The Story of Phaeton
The Vulcan death grip
was a myth, but somebody
had to have the nerve to sit pondering
the dark & decide to knock you
cold. Refulgence, effulgence, stick
a spike in me: I’m done. I’ve been starstruck,
yes, but only when dazzled
by the little fish that swam in the wake
of the scorpion’s whirl. What to do
when the allergic reaction gets worse
despite the Epipen, throat closing around
the morsel of tenderness?
I remember my daddy’s big bright car;
the trunk in particular where I’d make
my bed of a summer night
with a soup bone to gnaw on.
I had no bootstraps because I had no boots.
Tough love turns tender
when cooked at low heat for 50 odd years.
The connective tissue falls away
like the pinions of the infernal legion.
The mind is its own place
& can make a heaven of hell, but
when your locked in
your own brain it can be easy to forget
that it’s bigger on the inside
& full of dull dreams
like a Greyhound bus.
When I was a child, I wanted to die
in space like a supernova
or a wounded angel--their vacuum
eyes slurping up
the available light like a golden strand
of ramen. Lift the veil
to find there’s only two eyeballs
on stalks & a squawking
drive-in speaker hanging
from its broken neck
beside a beige Dodge
Dart. Forky beheld
my flaming hair
as I fell.
Phaeton’s Sisters Transform’d into Trees
Study your Latin even though the exam
is cancelled. Catalog the dragonflies
& daffodils. Pull up your own roots
then whittle them down until they’re useful
as a toothpick, charming as a barking
dog. When Big Government sends you some money,
it’s time to build a guillotine or at least
make memes about it. Karl Marx
stares at Julie Christie’s ass while Chicago burns
again on the horizon like the cherry
of a Galoise back when smoking
would kill you & not going to the store
for a quart of milk.