Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Poem: Marcello's Lament

From the book Interplay: Finding the Keys to Creativity


“The story is the ballet.
Otherwise, it would all
just be a bunch of steps.”
      --Karen Gabay, ballerina

Marcello’s Lament

Starving baritone finds the stone on a
black sand beach covered in driftwood

(If I said the wood was white as bones
I would be giving it away.)

He kneels on the sand where the
ocean comes through the rocks
and reaches into the ribs of a burnt-out cello
plowing a pyramid of blackened
chars until he fingers the edges of its
mineral heart and
pulls it into the sun.

(If I said it was as red as Betelgeuse
I would be lying.)

The stone is a jealous stone
it takes away his lovers
takes away his sleep
leaves his pockets thin and sallow

She is Musetta
the woman you cannot have
but if you hold her to your ear she will
sing you bright waltzes and
turn her lollipop eyes at you across the café.

But the song and the glance are not enough,
so Marcello takes the stone and grinds it up,
spreads it across his Sunday salad

(If I said the dressing was
Roquefort I would be saying too much.)

The fragments trunkle their way through his
veins and gather at the aorta,
pressing northward to make his heart skip
on nights when Artemis falls awry and
mountainside lanterns burst like
meteors through the Paris streets.

Years after Mimi’s last breath
he comes back to the sea to bare his
skin to the inkwell sky and
wait for Orion’s belt to burn him down,
leaving a coal as red as Betelgeuse
for the timpani waves to steam away.           

First published in Eclectic Literary Forum

Photo by MJV

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