(The following doesn't promote anti-abortion sentiments
but protests orthodox Christianity's 'abortion' of a legend about Yeshua's marriage to / child
by Mary Magdalene while commemorating statues of The Black Madonna)
I had an affair with the Virgin Mary
and left her that way,
legs crossed - emblematic of a killing tree -
haunting our footsteps into the shadows
guarding The Palace of Dreams,
her hands reaching for the fabric, the texture of dawn,
clutching, milking the teats of mother goats
on the empty hills,
the sun scorching her hair into threads of black
beneath the nexus of crossed darkness,
“My name is Mary,
What does it mean?” she asked,
“Peace, I think,” I said,
“I feel the hunger of the waiting many
reaching through his arms,
their pain through
his hands and feet - do they know
what they want?”
“Peace, hope, a chance to live and love a little,” I responded,
“Yes, so speaks my heart” - she fixed me with her eyes,
and mine followed her steps back through the goats,
bending to wrench wormwood from the soil,
her lips caressing its liquid essence
for a heroic, hallucinogenic spinning
of fantastic myths and tales
swirling around his head,
“They were cruel,
not allowing us the baby we so wanted,
Yet, the sand so accepting of his feet
before They raised him up” - her whisper
dissolved in her moment of transfiguration,
etched in stone, black image on distant, rolling plains,
At loss for words
I stroked her marble hair and face - as cool or warm
as the touch of my grieving hands,
a parade of monarchs, nobility and soldiers
marched past in the full regalia of war,
peasants quietly bent beneath their toil
in fields of waving grain,
struck heat-tortured sparks from anvils with hammers of iron,
Ecclesiastical judgements denounced her as unrighteous,
ridiculed her wisdom,
while grandmothers, mothers and daughters
came in secret
to worship Mother Mary, Goddess Earth, The Black Madonna
before her stone-armed cradle
as empires, states, dictatorships and democracies
rose and fell around her watch
beneath my caresses, until I turned back through the goats,
afraid to wrench wormwood
from between the rocks as she once had,
heart heavy for the moment of his sorrow,
pondering silly answers
seemingly without reasoned questions,
remembering the one I’d loved
and left a virgin
in the stone-embraced emptiness of her heart
for the Child they wouldn’t let us have.
Still, her eyes look across the distant plains,
caressing the silence of the air
with the meanings of her names: Peace, love, hope,
The Black Madonna
and my once and still-loved Mary Magdalene.
( * Financially, Peter (Pyotr) Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer, was supported by Nadezhda von Meck, a wealthy widow, for thirteen years. Without a romantic attachment involved, they exchanged a torrid correspondence throughout that period, and Tchaikovsky was deeply wounded when Madame von Meck withdrew her support, possibly due to financial set-backs, perhaps because she found out about Tchaikovsky's homosexuality. Despite her reasons, one version of the story about Tchaikovsky's death says that he repeatedly spoke her name while in a delirium during his final illness.)
... *Prince Kiyama boiling up
stirring the featherless soup
black cat-bone stew
seething omens of steam
acrid Big Easy incense
dervishing above the bayous
fangs of the city
inoculation of sorrow
clinging to the street car of Desire
racing to the Cemetery
and churches beyond with windows of
altars of Russian-consecrated
sweet Pyotr Tchaikovsky's murmuring
rending the veil of white requiem:
''Nadezhda, Nadezhda, Nadezhda!''
come back to me! -
I want to see the hem of
your skirt flirting with
your flashing ankles
in your venom dance
to a da-whomp, da-whomp yammering orchestra
of owls, hyenas, jackals, cats, wolverines, coyotes, frogs, dogs and
screaming the *B-Street tango
along the barren ribs of night
through the bleeding noon,
chaotic twitching of feline tail
sweeping the roof
nadezhda-eyes staring at the *Union Depot
across the street,
yes! - yes! - want to see the hem of your skirt
flirting with your ankles
flashing like fangs
in your venom dance,
pearl flesh - and
clack your heels on the marble floor
of the White Nights palace!
