Wednesday, March 6, 2013

American Vultures (Karen Thompson)


The circus train cars abandoned decades ago,
The circuit of America now belongs to vultures,
Who once followed the elephants and clowns
Like starved, yearning runaways, an exiled sideshow.
Now, as then, they only eat the unclean, if pure,
Scraps of disease or murder on the edge of town.
It exasperates them, winging round and round,
With only frowning little girls and unplanted
Trees, shrubs, and ancient sawdust on the ground.
We know that of all fowl we're the most unwanted,
But those tiny birdbaths are simply insulting.
Tattered flesh, the strength of decay, our putrid breath --
From a vulture's field of view nothing can be revolting.
We soar, bubbles of gold, spiraling death.

Note: I purchased this photo collage from Artlink, a local non-profit art gallery in Fort Wayne. The artist, Karen Thompson, is my favorite local artist and I want to thank her, not only for giving me permission to use this image online, but also for providing a digital copy. Her work can be found here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Temptation of St. Anthony (Max Ernst)


The source of every dream is temptation.
What lures us from our accepted selves,
What threatens us in its blurred creation,
Is the rank soil the hungry flower delves.
Or do these harpy leers and mutant screams,
(Or, for ordinary men, unknown thighs,
Or being chased, or invisible sighs),
Come from beyond the mind, not being dreams,
(The film of sleep), but visions meant to try
Our faith in reason or reality?
The Saint, tortured by what no man should see,
Expelled the imp, the whore, canker and maw,
By waking up to dismiss all he saw
As a devil's prank. Question is, can we?

The Doctor's Dream (Durer)


Doctors of medicine or learning are equally prone
To slothful napping, succumb to sweetly silken pillows,
Nestling near a cosy stove to warm exhausted bones,
Gone from the universe and prey to the Devil's bellows.
A Venus dreamed can be rationalized as a patient
Appealing for mercy: "Touch me, cure me, oh, please relent!"
The rotting apple she leaves him is sufficient payment.
When Cupid walks on stilts he has no hands free for arrow
And bow, no desire to quicken desire, to speed blood's flow
To love's wound, or, is he the Doctor telling Venus, "No?"
So, the Devil's vapors have failed to stir the Doctor's lust,
And Venus has not tempted him with naked hips to thrust.
Virtue doesn't make one happy, the Doctor's frown suggests.
He's miserable dreaming the goddess's impish breasts.