On The Face Of Christopher Marlowe,1585 - Poem by Adam Fitzgerald
Dank and of phosphorous hue
from your strict Cambridge frame,
each harsh cheek a white plum
cinched in a pink's slight pinch,
your complexion, blotched powder—
what deft obsequy will you hear?
Your convoluted guise: impassioned,
numb; a stature refusing flinch
where ruddied oils milked your features
to a fine rose-silk, a tapestry
of Orient spice, the precious reds
and precious whites, whitest scents—
immediate, dismissible, alluring.
Your busheled brown hair strands
slouched flamboyantly, a dust,
a tanner's stain-stitched satchel.
Your strident eyebrows arched
as if a nebulous star's froth
tossed into a striding pony arc
coiled taut, tensile whiplashed bark.
Your sandfaded mustache halved
like a willow drenched half-under
the bright red bay of your lips
banked by an effeminate beard—
but these, not the colors I claim.
Rather, the eyelid-silting brown
seething its fixed brown stare,
a hard verb's glare, incensing grip,
a woodsmoke weaved tight to circle,
impenetrably hurt, diaphanous and bare.
In crawlspaces jut from the nose's
slope and the eye's wide slanting V,
the scratched flesh stanchions a tangle,
incredulous white shadows angling
underneath a diminutive, possessing blue
that edges, wrestles the left eye open.
This stark blue that tears the watcher's
from the background's dim, the collar's
flower-flap, the loose collar which wraps
around the narrowing, half-buoyant neck
but—in these hidden blue latitudes,
eschewed from tame concentric pupils,
a swift, chilled flame recedes where
a reservoir and lake's imagined, percussive
air warring while your gaze easily gazes,
spilling across a vast brow-cornered inch
to the eyes—a fabric of onyx rocks
that cast a stinging jag-tooth glint
from the water-crust surface. Concealing
nothing. Revealing nothing. Heaving
in thin heavy veils a petalled light
that weighs these waves to pyramids:
where no person lies, only a presence
split, a wretched semblance of water
rocks rendered with the rest of you,
come from some unknown artist's brush,
a dry, persistent routine gleaming
little of your indifferent sex... You, drowning
proud in fate's shrug, doom encusping
your rich aristocratic oxygenless pose—
yourself your Muse—an incandescent stare—
a solitary, dead, time-orphaned stare.
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