INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
from HOMAGE TO EDGAR LEE MASTERS
a work in progress
WHEN ALIVE I WORE
A WILD BOAR HAIR SHIRT
When alive, when I could feel the scratch
Of my wild boar hair shirt,
My stool wobbled,
As I scribbled, I, a scribe
Copying the Gospels,
To confound the future.
This is my recollection.
In nine months I had made 9 inexact copies,
Nine inexact copies, deliberately.
I felt my power, the robust breathing
Of my stifled strengths, for in the certosa
There would be conflicts
From arguments over the right interpretation.
In the future, age after age, sword and then
Cannon will rip off the arms of men,
To persuade with war
Would be said to be the true word of God
And must be obeyed.
Later on in the writings of Thomas Hobbes,
And in the spite of Fyodor Dostoevsky's
My motivation and human type
Will be understood.
The ignorant fools around me
Attribute in this 12th century
Evil to that lie, original sin,
Or that lie, the existence of a Devil
Derived from the message-boy, Satan,
But these fools are too deluded
To observe that evil is intrinsic to human nature
And one of human nature's joys.
Four centuries later on the stage will be observed
The hilarity and joy of the evil Iago.
So my evil it is subsumed by such lies as my
Selling my soul
To Mephistopheles, a lie
Believed by the naive and ignorant who had blind faith
That there was a heaven and a hell,
And from this heaven an ambitious Lucifer fell.
Many centuries later Thomas Henry Huxley
My reaction to the prevalent popular belief
Of My Medieval century, my 12th
Century in Paris, as "agnostic."
When alive, shadows on sundials
The mobility and the quiver of the thin, leaning
Forecast this skull and bones
That now are my possessions.
When alive, alive among the living dead of my time,
I strolled on balconies in my Augustinian white robes
Throwing down yellow and red grains of corn
Toward those arrow-headed roosters' red combs.
Then for solitude from the fools, the chanting monks,
I would go into my white-wall cells,
Walls white and blank except for one fresco
Of Fra Angelico, a yellow-haired blonde
Given finches' wings to promulgate
The lie she was an angel.
I know all the lies written about angels
And their orders from reading
The Fourth Century best seller,
The Celestial Hierarchy.
Angelico's angel wore a flat pastel pink dress,
In her earthly fresco visitation,
Her sojourn in this sublunary realm,
Her apparent body had lost its contours.
I would watch with lust
The flicker of red wine on the white wall,
Its quivering curves,
And watch the flicker of red wine
On her flatness.
Now, this girl, a supposed angel,
Who was frescoed on my white wall,
Appropriated apparitional flesh,
A hyper-reality, that simulated the real thing.
Tightening the apparitional flesh
On her apparitional leg,
Into my cell, bare except for a straw mat.
But over her painted blonde curls
A straight-haired red wig
And had absinthe eyes.
She had leaped from the old wall,
Walked over to touch me,
A dwarf drunk from Armagnac,
Sprawled on a straw mat.
Now, bones, I think of this event,
I think, now that I cannot think,
And cannot be touched,
As I now reside in whatever
This residence is, this eternal
That is without coloration,
Has neither darkness or light.
But she even now walks
Towards me on a path of stones,
Although there are no stones,
Stones awaken when she walks,
Stones send out Liebnitz's petite perceptions,
Create the lie, the illusion of harmony
In this unharmonious, neutral, indifferent world.
I have heard, perhaps, I was not the Trojan,
But another Troilus with an insane sister
Fighting a war over a Helen who according
To Euripides was an apparition and illusion,
A phantom who was in Egypt, not Tory,
And she never deserted Menelaus for Paris.
Helen was as faithful as Penelope,
But Helen did not need embroidery.
The Miss Athens beauty contest staged
In a sylvan Grecian forest was another human lie.
Perhaps, I was another Troilus,
For down on my knees, a drunk dwarf, I saw
Through a keyhole, my Cressid,
Black stocking, in a red straight-haired wig,
Ajax, Diomed, Achilles, Diomed,
Partroclus, Diomed, Agamemnon,
Menelaus, Diomed, Ulysses,
Duane Locke, Lakeland, Florida
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