Cressid or Carol
In Ferrara, when we
Were in Ferrara, you,
Present and absent,
Said you were Diotima,
The city of Browning’s
You said you were Diotima,
But Plato bowdlerized your body.
Our Symposium in Ferrara
Was the drinking of Armagnac
Off of each others’ naked bodies.
We stayed in an albergo
Proprietored by a Japanese girl,
Who wore a yellow kimono
Embossed with green silk thick-threaded dragons
That snorted vermilion fires
That resembled the tail feathers
Of sun-struck Roseate Spoonbills
We watched on distant grey-shadowed white mudflats
When we were on prelapsarian Sanibel together.
Across the black, slick cobblestone Ferrara street
Was the castle,
The castle where on an orange-tree potted balcony
The bushy-fine-combed-bearded Peter Bembo
Spoke softly and erotically of his appropriation
Of Platonic love, beautiful girl substituted for beautiful boy,
To Isabella d’Este, This Platonic love to be copied by
Castiligione’s into his haute couture The Courtier, a love
That became a Renaissance au courant
tête-à-tête with Armagnac and arrièrre pensée
Until unconcealed by “Alchemist” of John Donne.
I, who no longer
Have a voice,
Whose tongue is gone,
Recall our night
Among our aporias
And our apotheses
When in Ferrara.
In Ferrara, it was
The first time
After many times,
That we first saw each others’ faces.
At that time in Ferrara,
I still had a face,
Although I now have only a skull,
Do you still have a face, Carol.
Carol, can you hear me,
Do you recall Ferrara.
Out of nowhere,
No, no, no, no,
No, I don’t recall Ferrara, Now
I only know, if what I know
Can be called “knowledge”
In this society constituted
That there is no knowledge,
All I know
Here alive among the living dead at Sanibel
In this week-end rented small condominium room
Is duty, obligation,
To a socially constructed fixed, absolute order
Imposed on our aleatory earth,
A fluid earth without divine governance,
Without any providence or mad rule of a traditional God
As in the book we read together and laughed,
Consolation of Philosophy.
Yesterday at about five o’clock in the afternoon,
Exactly at five o’clock in the afternoon,
I reread the book, the book we reread together,
I read the book again
When the evening sun go down,
Vanishing to bestore
On the dark shoreline driftwood bodies
Spines of spiraling vermilion.
I reread Nietzsche’s Anti-Christ,
Thought of when
We were free spirits together
No, no, no, no, we were
Never in Ferrara.
I am in Sanibel
Being caressed by my husband.
Now, I am reduced
To a maternal function.
I have been depersonalized,
Given the status of Klyämnestra
In the Orestica of Aeschylus.
I only am a container,
A safety-deposit box, that carries
My husband’s child
With whom I have no
Now, I am subordinated
To be a surrogate for my husband,
A cheer-leader, a strip-teaser
Unwrapping opaque wrap from her flesh,
I have been reduced to a cipher
Here among the living dead on Sanibel.
My face is missing,
The face I found in Ferrara is gone.
When my husband kissed me,
I lost my face.
When caressed by my husband, Diomed,
Or was he the Frienze’s Accademia marble Davide,
And his sov’reignty.
“To suffer from reality,
One must be a blotched reality.”
I was blotched by believing
What was socially constituted,
Believing the language of lies
Spoken by the living dead.
I, I, am being
Caressed by my husband,
Residing in rural Lakeland, Florida, Duane Locke, Ph. D. (Metaphysical Poetry) has had (as of May 07) 5,877 poems published in print and ezines as well as 17 print and e books published. For more information, interviews, awards, etc. click on Google, he has a half-million entries. He is also listed in Who’s Who in America (Marquis).