Chimera Song Mosaic
Monday, March 15, 2004
Yes, Josh, since you ask, here is my short series on Barney's Cremaster Cycle (this mainly has to do with the character portrayed by Ursula Andress, The Queen of Chain, but I would love to write more Cremaster poems. I saw "him" and "her" at the Guggenheim this week last year. But I need to see more to write more--perhaps someone should get me that great big glossy Cremaster book for my birthday? Hmm? Where is a patron when you need one!)

I. The Queen of Chain: The Accidental Goddess

The two globes at her head represent
the contents of her longing.
Dreams empty from her ears
into the spheres of glass-happiness.
Her lips purse as if never kissed
and dry in the still wind of the oubliette
as if a long-forgotten orifice
were throbbing under the surface,
under her dress; her knees move slow against
the lacquer-fashioned fabric of stain,
of brood after brood, mood after mood,
of provocative, art-fashioned ignorance.
She longs for a beach and a white bikini,
for two dolphins to swim beside her,
for a rein of gold in her fists.

II. The Queen of Chain: The Dowager Denizen

Hearken how the bees swell
and artifice hums around her,
face fixtured and expression locked
in intimacy, in mimicry.

Harpoons festoon her longing
with an incised cry, a particular homogeny
of elegance and violence:
Brides fall by the wayside all the time.

Why risk it all—all for a life
of honey and umbrage? The queen rests
her hip against her heart, hard;
this is the hand upon her waist, wasted

shut and grim as a spinster
squandered on the stairs of age.
Play, play, play me a song . . .
in that slice of heaven reflected

in the perfect bubble of her crown,
so all the wild orchestras unite
in frantic symphony of release,
as the dominant echoes measure beauty

in the urn of her hidden ear,
the dark indentions of her hand—
just as an icon carves its own image,
into a mountain of perfection, glass limbs.

III. The Queen of Chain Honors Her Oubliette

Play until she is a heap of closure and longing,
till the spiraled violence of her cage is a birth canal
of entries and especially exits . . .
till the sacred tremble of her heart is heard
no more in the festered dreams of those without hope or friendliness.
When the accidental goddess is asked about her last exit,
she will pry her chin from collarbone,
shake her apron of lead and reply:
“This is the only home I know;
where you see a dungeon, I see a kitchen of stars;
where you see a minefield,
I see the pigeonholes of starry domiciles,
the potential violence of the bright explosions
of their lives, happening again and again.
“I have been blessed with this happening.
I thank my memory; I thank the hand of god in my spine—
centrioles, metronome—the stiff poles of opposite end—;
I thank my glass legs to abstraction.”
That and other terse morsels of our time
play in her head. Suppose her arrogance,
her violence, would win her over in the end?
Why wouldn’t she want to be like us—
motivated by the same dull praise
and short-lived benefits? Why not enter in
to the expectation of the sexes? The role of mother and parent
is lost to her. Such simple options—and all at once—such tyranny
of place and time and subject—
such harmonious tyranny.

IV. The Queen of Chain: Comedienne

The Queen of Chain
bundles her fat in front of her
like an organ of immunity.
She is no longer a victim:
de-sexed, degraded—,
disregarded—life’s cycles have
no meaning. Her ovaries hatch,
egg after egg is absorbed
into the folds of her dress.
She plays herself a song
over and over in her head:
“There was an old Lady,
who lived in a shoe . . .”
She shakes her glass leg.

Powered by Blogger