Vanity seeps through our skins like the ocean,
you lick us, and swallow the salt,
our hearts lie abandoned, exposed for the taking,
though they’re barren of love, by default.
Maybe there’s some kind of voodoo inside them,
you pierce them with pins to find out,
your sense of direction betrays your emotions,
but it’s better than living in doubt.
Your journey begins with a map to the future,
it ends with a knock on the door,
you cling to the past, but your body betrays you,
and your slower than ever before.
You talk about nothing for hours and hours,
you sound like the rain on the roof,
you said there was someone inventing the darkness,
turning to science for proof.
Ebony flowers bloom once before dying,
their seeds need the rain to survive,
you puncture the clouds with a fork from the kitchen,
it’s the wanting that keeps you alive.
Frogs sing their songs of forbidden desires,
their lives are unbearably long,
they keep putting objects of primitive beauty
in places they just don’t belong.
God’s not afraid of the devil’s creations,
he’s older and wiser than that,
he lives in a world where starvation is rampant,
and only the vultures get fat.
Trees shed their bark and bed down for the winter,
their dreams are beginning to cool,
they swell from the heat of the earth’s outer mantle,
though they’re bitter and hard, as a rule.
We follow your scent through the cities abandoned,
we’ve eaten the bones of the dead,
we’re puzzled by you, and the glittering crimson tiara
you wear on your head.
Your footprints betray you by lines of momentum,
your blood is a kind of perfume,
you live in a house at the end of the earth,
in the world’s least affordable room.
If red is your colour, then why do you glitter
like diamonds are all that you own?
you’re sad, despite every advantage of money and fame,
but you’re never alone.
Maybe it’s that, that defines your direction,
you want to leave sorrow behind,
you’re masked in indifference, like so many others,
it’s the heart’s molten core’s that’s confined.
Love’s a delusion you make out of silence,
you lie to yourself, and move on,
you follow the moon to the house of the dead,
but the objects inside it are gone.
Echoes remain as a kind of memento,
they vanish the moment you speak,
the walls are obsessed with their own isolation,
it’s the hour’s completion you seek.
Paint peels like skin from the walls and the ceiling,
your hands leave their mark on the air,
you look in the mirror to see your reflection,
but there’s nothing but suffering there.
Your heart is a bloody confusion of muscle,
it doesn’t reveal its intent,
you followed the scent of the animal seeking the water,
wherever it went.
Beauty repels you, despite your predictions,
we know how confusing that is,
god says the souls of the faces that no one remembers,
are satan’s and his.
The watchers are coming, we feel them behind us,
they’re drawn to the dust on your shoes,
you calculate time with a slow cosmological hand,
but there’s no time to lose.
The difference between us is too small to measure,
your movements are very precise,
you rattle along, counting every decision to practice
your instrument, twice.
God loves a man with a handlebar mustache,
the devil loves nothing but beer,
you muddied the past with your veiled accusations,
but the future is perfectly clear.
Chaos continues to shape our opinions,
we’re bored for a reason, I guess,
despite your objections, the moral dilemma
has never been yours to confess.
God slips his arm through the devil’s, and yodels,
they magnify everything small,
they bet on the man with the best chance to howl the moon,
and the winner takes all.
Something prevents you from leaving Las Vegas,
the streets are consumed by the night,
your pupils constrict in the usual fashion,
but your heart needs the visible light.
You stand in the rain with a leaky umbrella,
you’re certain of nothing but pain,
you calculate odds from the devil’s perspective,
‘til nothing but zeros remain.
‘Walk’, I said, counting the minutes remaining,
you stand with your back to the door,
you’re more like the god of divine intervention,
and satan, than ever before.
Everything ends with an act of subversion,
and everything starts with a bang,
the man with the hammer built some kind of tower,
then slept, as the skeletons sang.
‘Dream’, I said, lying asleep in my coffin,
the dead dream of cities of gold,
the moon gilds your face with the radiant light of the sun,
so you’ll never grow old.
You think you’re an embryo floating in water,
then death bursts your bubble and weeps,
somewhere, a man with a ladder, lays down
on a pincushion mattress, and sleeps.
Beauty consumes every bone in your body,
you’re clearly inventing the truth,
you sit at the end of the bar with the devil,
recounting the sorrows of youth.
Nine shades of indigo fade in the moonlight,
the world is chaotic at best,
you watch as the devil releases a single white dove,
and dismembers the rest.
Your center of gravity shifts when you’re floating,
the moon bobs you up like a cork,
the man with the ladder climbs down from the clouds,
with a serpent impaled on a fork.
September 29 2015
This painting is from a photograph of George Ohr, "the mad potter of Biloxi". I wrote the line, "god loves a man with a handlebar mustache", and then went looking for a good image to represent that. This is the best one I saw.