chickity tickity tick tock time
glaring back at the B-street roof-top cat
ready to spring to the roof
of the street car Desire,
cruising madly, careening sweetly
toward collision with
the street car adorned
with announcement of Cemetery
death warrant translucently glaring
in dripping crystal -
Nadezhda, Nadezhda, come back to me!
lest the yammering be choked by essence of brimstone,
Can you feel the veins of it?
creesh crash crickity crockity
doo-whomp whompity oola
dingidee donga bonga
hola slappidy slippidy whippidy
clickity click clack chickity tick tock
bong - bong - bong
*tar-pants Madman with coal-blazing eyes
teetering atop his conga drum
with feet too mercurial to punch
through its head: Bangada bangada
bong bong bong
B-Street blues hypnotized, baptized by dripping crystal enlivening
Prince Kiyama's fingers
stripping, ripping feathers from the chicken
maniacal struts of demonic flight
for coronation on his head
caressing the coon-dick realms of beyond
before stroking the feathers with one hand
stirring the soup with the other
tilting his ear toward the city
chanting his name
Prince Kiyama, Chicken Man!
The King Of New Orleans Bayou Voodoo Magic!
while a roar ripples along Union Avenue
Give us The Blues Mojo Okie Snake-Oil Madman!
the people of the city gave him that name!
reverberations quivering away in thunder
rising to a wail,
I want to see your ankles flashing
like the fangs of love
igniting Bourbon Street!
rattle the stones!
shatter the silence!
rapturous rupture through The Garden Of Bones!
while above the bangada bong bong bong
all that can be heard is: Chickity
clickity click clack clack
chickity clickity click clack clack
yeah, oh, yeah, such stinging music
ringing assault of rhythm!
for white-haired Peter, sweet Peter
is King of the Parade
his magnificent head resting in the arms of
The Nutcracker knighted Clown of Fat Tuesday,
striding down Bourbon Street
his tears coming to rest in Peter's hair
the roof-top cat launching herself
midst the clanging of bells
atop the street car of Desire
reeling past the wreckage
destination - Cemetery!
mocked by fangs of love: Chickity
clickity click clack clack
haunted by the frenzied flailing
of Madman hands: Bangada bangada
bong bong bong
bathed in ecstatic sighs
Prince Kiyama, Chicken Man,
The King of the Bayou
New Orleans Voodoo Magic
quaffing the limpid essence
of black cat bones
simmering omens above the bayous
dervishing above the fangs
of love - a yearning whisper:
''Don't stop, Nadezhda!
Nadezhda, I'm getting close
the silence is ravishing like your lips, your eyes, your face and
thrust the bitter fangs even deeper and I shall rest,
and... now... now you can rest your weary feet
until the dance's final call,
but listen, Nadezhda, for one last time
to my voice, to the clickity click of black cat bones,
to the Chicken Man voodoo beat,
to the blues rhythms
of my lilting music
the speaking thunder
of my drum: Bangada bangada
bong bong bong
bong... bong... bong''...
* Prince Kiyama Chicken Man: a colorful figure, now deceased,
on the New Orleans voodoo scene
*The Union Depot: former train station in Pueblo, Colorado
*B-street; Union Ave: streets in Pueblo
*tar-pants Madman: blues poet Tony Moffeit of Pueblo
* * *
By the time Madame Von Meck declined any more financial support for him, Tchaikovsky had become famous enough to sustain himself until he died in 1893, seven days before which he conducted the Moscow premiere of his 6th. symphony, The Pathetique, quoting the Russian Requiem and receiving a mixed reaction. According to a story propagated by his family and/or doctor, his death was a result of him treating indigestion by mixing soda bicarbonate with a glass of unboiled water during a cholera epidemic. Scholars, however, think there's good reason to believe that he committed suicide, perhaps with a gun, for reasons that remain unclear though possibly relating to his sexual orientation. Due to his being a beloved figure throughout his Motherland, the audience was reduced to tears when a repeat performance of The Pathetique was given nine days after he died - and the work is still considered a masterpiece.
