JOHN AMEN

 

Biography of a Bottom


At the top of the stairs in the green retro bar,

a young man juggles his mother's shadow.

A parrot is perched on a blue banister.

Tomorrow the young man will interview

a mail-order bride. He will give up on his stallions.

He will find himself in a haunted motel room

sipping a grail of hemlock. The moon simmers like pot roast.

A dominatrix reads from the Book of Job.

The young man juggles his own genitals in a dim alley

while purchasing a pistol. A boa slithers across his foot.

Someone is singing into an absinthe bottle.

The young man is doing crosswords and reading personals.

The spoon smokes. The parrot thrashes in his mouth like a whale.

He doesn't trust clocks. His eyes are glazed like Easter ham.

He calls his dominatrix Eve. He calls his mother Eve.

He juggles towns and strangers. He spends evenings

at rural crossroads serenading his shadow, attends

coffee shop readings dressed as Napoleon or Dali.

He burns like a taper in the face of desire's calculus.

Summer is beyond his belief, a superstition of shadows,

a fact impaled on a human rib bone. He shimmers

like oil in water. He grows wings and sheds hair.

He becomes obsessed with Pegasus, spends afternoons

researching Ovid. He draws hieroglyphics on his thighs.

He steals trophies from high school gymnasiums,

adopts Elizabethan lingo, stammers in an eagle's pose.

He traces perfect circles on sidewalks and claims to know

Beelzebub. Nothing stays broken. Motion is a conspiracy,

the flat line, enlightenment appearing like movie credits.

He wears a chastity belt on Mondays and Thursdays,

sorts through mail as if it were the body of some foreign Eve.

Eve is no foreigner. Eve is his enemy. He unravels newspapers

as if he were a plastic surgeon. He collects disappointment.

He lives with a thermometer. He lives with a hammer.

Streets knot like a Persian's hair. His guts meander,

organs as slick as candle wax. He juggles punishment.

The promised land is a dewdrop glimmering on a waxed car hood.

He chases his shadow, bemoans the jazz of divine intervention.

His muse turns to salt on a Sunday in August.

Perfume triggers flashbacks. He takes photographs

exclusively in black and white. He baptizes himself

in a city fountain while derelicts and hospital parolees

croon top-forty songs. Lampposts are possible conspirators.

He discusses the Koran with crows, carves anagrams into a fig tree.

Orange chess pieces scatter like shadows in a suddenly lit room.

Yellow becomes uncompromising. Impulses congeal like gravy.

He thinks of tattooing Eve on his chest, wrist, temple.

He shaves himself, rents fetish movies, spends holidays alone.

No one knows his real address. What is blue holds weight.

Where are the fairies being detained? Pillars in the vagina of Eve.

Eve teaching her parrot to flirt in tongues.

Eve burning, dildo clutched like a mandala; lightning, thunder

following like a trained dog. The young man knows

only deflated basketballs, billboards, bastardized folklore.

Sable and mauve are the cornerstones of his philosophy.

Analysis is an old suit. He opens barnacled eyes onto postcard vistas,

panoramas as horizontal as grief. The mix of vinegar and logic.

A scrapbook. The fissure and the momentum. The jar and the open hand.

Tarot cards and matutinal celebrations. His demotion of orgasm.

He watches tomorrow die as if it were a deer hit by a car.

His emergence is as miraculous as speech, as defiant as conception.

Fragile gods, shivering in the wet wind, behold him with ribaldry.

Their arms drag the ground, atavisms starving for a human light.