I Am Dionysus Fresh Out Of Rehab
i admit it i’ve never seen a falling star
that isn’t a metaphor. i miss each flicker the way you skirt a train just in time to pillage what’s left behind: crushed coins tucked for luck, to flip or plink a tip. whether wishes squeezed from zinc or blunders looped in home movies, my highs are contagious as bee stings, so i catch what i can keep. if Ganymede's story is one of divinity, i am Dionysus fresh out of rehab—worshippers bent before me with robes reduced to rags, my thyrsus strewn in some storm drain i can’t reach, honey crystallized white as a bone wrapped in wilted ivy. Ganny is well-versed in refusal with a wink, snickering while i fail to snatch my lonely wand among the grate’s graveyard growing vines & rust. is there a wrong way to pronounce mock tail? Ganny seems to relish sketching stories with scorn each time i try to order. when there are no gods left to serve, i will serve myself. once, i loved a woman whose crown now floods the night sky, or so i’m told. i’ve been searching for her ring of stars to light my way home since my chalice turned green but i’m stuck still on barstools, kneeling in back alleys where i tempt myself with even the dust motes that refuse to land. i’ve granted hands that gave gold to everything in reach, but what’s the use in any trove when a lover’s mercy glitters but won’t glow? hell, even immortality has its limits. born cutting my own teeth on curbs, i’ve never seen heads actually roll, so i flip the severed crown flattened in my pocket quick to kiss my palm before it bounces through the rusted grate where a glint simmers & i squint to glimpse a dim spark. a scorched stone. a dying star.
with his producer holding him up, Charlie Parker records “Lover Man” drunk off a quart of whiskey & all the birds find their way home
wake up, beloved. beloved, wake up. the car alarms are singing again, the white bell -birds & thrushes tantamount to harmony. it’s a song i’ve known well, creeping through my lips like a jewel thief. i don’t know what to do alone with all this incredulity, small as a fist balled in a baby’s mouth. beloved, you have a brand new face again & i can only afford one act of kindness toward strangers a day. i wake at midnight when the vultures arrive to accept the gristle that slips through God’s fingers. a fine day for a day full of breakdowns. i will leave behind earthly matters, slink into my crocodile suit not of cotton-polyester blend but an actual crocodile scales bouncing light like mirrors, bona fide diamond -shaped snout terrifying children along west 4th street. my zipper is in plain sight. why doesn’t anyone pull it? it strikes me i am never this alone when i’m alone. in a swamp where stones skip without the pitch of human hands an Egyptian plover feasts on what’s leftover in a crocodile’s teeth, a cleansing of past harm more quid pro quo than mercy. beloved, my heart is taking up too much space in my ribs again. it’s the devil that loves me, a love as funny as real love. beloved, the bakery truck is outside again, flour blooming in the street like a flock, its grace almost measurable. beloved, the birds are back again, perched everywhere within earshot, sopranos synced & sharpened like frayed wires freshly twined. beloved, i found my face, clean as the shower drain in a monastery. i’ve shed enough scales music like loose change fills our pockets we can fool any parking meter. let’s tear down good cheer from the halls of our high schools, wear shapeless sheets & haunt open houses, get stuck on a winning streak, fly someplace we deserve each other.