... men and women of the night
and doughnut shops
where life crosses,
in and out
after and before
life mounted on sugary dough,
where coffee drips for hearts of tin,
guts of steel maternity
stolen from everywhere,
from halfway between here - and -
I, there, seeing, hearing
writing: "Heaven... often... not -
writing things halfway between why - and -
- "Heaven often is not found"
while time shuffles tails and whiskers of itself,
where the waitress stands in cotton print identity,
staring, counting, pouring
as she stolidly jockeys drops of acrid aspirations
which seep through the seams in her hands to porcelain
and beyond to shadows of
echoes, doughnuts -
- holes, the soul of hard
guesses and questions -
- "Ya' need a refill?'
... windows rattle the frightened night -
- "Naw, don't need one yet,"- off-duty, now, and
hanging over the counter
his need hovers beneath her seams in hope
as he speaks above a graying beard
which seems long enough
to tickle the bottom of the coffee pot when
part-time, he, too, tends the doughnut shop -
- "But phee-ewey!
it really is getting' windy out there, ain't it!
sho' wish it'd rain, though!"
"You want rain
and I want to know,
do two broads have to live together
or sleep together before they're lespians?
Somebody please tell me,
What's a goddam lespian?"
"What a question, Denny!
and it's lesbian, lesbian, not lespian!"
''Shee-it! Lespians, lapdogs, hussies! What's the diff?"
... the wind clutches at numbed glass and skin...
"Well, if I have to match
your ignorance with coffee refills,
it's no skin off my back!
you pay for both,
but why don't you get a damned job
instead of coming in here night after night
and throwing a 'hard one' over those poor women?"
''Poor! my ass!"
"You really hate them, don't you?"
"Shee-it! Love, hate,
What's the diff!"
"At least they're really there," the *grocery-cart woman mutters,
from her corner, unheard, without doughnuts,
and how she does it, since she has no castle of her own
and the sign above her vigil screams:
"NO SLEEPING ALLOWED, EVER, NO EXCEPTIONS!"
is a matter for those who play the odds
on pain and guesses
and the dignity
still penciling her face
beneath the streaks wintering her hair,
a dignity as pulsing-real
as the college girl passing in the street -
- "Wha'dya think, Joey,
ya' think she's a pro?"
"Naw, Denny, too fresh-looking," and leering jabs
of elbows into ribs
fail to rupture the warp and woof of the bone and marrow
which stretches between `lespians,' pros and college girls
behind prison bars of grocery carts
filled with the rich vomit of disdain.
"Hell, you wanted rain, you've got it! Christ!"
"Damn! You a weather prophet or somethin', man?"
"I wouldn't be jackin' my jaw about nothin'
if I was you, Denny,
after the way the lady told you off
a minute ago!" - seeking a refill, now,
graying-beard steps behind the counter,
"And that goes double for you, Joey!" -
he returns to the barstool side of commerce.
"Hell, you ain't no weather prophet!
You're a goddam Pentecostal preacher or somethin', man!
Who put your friggin' saddle on crooked, this morning,
"Save it for the apocalypse, Denny,
you're going to need it!
Say, by the way,
your shift is about over, isn't it, girl? - he leans toward her
across the counter
for they both
jockey cigarettes and lighters
when other bridges fail.
She accepts the flaming: "Yeah, when the other gal
When's your next shift?"
"Five-goddam-thirty in the morning!
Christ, I have a friggin' twelve-hour shift, tomorrow!"
"Je-ezus, that's awful!" - her smoke forms
rings of disconnection.
"Ya' ain't ****tin'!"
