After: Sofonisba Anguissola, by Anthony Van Dyck
the two dimensional:
The void calls through gossamer veils and widow’s peak;
…………..Peak widows and veils gossamer through calls void.
shifty-eyed now of necessity, I lie; bone-wrapped
…………..Bone-wrapped lie I of necessity. Now, shifty-eyes,
in rosaries, black as my rheumy eyes, death speaks.
…………..speak death, eyes rheumy, mine as black as rosaries,
Uncomforted by silk laid down or velvet, role-trapped
…………..trapped, rolled in velvet or down-laid silk, uncomforted in
corseted, board stiff with age I lie. Calfskin vellum
…………..vellum calfskin, lie I. Aged, on a stiff board, corseted,
like paper peeled, bloodless gutted by the knife of man.
…………..man of knife gutted, by the bloodless, peeled, papered—
The scene is set. I shall not whimper, as do some,
…………..some do but whimper, not I. Shall I set the scene? Are
call to God, or blame the fates of those whose clans
…………..clans who [those of fate] are to blame or God? To call
remain earth-bound; when I have left this mortal glade.
…………..this glade mortal, left have I, with bound-earth remains
Pigment on canvass, linseed loosed, stretched taut, displayed;
…………..displayed: taut, stretched, loosed linseed on canvass, pigment
all of this, I’ve had aplenty, and been royally paid.
…………..paid, royally have been and aplenty. I’ve had this of all,
My life was art. It was art that fanned my life’s flame.
…………..flamed—life’s my fan, that art was it, art was life mine.
So, stretch me on pine boards and lay my edges down,
…………..Down edges, mine laid on boards of pine. Stretch me so,
monochromed in umber, drenched in shades of brown.
…………..brown of shade, in drenched umber, and in monochrome.
After: “Time does not bring relief…”
Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis.
not all have
lied told me
leave bitter, old
memory never fell
*an erasure sonnet
To die:—to sleep: No more; and, by a sleep to say
we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished.
Act III, scene 1 William Shakespeare
Good pacifies and so unrepentant evil writhes
friends and foe alike grow bored with goodness’s bounty,
for curiosity rises, become the bane, undisguised;
Jesus above the throng forgoes life and curiosity.
Sakeless, this man-god rolled back the stone to rise
forebearer of all who face death with open heart
to disturb the dead within their blessed womb’s of earth,
dig not, for the Church’s penance would be harsh.
The turned gravel, the moss, and molted flowers, ever mourn,
dust rains like golden sun upon the pen and marker stone
enclosed are my remains, I’d have them stay for Stratford
here upon the Avon was my families earthly home.
Blessed be the kneeling poets, the actors of the stage
be glad I’ve left a legacy first and foremost for the future;
ye must continue on, relive, entrance, expand the play;
man without his curiosity ‘tis a sleeping fatted boar.
They of lust, and passion, they who heat the hoary storm,
spare no thought for quietude or peace within the grave;
these rabble-rousers would claim part, a finger bone to transform,
stones to novelties, to purloin my place for they’re depraved.
And so, in my wisdom, and in my own curiosity, I laid this
cursed verse upon the headstone of myself, poor Will,
be warned, I’ll not have thee claim fame, I shall dismiss
he who brings a spade, turns a stone, plucks a blade or quill.
Who dares, I say, do anything but pray grave side be a knave,
moves, stir the ether, perhaps rings a heavenly bell, who knows?
My shade may haunt ye at your nightly rest, Be ye brave?
bones, my bones, are just that mine, and not repast ye who crow.
Deborah Guzzi writes full time & travels for inspiration. She has walked the Great Wall of China, seen Nepal (during the civil war), Japan, Egypt (just before ‘The Arab Spring’), Peru, and France during December 2015’s terrorist attacks. Her third book The Hurricane is available through Prolific Press. Her verse appears in Allegro, Artificium, Shooter, & The Foxglove Journal in the UK, Existere, Scarlet Leaf & The Ekphrastic Review in Canada – Tincture, Australia – Cha: Asian Review, China – Eunoia, Singapore – Vine Leaves Journal, Greece – mgv2>publishing, France & Tanka Society of America, pioneertown, Sounding Review, Bacopa Literary Review, Shooter, Aurorean, Liquid Imagination, Tishman Review, Page & Spine, Spank the Carp & others in the USA.
