“me ne rende allegro”

By: asanisimasa

Feb 27 2012

Tags: , , ,

Category: Poetry

1 Comment

“me ne rende allegro”  by michael v. hayes (2010)


may your mind be splayed from work,

your eyes red,
your imagination restless & wild,
your body a vessel of the spirit
& voice an instrument of the message
& the music so terribly good,
& your special one nearby,
so that you might draw her into your arms
& hear the sleepy nonsense,
listless & murmured,
struggling to cross the threshold of her lips…

me ne rende allegro

you asked me how i am.
i almost lied.

i am melting.
i was going to take
a vow of silence
but i would make a terrible monk
unless voted the life-tenured beekeeper
of the monastery.

i realize that’s probably
not the way these things work.

the dream, yes.
i wandered barefoot around new orleans
during carnival
but my invitation had been seized
by a K-9.  strewn on the ground were
all of so many lost things
& things placed intended to appear lost,
like eight balls buried in the sand—
the kind that are filled with ink,
that when shaken & peered into will
reveal an answer to your endless question,
the same question that will be always unanswered,
posed & dissembled into different combinations of tags & glyphs—
eight balls partially buried with intent,
coded signs & signals
for those seekers of drugs & suicide potions,
like all those lonely pairs of shoes
hanging from telephone wires,
and plastic bags in the trees.

the city was lit afire,
buildings crumbled
& houses by flames were consumed,
but no one paused their revelry.
there was no time.
life was happening now
& the damned were content
to waylay their inevitable trip—
costumed, drunk & drugged,
ingesting ever more,
they saw no reason
to turn the vessels back
from whence they’d come.
there were giraffes & elephants roaming the streets
of their own volition.

i played a civilian
in a white tanktop
& i strode as though invisible,
like a wary
& reluctant
prince henry among his troops—
pretending to talk on the cell phone,
attracting the company of ghosts.

i looked up & saw that i was on cadiz street
standing among the weeds
& overgrown grass
along the streetcar tracks.
i knew that the streetcar never came anymore
but could not say why.
it just was
the way it was.

cadiz, cadiz—oh brian curling, where have you gone?
does wendell know
you might never return
to your cadiz, kentucky hills from babylon?
is that why he wrote a poem for you,
disguised as a siren
to stay alive,
his colors muted—
for this very fact,
his song too soft
for you to hear him singing
as your father lost his memory
& the cancer ate his brain,
did he still remember you?
too many chiefs & not enough indians,
the woman on the shotgun porch says aloud.
too many chiefs & not enough indians.

dog in the street,
pitbull struck dead by a car
before the gutted montessori school.
his tongue ejected,
dry & lifeless on the pavement,
the contents of his skin
spilled into the gutter.
the blood crept outward
enveloping the body.
once a yellow dog
now soaked in his own purple blood,
his face was contorted in pain.

my shock: that even the pitbulls
are sacred
& sentient beings.
it was seven a.m.
soon were the children coming
to learn their arithmetic & phonics,
& they would pass the body.

the school had taken flood water
& was now hollow,
but the children still went
that was
all there was.
someday to learn the world
is not so beautiful
all the time—
but i refused to draw the curtain for them,
& yet i stood paralyzed,
a morass of compassion & revulsion,
& nothing changes
if nothing changes.

a gardener appeared beside me.
we looted snow shovels
from the shed of a st. charles avenue mansion,
stuffed tampons up our noses
& socks in our mouths,
before scooping up the dog & his organs—
it was so heavy, this weight.

we put his body in a black duffel bag
with a strange reverence
& hid it in the bushes
like a prop dropped on stage is removed
so the audience won’t all fix their attention
on an inanimate object,
because life is all that is valuable
so they tell me.

hosing the blood & tissue
from the pockmarked road,
i watched it run down to the gutter
& into the drain,
where it went its way to the mississippi,
or lake pontchartrain,
& who was to say or care which way
but me.

i got home to my fema trailer
& found my older brother’s best friend,
donovan, who shared with him
all seven years
to earn the piece of official paper
stating the rite of passage
was officially concluded.

