His greatest role…


His greatest role left them all exposed—
   that hurt, sad ineffable; that fine, fierce improbable;
   that coarse, pathetic, exalted and invisible...
As an actor, he can’t hide under it
   As a player, he can’t mask it—
   the comedian in his skull, that fictive,
   insurmountable, unstoppable, raucous man...
It’s his finest role—call it love then, if you must
   Enthralled by the everyone of it, by his deft ascent—
   How everyone who sees it says they know
Her scorched self-hatred, her angry unbending, endless grief—
   downright anorexic, I’d say…pathetic, she thinks that
   if she eats now, she’ll always deserve the same harsh, craven, crazed hunger
500 years ago everyone looked pretty much like us—
   a bit shorter perhaps, stubbier maybe, rounder, more confident,
   and they dressed so strangely…
   Just look at those brackish, baroque, intricate, intimate paintings
In order to destroy her needs, she destroys some things that she loves
   Her pleasure in deprivation so far outstrips,
   is so much hotter for her it seems, than in pleasing herself
She isn’t insatiable
   Envious perhaps, somewhat pigeon-livered, definitely afraid
   Everyday brings her new deadlier deprivations
She’d brag about how much pleasure she’d had the night before
   She’d say “Anyone who got lucky last night
   go ahead, walk through that door”
   Then she’d merrily, ostentatiously walk right through
And the person who was with her last night and loved her truly
   Who loved the way she smelled, when they were sexually aroused,
   who loved her very walk—that person was you
Some of these memories never happened
   or never happened to him...
   He’s often happiest to hide behind some blithe, intricate hallucination
Here are some of his stranger, gaudier roles:
   Get this—he’s a witty, redeemable, former optometrist with a murderous, hidden past...
   Or this—he’s a smiling, demented, bible thumping, violent, Machiavellian dentist
   And only he could so fully epitomize and so thoroughly inhabit the guise
of an unstable, happy-go-lucky, gun-wielding, foul-mouthed, cigar chewing podiatrist...
   Why couldn’t she find the right food?
   Why couldn’t she learn how to live?
He dreamt of his shoes
   He just had them shined but in his dream
   they showed no signs of that
They looked rugged and old like travel...
   Pictures sometimes fail to fully inhabit his past
   His staunchest, vigorous, virile past
   She trusted him enough then to fall asleep in his arms
They’re holed up in a boat together—it moves
   so gently, like they’re not moving at all
   like they never intended to move



-February 17, 2012-