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The Artist as the Head of Goliath

Caravaggio

I knew his grip in my hair,
darling twigger, the mute
bellying blood velvet, and
foisted like a lamp to gander
into this long room, hoping
to spot that other Michelangelo.

Still awaiting the signal.
The stage beyond that curtain
turned out to be a shower
in an airport Hilton, and I’m alone.
Where fly you, dear Perseus,
my stripling Jew? Fly home.

Swooning again the steam,
having absently sliced a nipple
on an ill-willed jag of tiny soap,
browbeaten little linga, my child,
like the figurehead of the Argo,
finds its voice and kills a joke.

 

 Hymn to Akhenaton

‘Every darkness…’ we begin translating
portions of Akhenaton’s song finding their weary way
into Psalm 104: Every darkness,
of necessity, every lion slithers forth,
forth, pursing from each den the proteins
of this tertium quid, third realm between Scylla & Charybdis,
young Tennyson’s kraken & the US Navy’s Bloop—
all in either half-abyss cloven just at grey horizons.

A mind, he sings, regards itself a bare diestrus doe,
stood inside its bubble, casting out
its salty snow, and partakes in vertebrate stereo,
in visum & sonitus, just as the flash of something dribbles!
Big seepage works to lop some Marfan forest limb
& our eyes cross in that pothole stew,
ruminant & me, rigid where our knees,
née heels, feel a force oncoming.

Tar reflection & the reflection of the reflection eclipse—
his Amerind brown, ours penumbral.
To ward off any old humanism, I’ve reared
this face’s more hirsute than very ecstatic nares
back from the tabby’s piss dried in the bathmat,
writhing upon which suddenly I’ve spotted
his coronas via the glowless glow,
the weird tapetum lucidum, & in transit,

the slit-aperture, third eyelid,
filming me with Cheshire chagrin,
& fancied I prevail as the shit poet Nietzsche,
dangling unseemly from the carved throat
of a Torinesi workhorse, which is to say,
i.e., your star’s no more meant for sunness
than these little aqueducts for these little tears—
O.

 

 

Le Petit Prince

James Dean’s favourite book
drives the sperm homunculus,
or vice versa. Whether it’s
a Barnum effect or pareidolia

or—as the girl who’s been told
that her profile photo looks a bit
like Natalie Portman describes
her mother’s habit of seeing

the recently dead in her kitchen tiles
—perhaps a bit of both,
in the light show on the plaster
above the tub, first, there’s

vanilla, krill, storm, 3 words,
then comets, the view from
the cockpit of a Dyson treehouse,
cometh the once and future jing king,

and—Agon! I’ve worked it out:
Accretion is, well, one way
a whole stag herd of elephants
will fit inside the hairy star

of Queen Matilda’s comic strip.
A block on Antoine St. Exupery’s
name once cost me a fuck.
And in the name of these,

Shoemaker-Levy’s frosty
silverfish meander the pergola, 4 words,
dance till, last, we see/read through
the flash-fried retinas of that

Tunguskan peasant to the wit
beyond the rods—say it, Jason,
say it: I’m stillborn. I am.
Registered as such, and knew.
 

 

[J.T. Welsch grew up near St. Louis, Missouri, but lives in Manchester, where he recently completed a PhD at the University of Manchester. His writing has been published, produced, or performed in Bedford Square, Bewilderbliss, Red Wheelbarrow, and Stand (forthcoming), and at the London Film School, Martin Harris Centre, and Manchester Library Theatre. A chapbook, Orchids, was published by Salt in 2010.]

Copyright © 2011 by J. T. Welsch, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.