donovan, sweet country child,
not dead anymore but alive.
not swallowed by the fog that consumed him,
the vector of his pickup turning blind,
left instead of right,
where there waited an innocent tree
shrouded in the hushed countryside,
a tree who couldn’t help where it grew
& would have loved donovan
if a tree could ever love someone.

but here, donovan was living, donovan was alive.
the two of us were eating raisin bran from the box
only i took nothing
but handfuls of sugar-crusted raisins
while he pretended not to notice
so not to shame me.

the trailer doorbell rang

i got on the trailer’s intercom
& said be right there!
& it was benedetta di fulvio
with a lot of her communist roman friends
& others forever nameless now.

we were all talking at once,
& so many of them guzzled libations without pause.
we started talking about what women want in a man,
& i said they probably want a little bit of a wild streak, don’t they?
& all the women laughed
& said yes, yes, we love men with a wild streak.
& i said, looking at benedetta, a roman girl i once loved—
well, i’m pretty tame,
but i think ben’s got enough
of a wild streak for both of us.
& she smiled at me
for the first time in years,
& it hurt so badly that
i couldn’t even bare looking at her.

i turned away to see through the trailer’s rear window
some guy outside in the neutral ground
giving CPR to a dying cat,
flat on its back between the iron tracks.
we poured out to investigate
& witnessed the revival of the cat,
which immediately scratched the guy across his face—
& his girlfriend was so pissed that
she took her green bottle of pinot grigio
& smashed it into a million pieces on the ground.
almost like the tide,
the way on the beach the water comes
only so far before receding,
so broke the glass bottle,
rushing to a full stop at my naked toes.
someone says, that’s what you get
for walking around new orleans 
in bare feet, you moron.

i find an old suitcase left behind when the waters receded,
the initials were in Cyrillic
& there were four of them.
stuffed inside
a red parachute.
so it begins,
the unraveling & unraveling
of this parachute,
still all comes to nothing
but more tangled parachute to unravel.
the suitcase, bottomless,
cottonmouths nestling
in hidden pockets and folds
in the stagnant pooled waters—
but they do not bite you
if you pay homage
in bite size snickers bars.
my pockets
bursting with these treats,
my path a trail of lost candy.

entangling & unraveling
& unraveling still,
the debris begins to escape from the folds
of this endless red vinyl:
the dentures,
the sodden family albums,
the bouncing betties,
grenades & hands cannons,
the wedding rings & dresses,
gold & silver rosaries,
deteriorating coloring books,
the ashes of the dead,
scores of toxic dildos in all sizes
& cans of vienna sausages
that multiplied, until it was at last freed from that impossible, yawning samsonite prison

gust of wind,
invisible yet all-powerful
mass of air particles
you rush over the mississippi river,
jumping the levee wall
& fill the parachute
so that i can only hold on by running in your wake,
hands grasping & slipping & grasping again for the cords,
until we are lifted high into the air.

the scrawling river below, like a scar in the earth, dissapates into a strange memory,
so too the cypress swamps & the tupelos,

until the red parachute and me
pass even the end of the continental shelf
where it drops off like a cliff into a canyon.

desolate, uncertain there is a vision
far out in the sea
which resolves into focus
as a fog sometimes lifts at dawn.

i see a drowning bald island
resolve into a bathtub plug,
distorted & misshapen.

my red parachute begins to plummet
through the sky so that in landing
i force that bathtub plug down the drain
of the gulf of mexico.

& i am not sucked down with it
but spared to suffer instead
the vision of all of the water in that gulf
& that caribbean sea
swirling into the terrible mouth of that drain,
until all of the water is swallowed,
& a vast landscape of ruined forgotten cities
litters the undiscovered plains.

“me ne rende allegro” by michael vincent hayes

(copyright 2010)


One comment on ““me ne rende allegro””

  1. So many good lines, I will not cite them all. I will say this is a remarkable piece of writing…not once does it drag or waiver from the emotion..
    really good writing Mike..

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