... "five-thirty, that's when it was,
at least I think so - a long time ago," the grocery-cart woman
answers an inner cycle: "A long, long time ago -
- my pen stutters: "Heaven... often... not"....
then dipping and bowing
to the pogo-ing of streeted raindrops, it finds stride:
"Heaven often is not found
in far-off places
but stares us in the face
like plate-glass windows" -
- "five-thirty... yes, back when I was real,"
the grocery-cart woman's fingers tattoo time,
"Tah-tee-dum, tee-dum-m, tee-dum-m, tee-dum-m,"
though not the pattering of rain
nor thudding steps
of souls beyond the edge,
but the half-singing of She who's come
to relieve the Other She
who waits for a younger script of Self - Herself -
- "tah-tee-dum-m, tee-dum-m, tee-dum-m,
would you like a refill now
or wait until I make a fresh pot?"
"No, thanks, I'm fine,"
`My, she sure is pretty,' my mind wanders from my pen
to the younger waitress, `A lot like piano-woman
whom I cared for long ago,
was perhaps in love with,
I don't really know,
She probably didn't know,
I don't think either one
of us really knew -
- O muse of hammered strings
O robin-breast of soul-mate deep connection!
Where are you?
I am waiting!" - but why are graying beard
and She in cotton print still here,
why don't they go home'?...
... black, acrid gulps of hope
my pen seeks delirium of ecstasy
in that which has been, is, and will be:
"Reflect Heaven in yourself,
reflect and go in peace
and all will be well, will be well"...
"So, ya' leavin'?"
"Yeah-h, gotta' be goin', girl.
See ya' tomorrow night,
You take care, now - okay?'
And so, into streeted pogo-ing
Perhaps his graying beard
will be long enough to tickle laughter from the sidewalk
where life crosses,
in and out
after and before...
... and the coffee is meant for hearts of tin.
* (The imagery of the grocery-cart woman was inspired by and is in tribute to a real-life homeless woman who lives out of a grocery cart at doughnut shops, the bus station, library, and often, by standing for hours in the lobby of the post office at night).
VIII … stop! - Skid! - Shift knobs, slide gears, vomit numbness, fondle!… the music of guillotines!…
VII … unmannered retching! since everything is a percentage of death in motel prayer-nights separated from unholy echoes and junkyard dogs yapping the insanity by disdain mating hysterical drools with refried rectitude, masticating giggling shame: “That dog, there, lifting a leg, there, back-alley sodomy of wetness in air – Hush, mentioned for headstones only” strewn among graveyards, sweet-jeezus jukeboxes purple-trumpeting along the borders of Their juice: “Yes, Holy! Holy! Holy!” screaming down the Holy Ghost and Fire in prayer-gutters backbiting along time of choicely chosen madonnas weeping children dear-jeezus-glittering through open legs into angst, screaming tilted jigsaw puzzle pizza-glitzy jive for crumbling bridges back and forth between us and wrinkles of self-righteously disgusted divinity…
VI … bloodcurse-running!
