2016 10 27
Cold rain drizzles down thin walls of red brick,
forming dark pools on city asphalt streets
that mirror rusting undersides of cars
which glide nowhere, splashing raindrops on wings
of two angels in leather and blue jeans.
Jasper and Nicholas slouch against trees,
smoking cigarettes they flick onto grass,
then walk away from ivy college hall
where they are late for astronomy class.
Jasper stares past veil of shimmering rain.
"I am always the nameless character
in a grainy black and white movie filmed
by the now-famous director, who lost
his wife and children in car accidents,
when he was an ambitious unknown auteur
who slept on couches of friends in Seattle
way back in the innocent nineteen-nineties."
Nicholas glances sideways at his face
that flickers ghostly in the smudged glass door
of a pharmacy where people buy snacks.
"Now we must pretend that we do not care
that we will be famous poets someday
while we record details of everything
we do and say so our biographers
will not speculate about our love lives.
We are ghosts still drifting through the Waste Land
that Thomas Eliot mapped with grim words
one hundred years ago after world war
destroyed the cathedral of faith in God."
Jasper, wearing a Gryffindor tee-shirt,
and the black beret of Paris street mimes,
holds before his face a hand mirror frame
of splintered wood, without its looking glass,
and smiles like the Joker at passing girls.
"You play Batman because I play the Joker.
I wake up every day without a self,
feeling just like the empty plastic shell
of a Barbie Doll, so I must construct
a more authentic self to play on stage
of this crazy world shattered by new wars
so after I die sixty years from now
some actor who resembles Leonardo
can play my role with eccentric disdain
in the movie of our lives that will show
how we broke free from stale social conventions
and attained sainthood with true wizard powers
symbolized by statues that freeze our fame
in the ivory tower where gods are beheaded.
I am the Headless Horseman of Poetry,
chasing down the precious poets who write
meaningless coded spells blanked by white space,
the laughing Jack O Lantern of New York
who shows up at libraries and cafes
to disrupt pretentious poetry readings
by gibbering nonsense they all applaud,
the mocking jester with three burning eyes
of existential metamodernism
who plays chess with both the Devil and Death
to free blind children of America
from their black and white television world
where Beaver grows up to play Daffy Trump
who fools the dumb rednecks of Dixieland
to vote for him as tyrant of Wall Street.
I wear the mask of jungle monster gods
carved by Picasso from the skulls of kings,
then ride the roaring Griffin of desire
high over towers of steel and glass that shine
with blinking lights of servers that network
world wide web of computers powered by brains
ruled over by the blind Sun Spider Goddess
who sees all with fourteen billion eyes
and dreams the history of our spinning world
that hurls nowhere fast through vast empty space
as we spiral around unconscious sun
that laughs indifferent to our petty lives.
I am the King of Nothing who rules all
so bow before the flashing neon sign
that preserves the false prophecies of fools."
Nicholas holds up his hands while he rants,
pretending to preserve his speech on film.
"Your words dissolve in early morning rain,
heard by no one but the mute birds and me,
and nothing but my brain recorded clear
the vision of your antic prophecy,
so when I die all memory of you
will vanish to nothing so your true self
is a frail flame that consumes dark despair
and flickers mute in vast eternity."
Jasper stops before Burger King and laughs.
"Time to eat so we live another day."