The feral pigs of De Grey River bushwhack Aussie campers, camouflaging themselves as kangaroos. As porcine Crocodile Dundees. They slink through the woody cover and crawl commando-style through open ground to steal the campsite’s cache of beer. Old timers mumble between mouthfuls of vegemite sandwiches that swine raiders have absconded again with the goods. Six-packs of Foster’s, Bluetongue and Pure Blonde saddle-bagged on the backs of the fleeing marauders. A renegade Olde Frothingslosh smuggled into the outback by a Yank with a G.O.P. trust fund kaput. The boars rip through the cans and gnaw off the caps. Guzzle the lager until even the local heifers look like the finest Vietnamese Potbellies in the hop haze. Tourists gather in Land Rovers to watch cows chase the besotted hogs around the campfires and ransacked pup tents. Snockered pigs careen off small children. Squealing off-key porker renditions of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down.” “The Death of Ned Kelly.” The passel vanishes into the brush when bush rangers arrive with their hunting rifles. The aborigine guides with their boomerangs. An alpha boar pauses before vanishing into the wilderness, its eyes reddened with the fug of an eighteen-beer hangover. Belching defiance at the last cow standing.
Hopper, I’m not another Hickok with an obituary of aces and eights. I’ve perched on this Naugahyde stool and read my horoscope in sugar packets since Methuselah undertook his nine centuries of celibacy. In the steam rising from Jake’s sad-sack coffee, I confront the shape-shifting caricatures of my solitude. A Hoosier rebel hell-bent on a “chickee run” fades into a fat buffoon named Homer who airs his butt-crack cleavage as he gorges on jelly donuts. Then Batman sobs through the mounting toll of his losses. If I ask, Jake will shuffle his glossy photos of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and deal a cel from Bull-oney or Monkey Wretches. But when he expounds upon the geography of phrenology, I turn to “Suit” in the corner seat and his red herring orations regarding John Wesley Hardin’s sojourn among the Lost Tribes. Time yawns on the empty boulevard behind us. I sip Jake’s heartbreak brew, feeling the moon of the vacant tenements lowering over my shoulder. “Suit” has no daguerreotypes of a son or daughter. No portrait of his wife. But he caresses a fading photograph of the Dalton gang’s final sleep in Coffeyville. Beside him “Red” waits for a telegram from Ambrose Bierce. Or a coded message from Judge Joe Crater. I offer our group no skeleton key or threshold. No exits. We are cul-de-sac nomads reduced to fluorescence and stale cullers. We ask for one last card and hope the slither of steel and leather behind us is a .45 clearing its holster.
You open the door to find kittens in pajamas playing tug-of-war with a thread. A masked fish gulps for breath on a blue mat. You think this is the wrong room but onions and Christmas bulbs blow bubbles of Scherherazade smoke. Or is this an illusion cast by the wasp in the jack-o’lantern box who may or not be a ventriloquist? The genie lamp on the opposite wall floats too high for you to reach. It bounces on a spring and spouts small guitars which play Blue Moon with notes written upside down. An older guitar has grown feet, a pale giraffe neck and a yin-yang face. You have a question for the pregnant cue stick but the Cyclops eye speaks to you of unicycles. Are those angels floating toward the ceiling in this bright room with a dark star in its sky or are they mermaids swimming in an ether of floating hands? The fuses on cherry bombs fizz but never explode. The kittens chew their thread into knots. A male cue stick leans toward the pregnant one who has sprouted a red ear which conceals a jaundiced spy. You have forgotten why you opened this door. What your intentions were when you crossed into this carnival. If you go downstairs, your lover will remind you about the pepper between the cone and the firecracker. Your Hawaiian escolar is getting cold.