped to ashen stone?"

Much can be said of grief and loss. I think the death of my father brought me back to everything. And, sometimes my "grieving" makes me feel as if I am made of stone, if the loam of flesh I wear isn't just that, an alabaster loam? But then I know, that he's part of something exceeding me. Something, I cannot, for the human life of me, color with human shades. Baudelaire knew about this need, for a particular beauty, for artists and whatnot, only found in death, but he also knew that the difference between life and death is as simple as a breath. They are twins. The flesh/stone, stone/loam I speak of in my poem. Separated by something so small, and yet such a Colossus. So perhaps the only task that makes us wise is building dreams of nothing. And thinking we are flesh, when really we are stone.

1 comment:

  1. It really is a beautiful poem, made dark by your grief.. I'm very sorry to hear about your father. It must be a trying time..

    Your writing is exquisite as always..
    You deserve to be widely read.