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Pavane pour Helen Twelvetrees

I

Abrasive chores were a specialty.
Then, suicide at fifty.

Not a back street that didn’t reflect
meanness, and somehow, candor.

To be clasped by the awkwardly handsome Phillips Holmes
in an open carriage in Havana:
“St. Patrick’s Day, don’t it make you feel great?”

There were fiery landladies to cope with
and the usual drunks. Otherwise,
time passes, assuring vulnerability.

I was saying, you never get over
some of these lumps, that’s what they’re for.
Otherwise, you can abide in discretion,
or just plain bawl.

The clients are coming back. Quick, the moustache cup.

II

All around us tides, provocation
of abstracted sky and water.
Praise bellies the azaleas. Yeah, praise
them too while we’re at it, everything
deserves a modicum of praise, except those
who don’t get it. There’s more, in a sequel
God will ultimately be writing.

He turns the pages of a vast
octavo volume, brings forefinger
to chin. H’m, that one might have turned out
differently, if I’d been paying attention.
Let’s revamp the casting call
in the sky, see whose talent effloresces. That way
there’ll be something to talk about next millennium.
The birds hear and drop to the grass.
Fireflies communicate spottily, but accurately.
The whole project is plain.
The rushes look good.
It was for this you spun your little web,
dear, and have somehow been rewarded. It is written

that only the unlikeliest take hold.
Tomorrow there will be fireworks, and then,
back to the chain of living and dying,
pleasing and ornery. The process-shot whereby
scenery overcomes tedium, porch-sitting.

Tonight we have tension and oneness,
arcane, arousing. Forgotten starlets
and minor nobility are apt to turn up in it.
And so he said not to go,
is standing stuttering there
fluffier than a dream in the park setting
where we were accustomed to dwell.

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