"Like blood bathing me, like Angel's lips,
Like Felicia's; like little mites scour,
Scrape my brain skin -- I smell mint when they stop . . .
Like there's this ground bone-marrow like powder
And somehow I snort it in like coke, and I'm laved
In perfume, like holy water, like . . . like a ghost
Pomponing cunt and cock, if not for a loved
Heart, feels nothing -- I saw that in these lost
Visions after I hit the cool concrete . . . toked-
On like a joint my soul seems sucked-out
Into a teary bead, like when that joke
Of a teacher showed how a sperm dances about
An egg. . . I want, so badly, my life back --
It's like cigarettes burning regret into heartbreak. . ."
In this next poem, Moonlight gives an interview to the narrator of the sequence, Uncle Caterpillar. He is considered a sort of revolutionary hero to those who are oppressed by the evil Duchess of Moisture, the antagonist of this world. In this interview, however, Moonlight comes clean. Enjoy:
On the Origins of Rainbows: Where Moonlight Grants Me an Interview
"Inspired the fireflies, that's what they say, when the war
Started -- and that I raised tides to the barricades;
That the Duchess came, that meteors raged and whirled
From the star swales of my eyes; that barracudas
Of moisture attacked and the winds of galaxies
Surged through my cloudless hair; that I led the brunt
Of the beaten moth armies -- all good as lies.
What is true: when the battles began, I hid in a burnt-
Out snake lair, grew small as a sliver; yes,
I was caught, then escaped far away; I've sent postcards
To show that. And I loved and still bless the Princess
Waterfall; I gave her the rainbow that guards
Her. I'm tired now. Under the crackling leaves
I'm a shadow's shadow. The others? Let them believe. . ."
Meanwhile, Monkey Boy, after describing his moment of death to us, is now enrolled in a sort of training school for angels. As one who died by suicide, his angelic mission is to give comfort to those still alive who may be contemplating this act or have already unsuccessfully tried it. In the next poem, he tells what his training experience has been like. As with his last poem, this next one is in his voice.
Graduation Ceremony: Monkey Boy, in Heaven now,
Learns to be an Angel
". . .Like they give me wings as red as my cuts,
And icy, like they give to penitents; like on the dusty field
Near those hills, where I trained in their Quonset huts,
I'm flying; when the windsock is unfurled,
Stiffened by winds of the weeping, I'm gone; like I sweep
Down spiraling to the suicides' salt anger;
Like in their sobbing wards I'm diving like a shrike
Into their wounds; outside, the Duchess of Moisture, after
More, with her dizzying, freezing rains
And her worms and toads, attacks through the mist --
Fuck it; like I'm kissing the cut wrists and the burns
On the suicides' arms; like I'm giving them blood as kissed
As Christ's; like I'm bending over their shut eyes,
And I'm whispering, like in dreams; like they hear me. . ."
And the last poem of this voice card is the companion to a poem that appears in the first section of THE BODY BESTIARY, a poem that must have appeared in Archipelago in 1988 or 1989, I suppose. That poem is entitled "The Voices I Hear Frog Hear: How, in the Season's first Snowfall, Frog Came to Leave His Pond in Quest of the Sea." In the companion poem below, Frog has made it to the sea, where Turtle overhears what he says. Though it's in the voice of a frog, I see this poem as a love poem (which is appropriate, perhaps, as I'm writing this card --- yes, John, I know, it's late! -- around Valentine's Day). Enjoy:
The Tapestry of Hesitation: Where Turtle Overhears What Frog Says When, His Quest Ended, He Reaches the Sea and Begins to Trudge Back Home
"' Moist from the weeping in my bones, and so
Ever more like the sea, mourning the sea's
Shored caesura sliding away, this I know:
That if I could make the sea lie still and touch me
I would; why then do I think back to you,
My love, in our pond bottomed bed of mud and loam?
Ocean of oceans! In your inundating blue-
Sea dreams of water, could I be more alone
Than here, where bird songs in the wind-gnarled trees bent
Seaward lift beyond me, where the ocean melts
In runneled light and clouds smudged yellow with sunsets?
I want to drown where quivering, passionate love is felt,
Back, in the loin swells of your hips, the becalmed
Bay behind us, where I become lost in you, where I became. . . '"