“I Never Really Asked”
I never really asked what you thought,
You know, you seemed in such a hurry, running on
Fumes from that black hole of yours, so fond
Of having checked and verified the sacred spot
You fancied you saw in me,
Marking gestures, every slight aside–
Perhaps a pronoun–to you, the indicative, declined;
Or possibly something sublime in the subjunctive–and if to be
Or not to be were close enough, then I must be an adverb
In the vernacular and some small change. Yes, take another look.
I’ve asked nothing of you, so nothing’s left within the book
To leave to either of us. Note!…in the margin: The one you thought you heard
Cannot see you through the paragraph, so drink your milk before it sours
And give no further thought to me as you while away the hours.
Still it seems the stars remain your entertainment, passion’s flowers,
But to your outer eye above a great and lesser scene built beneath a scrim
And wreathed in valances upon a stage with exits at the splays, the rim
Extended to the orchestra, a raked decline from apron to house; a bower
Of images and idylls constructed from memory, and from the perspicuous tower
Of isolation bathed in time comes pure fantasy as does the very core of that slim
Rift between what think you see as virtue and what falls just this side of sin.
Whether vicarious the experience or seen in flesh, the shower
Of glitter and confetti, of beauteous idols and infinite narration cowers
In the Green Room somewhere between your makeup and the script, a flimsy
Printed page produced by harbingers of dealers in memes and whimsy
To be sold at auction at the first sign of boredom. Yes! says Schopenhauer,
No, thank you! the audience. And who some forty years on will give a damn;
But for now, do you know to whom you’re speaking and just exactly who I am?
…paintings by Steven Kenny…