MasqueradeWhen we shed our masks of Carnival
Like snakes shedding, will we die?
Or will the surfeit of timelessness
Drive the dagger deep into heart
And still the beating emptiness within?
Kipling's question - death by sword or vote?
If living means that pain with strike,
Chiming the hour, half, and quarter -
Why not still the clock? Or is it best
To play the lesser Mary, neither Madonna
Nor Magdalene, but typhoid-bearer,
Plaguing all my friends with woe and grief -
A shallow sadness welling where the heart
I cannot press the asp close to my breast -
For heartless creatures snakebite is no bane.
I give my love to wife and friends as
Oedipus once loved Jocasta. Will this hurt my folk
Or only blind me? Tiresias tells me not...
And no Antigone can throw
The first soft clod to stone me to my burial.
Undying, will my sun-struck carcass
Lie still for crow and raven's laughter?
Or will the eagle pluck my liver, toss it back,
Depriving me of even that company?
Flowers become pathos become bathos.
A dark unfolds where once my soul
In silence stood, awaiting fiat and logos.
It is this vale which troubles me, and
Not the one beyond. The Damnèd need no hope
And so I sit, the minutes and years distilled
Into each beer and shot-glass I consume.
Has the dance ended? Do we our masks remove -
Or has it yet to begin?
copyright 28 May 2000
by Earle B. 'Glas' Durboraw; New Orleans.