Red on MaroonAfter Rothko
I started like the masters and skinned
my rabbit blue. A live burial
on canvas, they called it. A chapel,
a one man show, an empty gym
where the fat ate caviar. No, Seagram’s,
Four Seasons, no. Red on Maroon
won’t take your money. The subway
became my only audience and muse.
I turned to Texas oil. I burned my lungs
to shit. My marriage collapsed, an artery
clogged, a heart so full of color, swung
onto the operating table. I cut it out
to show how blood’s underbelly’s black.
The rainbow I chewed up and then I spit it back.
I napped in a down closet, a Bolshevik
nosegay folded in prayer across the middle
of my crammed chest. I was a booby
trap meant for all the lathed boffos, thimble
receipts blocking a tiny vellum telescope.
A coat of many crayons. I was bogus,
and he knew it, like he knew how hope
was little more than antifreeze in an old
jalopy. But he wanted me to oracle eye
his dreams, a job with health insurance,
the esteem of his people. I diademed
his wife instead. We were two rank
porcupines, nudging closer until our soft
bellies touched. Until she lanced my heart.
Hysteria with Hummer
I threw a navy
Tree are alive, Septimus said
MuirFor the sailors
Hunger in my mouth like the pit
of a plum. My turtle turned on.
Clawfooted or foxed, lightspit–
I hit my head on the moon’s bow,
went under. You were there,
an actor in a sharksuit. Trailing a fin
swathed in kelp and coral. Muir
along the starry floor and aspirin,
provocateur of lunar conservation.
Haven me from the sizzling black
of mating snakes. Heaven on the ocean
is hell, a puddle of oil. A teething of blond
heads or tails up, braid me with pig gut and murmur.
My rainbow broke or else I’m snow. Muir–