Drinking at the Stray Dog Cabaret
Paint is all very well
but it’s messy, you can see
the brush strokes, their shadows
compromise the edges. What I need
is pure colour, straight from the curved
stripes of the rainbow, one hue at a time.
Birds are all very well
but they flap, shit, squawk, coo
their feathers are all different sizes
tail, wing, belly, head. What I need is
pure flight, suspension in air without noise or wind
an angel without God or gravity, spirit without propellers.
Poetry’s all very well
but it rhymes and scans, its lines
strap you into carved Imperial chairs, tie you
to the headboard of a four-poster bed. What I need
is words that never sleep, a futuristic babble, glossolalia
ancient words that only unborn babies understand, pure sound.
Lapdogs are all very well
but they’re too docile, too eager to listen
to their mistresses, too prim to piss on satin
dresses. I wear leather trousers. What I need is
an untamed bear, roaring as he bursts through the mouth
of his winter cave, clatters through forest and slush, pure hunger.
Rhymes are too docile for untamed birds
to understand babies strapped by leather rainbows
into carved glossolalia. Imperial trousers compromise
the pure hunger of propellers clattering through angel babble
without wind or gravity. What I need is a four-poster God without noise
or feathers, a headboard of unborn words that coo and piss but never sleep.
© Nancy Mattson
Sing, you numbers, if you think
your little metal vocal cords can squeeze
open wider than the space
between a bullet and a barrel
or the trigger and its finger.
Play, you numbers, if you dare
to let your clock-hearts find
a rhythm other than tap-drip
from a lime-encrusted faucet
or hail-drum on a quonset hut.
Dance, you numbers, if your feet
can shake off the marching orders
of your army boots, or kick away the mud-clods
that break your pace as your heart-rate
accelerates across no-man’s land.
© Nancy Mattson