by Cam M. Roberts
(for Brook Davis)
are you learning
in the world
the feet of Orpheus?
You mark the sheet of his bed
like a footnote,
Interesting & starry-eyed
as an asterisk
adjacent his John Hancock.
As of late, more (un)referenced
than an orphan – For souls bereft of prospects,
see bottom of page.
Isn’t that sloven bastard Hades a belligerent despot, full of a somber bombast and macabre ass-hole-ism? Aren’t his notoriously horrid aphorisms woven into his every breath just enough to harden the liver to stone, blacken the bile to bulemia, curdle one’s blood into clotted viscosities, and plague the fresh & clear-eyed clout back into the dark fog of doubt? whiplashed off his cloven tongue? lowdown nasty
still an old stick-in-the-mud teaching you
the ways of the Dead
while chowing down on biting bones
like some dog salivating
to the sound of your body,
the beckoning felt from the mouth
shaping the visage of your voice.
The divulging of a letter,
and another sort of wetness meeting your ear.
strings of better worlds spun within time,
then strung the bow, taut & flexed
into a room larger & emptier
than a tundra –
Knowledge lathers memory
over your name
in hopes to clean
your mouth out with soap,
while you were teething
on forgotten words
or ones that simply never existed.
Release them and not yourself
Into the river Styx.
Yes, you must let them go,
Then you must learn how to forget them:
You are neither Ophelia nor Woolf –
You are but a Myth.
Charon tunnels the ferry
With coins plucked like worn buttons
Sewn with wax and wick
From blackened candles pulled
From distant eyes once lit with fire,
Unearthed and polished tokens
with antiquity comprised of sand
in hourglasses mixing the self-effacing tide-pools –
Echoes through dead space, at an end, warbling
in oral resonances: the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips…
Sound out your name – It is the house
wherein you once lived, a former hostess
in a domestic space of sticks & stones,
but this, you say, is not your home.
The world has fallen away from you –