~The poet uses the butterfly net of language to catch fleeting images in mid-flight~

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Flower of Youth
(For Valentine's Day)

I remember those passionate years.
The long glowing wand
Was not just a beacon
That advertised my whereabouts.
No, it was a cruel, burning staff
That begged to be planted
In some soft, yielding earth.
The need for coupling was obsessive.
I left a roadmap of potholes
And broken hearts
To the syncopated sounds of a lunatic’s libido,
Like a woodpecker imprisoned
In a hormonal drumroll from Hell.

The men would say,
“He has a beak, He must use it!”
And the hammering that went on and on,
Shook the trees
And rattled all the nuts in their holes.
Of course, I couldn’t think straight,
Because that beak was attached
Directly to my head.
The more I used it,
The more scrambled
Were the higher brain functions.
But once primed and cocked,
The double pump action assembly
Was ready to bang on and on.

The women would say,
“It has been given to you to use,
So, use it on me!”
And I tried.
I tried to satisfy their deep,
Enfolding, fleshy chalices of emptiness,
While they tried to coddle, caress, cajole,
Corral, coerce and, ultimately, capture me
In promises of enduring fidelity.
But it was like setting a match to tinder.
Fire won every time.
After each conflagration,
I would rake and bank the coals of passion
Up against the edge of the fire pit of lust.
And the pyromaniac would move on,
Seeking new sources of fuel.

Now, I reminisce about the good old days,
But, finally, there is peace beyond any melodrama.
And a respite from the dervish’s wild fling.
I watch the girls weave their sticky webs of enticement,
While wafting pheromone cocktails into the air.
I watch the guys posture like petulant roosters,
Ready to toss fluffed feathers in a feisty fray.
The dance of time immemorial goes on.
But now it is somewhere else
Where the fire burns.
It is someone else seeking the salve
For the blistered soul.
Some new singer reworks the lyrics
That singers have been singing forever
About using and bruising and losing.

The wailing drone of a country hit’s dirge
Is background music for me today.
The neighbor left her car door open,
And her tape deck’s twang h
On the bench as invaded my garden
Where I have been digging.
I’ve lined up my tulip bulbs and ranunculus,
On the bench
The hyacinths and irises and freesias
All lay there looking up at me,
Like sleeping prophets.
As the radio next door begins playing
Peggy Lee’s version of “Fever”,
My little prophets are unperturbed.
And then, they whisper to me,
“This Spring will be good for color”.

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