Poetry by Duane Locke


Cressid or Carol

In Ferrara, when we

Were in Ferrara, you,

Present and absent,

Said you were Diotima,

When in

The city of Browning’s

Last Duchess,

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.

Carol, Carol,

I, who no longer

Have a voice,

Whose tongue is gone,

Asked you,

Do you

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,

From nowhere,

Carol speaks:

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,

Only power.

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

In Ferrara.

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

Blood relationship.

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,

Or Tarquin

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,

My face

Is gone.

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).


One response to “Poetry by Duane Locke

  1. We didn’t feel this piece fit in with the rest of LT, however, it is still an interesting poem and we are glad to have it in the mix, and that’s the great thing about LT – sometimes you can have your scotch with soda and sometimes you can drink it straight.

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