Friday, May 12, 2017

The Bassoon Player on the Isle of the Dead [after Arnold Böcklin]

She's much too elegant to be playing
such a clumsy instrument, its sound
so comically mournful. The landscape is vast
and cluttered, not one thing claiming the right
to be the focal point over any other thing.
Piles of debris, stones, beautiful women
and men in business suits staring vapidly
into the distance. Someone politely jumps into
the cold black water. Someone runs, then stops.
But mostly they just stand there for a while before
picking their careful way across the steep, rocky bluffs,
around the clumps of woolly scrub.
The shaggy cypresses stand, ominous sentinels
between the knees of the bluffs. I tried to swallow
myself whole and now I'm choking. I only sleep
when I don't want to, the rest of the time I'm lost
in a dopey haze. Hitler once owned this painting,
you know. Die Toteninsel. How does that affect
its already rather bleak beauty? And then fucking
Rachmaninoff digs his nails into it and writes
this maudlin piece of...

She purses her dark, lovely lips around
the delicate reed of her unwieldy woodwind,
its deep vibrations booming like a splintery laser
out of the maelstrom of the orchestra
directly to where I sit in the mezzanine,
speaking only to me, saying Let's fall apart 
in style, my darling, disintegrate in one another's arms
Let's throw open the doors to this maggot motel,
assure them that there's plenty of vacancy.
Let's serve our last dwindling crumbs of consciousness
to the crows, buffet style.

Your dirge has stolen my heart, my love.
You keep playing while I book us a trip
on Charon Luxury Cruises. According to
the website, the ship hits no less than thirteen scenic
Isles of the Dead, where the leprous natives come
running from their dilapidated huts to greet you,
scorched skeletons on bone-white beaches,
throwing garlands of intestines around your neck,
spitting rotten teeth and screaming Aloha.

No comments:

Post a Comment