V … in dark rain! Red Sea deluges of body burning with love or shame-delight while lightnings flash through babies’ mouths giggling thunder rattling screaming jigsaw puzzle dripping into gelled pots of leftover Judgement “Not here, not there, not any nor every when or now!” “Jilt the proper puke! Go with pyromania! Torch the Dogma State! – the pimps of puppy pimple-love!” who juggle governed durges of rote, “Save the children!” - lapdogs yipping the absurd reprobation of cloned devotion drowning unwashed questions, non-visa versa versus vice: “Dead business liturgy!…
IV … confessing in whimpers while love returns unwashed by tears of joy with eyes unwept and blank - chameleon colors change with choice of sins - the tilt, undropped shoe, The Word beyond all words waiting in the hush of The Timeless Whisper, the sighing , yet, of a stinging sweetness: blushing dawn draped like a Bridal Veil! Hear it, touch the deep Hymnal-Wraith when the darkness yawns and Gypsy-Sun slips mirthy skyward with giggle of wind in birth - stallions chasing mares, babies playing the alleys of apple-cider autumn, Soon, amethyst-glittter of dusk and Gypsy-Sun kiosk-safe beyond; moon, then, perhaps, and lovers’ juxtaposition before rooster-purple dawn with All contained in all,
III … and the why of how, when and where, the where of how, when and why… all we, here, in roads, fields, cradles, in streets…
II … the rain! - the dark rain!…
I … ascending silence like cathedral-chills of tomb up spine…
O… oh sweet, snorting jeezus
for The Beloved, a night at Nedjima Bar (Ankara, Turkey)
… hypnosis shattered by atomic jiggling, salivation of song on your brow,
channeled chaos of body, spastic sound, tantrum of dark delight unbuttoned
and flung over the up-ended chariot of the moon,
vibration – stuttering – thunder of slap-happy bass thumping the roots of “sweet home chicago”,
you and I beard-to-beard, the pomegranate purple of your breath singeing my whiskers with
notes insanely bent in the blush of your voodoo blood
and throbbing with “go, johnny, go”,
johnny be bad in prickly heat needling a conflagration consuming my pores,
revival of beat-howling preacher on knees of confession in harmonica valley,
drumsticks masturbating the crazy, crazed hymen of rhythm ravishing
sin and redemption in our eyes testing the high-wire between us, fluttering,
fanning the flame, tongue-flailing the invocation:
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, do you have your dancing shoes,
are you ready for some blues flames, some rock ‘n roll rantin’,
Do you like dogs?
You see, the boys in the band are going to let the dogs out,
all the dogs, all the way out and it’s going to get scorching hot in here because
hallelujah, amen and great balls of fire!”
here is your raving medicine-man
screaming joy through the microphone,
alley-catwallering yowl uprooting our chakras
along the silken storm of strings
strutting, spitting, rattling snake-eyes of resonance along “route sixty-six” curving
around our shoulders in the “t-bone shuffle” of your right shoe, my left one,
black, red, “blue suede shoes” and “well, it’s one for the money, two for the show”
neural earthquake, volcanic sermon shakin’, blessin’ and cursin’
down on “mustang sally”
guess you better slow your Mustang down ’cause you been runnin’ all over town”
lawd, “guess I have to put your flat feet on the groun’,”
“mustang sally” docidoing with “caledonia” mocking yo’ momma, teasing yo’ daddy
and tell ‘em I’m comin’ ’cause your name’s caledonia dripping with “sweet alabama”,
sulphuric scripture, reprobate weeping sugar, third eye of beer and limbo games under my scarf
shouting, laughing, you at one end, me tracing the vale of “sad, so, sad”
’cause “I got a woman way over town”
got a, got a woman way over, way over town,
so promise me to love her first and me second ’cause “I’m the hoochie-coochie man”,
not way over there, but here because we gotta’ get our feet right off the ground
along the path of the soaring, skin-disdaining
serpent probing our souls believin’ our believin’ eyes in askin’,
do you be “secret agent man?”
because they’ve taken your number and given me your name I
raise in exultation of bone-bred pain screaming for a strangling
of questions “in the shadow of the city” risen from scorched, grinning alleys
strewn with fragile hope-seeds born in the spittle of fertility, ancient
moments still watching over the sacred egg from which we
came – and shriven of barrenness I throw back my head to yell,
“you ain’t nothin’ but a houn’ dawg”
nothin’, nothin’ but a
houn’ dawg, houn’ dawg
runnin’ tongue-led along my trail joined
to your redolent thread, us sweetly inflamed with “bad, bad whiskey – and we’ve lost our home”,
bad, bad, bad, bad whiskey, highway of liquid-burning sin and yelping salvation
from heaven and hell to the beyond of the subway station confessed with “I love you”,
and the only answer I need is redemption of the night
steeped in the beautiful, bad bad whiskey
of your eyes…
… and the whispering hymn of the wind…
Separate names with a comma.