Poem: Listen to man’s lament

Listen to man’s lament


Deirdre Maultsaid

//I never loved you.
Your epaulettes flapped, your wig and peerage slipped;
your jealousy was black oil in your bilge.
You had (who was that figure at the prow, that noseless rosewood lady?)
See, I forgot what the medals meant,
your piracy.

You promised: you and your Viking sister in your Black Beauty Daytons
would kick the lip gloss right off my enemies.

But my spine was candy; me you ate;

the wrapper you let fall behind your heels as you ran on,
your black boots scalding the rain.
Oh, how I did not love you.

I never loved you as soon as you claimed to be Jesus
sitting at a booth with your late night bacon.
Over the noxious orange carpet
here comes the waitress
who offers the strength of white cup, sugar cube.

Not you, whosoever saves the ordinary saves the world and scalds us
on Her Lady path to holiness.

You nailed your foot to the floor, spun your delusions, snarled feral.

I will not fetch a crowbar; do not touch me.
Use your sporran; use your glistening beard.

You brought only boiled eggs and two tomatoes to such a luncheon
while behind my back, against my forehead
you bandied about soccer, the houri of the world.
How you would proclaim in tawdry philosophy: “no answer; no question.”

Your own forehead windburned taut with your poor means.

There are Taureg who build summer homes in Malaga
and hide there at night in the bones although this is not life.
Sands shake over the jades by the side of the road
fly over the stacks of red tiles, hissing.

You kept sand in your hands
against this time and place, how I did not love you and it was raining,
the grains of your thoughts drifting and scattering, your cheek a hollowed dune.

Even though there is so much danger in not loving,
I never loved you.
Christmas morning cold you threw down my gift and stomped on it.

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie
not a dainty dish to set before the king.

I looked for another garland, a (butterscotch) pie, something smoochable, a new mind.
I needed a parade, a Christmas tree mind,
a tree full of birds
all white cockatiels saying only my name,
my holy untouchable belov-ed
my real white wing-ed name: “Motherland.”


Lawrence Alma-Tadema [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lawrence Alma-Tadema [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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