Cousin Richard

I inquired about you
at the Bureau of Lost Souls
but they had no record
of your being found
nor your alias, Man of Mystery,
no clue as to your whereabouts

last seen as a brilliant mind
burning too brightly without your
medication and soiling your pants
before the family in the kitchen

last heard from on a street corner
exhorting strangers to beware of
imminent extraterrestrial arrivals
thru amalgams in their molars.

Rumor was, you drowned in alcohol
but you only drank milk
and always said that’s why

your smile was so beaver-white

that you’d been killed on Rt.66
on a motorcycle but it was your
brother Albert 21 who was de-
capitated when you were 13

and that you ended up like your mom
a month after her shock treatments
found dead by the milkman at sunrise
inexplicably on the front porch.

How strange, all these years,
I should think of you
and write this poem.

Incurable Romantic

The doctors agreed: no hope for me,
nor Rx for the vexing, quixotic malady;
no elixir to abate the terrorizing empathy
silver bullet for the wild, howling love
holy water to exorcize the mea culpas
incantations by which to lift the curse
spells to dispel the romantic notion
potions to quell the emotion-commotion
antibiotic to quiet the passion-riot
panacea for the haunting beauties
antidote for the big, doting dope of me

I left to get a second opinion when
a venerable physician pulled me aside,
and spoke of an experimental procedure
performed in France, a virtual brain transplant,
that might have half-a-chance of curing me.
So I went, and returned in full remission,
but relapsed during a fugue, on a rainy
Sunday afternoon, finding myself in a pet store,
holding a puppy, when a canary began to sing
and I started seeing the world more green.

Alcoholics Anomalous

Like an alcohol breeze ahead of its arrival
I felt the storm of you approaching the bed
and braced myself against its fury, holding
my breath as long as I could, dog paddling
as your cold tsunami pounded down upon me
collapsing under its heavy-water power,
muting all sound, imploding my body
immersed in its muscatel madness, surrendering
to its vertiginous maelstrom, pulling me deeper
into your absinthe vortex swirling me green-wine
dizzy; my bouquet, tongue-trampled in your vulgar
mouth swishing lust saliva-swallowed and spilled
guttural-grotesque on this slave of your desire,
only now realizing how much I liked it.

Beautiful Wrinkles

The crow’s feet of Christ
squinting in the sunlight,
the forehead furrows of Einstein
that sprouted his green theory,
the Sharpei eyes of Auden, wincing
before Brueghel's Icarus, drowning,
the machismo lines of Gable’s cheeks
in The Misfits that sang of the desert,
the labial crevices of O’Keeffe’s mouth
that spoke the language of lilies,
the elephantine fissures of John Merrick
that showed us compassion,
the tear-filled creases of Mother Teresa’s
face that mirrored love’s sacrificial self,
the sine waves of Da Vinci’s self-portrait
that flowed like genius through his hair,
the razor slits of concern, between
the eyebrows of Lincoln,
the wailing-wall countenance of Moses
revealing the Commandments,
the riverbed cracks of Mohammed's ears
flooded by angelic dictation,
the birch bark of Geronimo's cupped hands
gliding like canoes through Spirit waters,
the seductive lines of Anna Magnani's eyes
in The Fugitive Kind that invite you to stay,
the brow pleats of Marie Curie, raised
upon seeing radium glowing in the dark,
my mother’s velvet face
crushed by worry over me,
the deep crevasse of my father’s mouth
in laughter, into which I fall, laughing,
and my own wrinkles, rivulets
through which lightning flows.

Noir Necklace

Its phantom stars orbit her alabaster neck
like imploded suns revealing their essence;
the Tahitian near her breast,
a coalesced quicksilver-night lustre
imbued with hues of pink and blue skies
behind clouds of dolphin-green iridescence;
the talisman touching her clavicle,
black as an ebony spider-idol’s onyx eye,
pitiless, reflecting your gaze
imprisoned in its midnight mirror;
the round shadow over her sternum
a teardrop of Satan, Lucifer’s dying light’s
last illumination, shed for himself as he
fell from grace; and the indigo sea genie
lying between the first and second ribs,
jealously guards its territory
with a viper's malevolent sight:
black pearls, connected by a string;
our hidden worlds, dark-dream colliding.

Don is a 21st century Buckaroo Banzai, of sorts,
former Rock singer from Chicago's South Side,
degree in Lit. and Med. He has yet to perfect
an Oscillation Overthruster.

© 2008 Underground Voices