Do you ever stop to think about those
Old, old stories bound in myriad cantos?
The kind that are all in iambs and Latin
Or Italian – the language of a world in the grip
Of a renaissance that is seeping drip by drip
Into a darkened age, like so much lantern oil.
I do, but for purely selfish reasons –
I think of them as balm for lesions
That keep popping up in my mind.
Lesions, mind you, that are not literal –
They are but the inlets in the littoral
Region of my morbid thoughts.
When the inlets get flooded, I build leather
Boats to keep myself afloat. Whether
I construct them well is up to interpretation.
I cling to the old stories in cadent verse –
When I am particularly low I rehearse
Them aloud – as my mode of survival.
He never understood that, though –
He never really could, and no
Matter how I tried, it was no use.
He didn’t see that for me finishing
The rhyme kept me from diminishing
Into slow-burning insanity.
It hurts me more than him, too, for
The cliché is palpable, and what’s more
I can’t seem to shake this trend.
And I don’t mean to be so trite, devoid
Of anything new. It’s something I avoid
As best as I can. But I can’t here.
So I join the ranks of old neurotic artists –
Trying to be profound when at my smartest
I am but a poor imitation.
But I have to finish – always finish the rhyme.
Even if I end tritely half of the time,
The show must go on.