Patrick White

Rookie (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)

Murder Me Again With Your Voice - Poem by Patrick White

Murder me again with your voice,
the moon, your maculate heart, the weapon of your choice.
I am space, light, water, air, stars beyond your reach.
Meteor showers have been looking for my species for years
And still I thrive like glass eyes with real tears,
in the shadows of your amorous extinctions.

You can snuff a thousand votive candles out.
You can desecrate the shrine where I bury my feelings
like the small bodies of gentle birds
beside the ashes of the dragons that burnt out
like solar flares returning to the source.
You stab at the wind. You can try to ruin the sun
with a pettiness that isn't worthy of the moon
that sends no night bird out to look for you
though my longing says you've been missing for years.

Nothing against you, nothing especially for,
though I thought I saw for a moment Bailey's Beads
peeking through the lunar valleys of your last eclipse.
And there was a time I'd trade two of my fingers
just to have a taste of your lips again as they were
when the apple orchard covered your nakedness
in the blossoms of the first drafts
that couldn't improve on you by revising anything.
Come the first time right, or better not come at all
and they fell, each more perfect than the last.
Now it's like French-kissing a voodoo doll
with pins through its lips that makes everything you say
the martyr of a brutal kind of unspoken curse.

Make it worse, if that's all you've got left to feel.
Get it out. Oxyrhyncus Jesus says that'll save you.
I'm an old ghost. Do you really think
you're my first exorcism? Boo. I'm gone
just like the mist off a morning lake,
just like a gust of stars in the lens of a telescope
that can bring you close, or set you at a distance
just like that piece of tinfoil you wrap
like skin around your heart as if you were saving
some kind of vegetable in the cold shining
you think of as the Pleiades on a binge of light.

Screech, shriek, rave, rake your fingernails
down a blackboard like an ice age in a rage,
like a glacial striations cut into shale
and ambush the mammoth, the sabre-tooth, the dire wolf
of twelve thousand years ago when you stole
the water out of their mouths and returned nothing but dust
like you take the words from mine now
that you've uprooted the garden of your own.

Carve on me like a bone if you must, break my skull
like Pangaea into a synarthritic jigsaw puzzle of continents
and I'll do nothing but diversify my species.
I'll turn the scars in my starmud into calendars and alphabets
and wait for the next golden age like honeysuckle
tangled in a cedar fence after a storm
that strikes at itself like sheet lightning,
after your apocalypse has finished venting itself.

You're a white peony, not a wounded rose with thorns,
though you both shed the moon in common
to get down to the withered jester's cap of the star
hiding like a spider under your eyelids.
You kill me and you kill me deeper into life
not because it's me you hate, but what I refuse
to hate about you as a coward who turns her back
at the sight her own blood on her razors and wrists
and runs like a river system on a starmap
toward the emergency exits of the red giants
even as they're imploding under their own exhaustion
who promise to suckle you on the dream milk
of the poppies who opiate you into believing
you're twice as deceiving as death in Aleppo,
racially profiling the stars in infra red for the Gestapo.

What a silly girl you are, to expect a firing squad
to show up for your rescue, every time you click
your ruby slippers like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz
and tiny eyes emerge from the gigantic size
of the blackholes in your deathmasks like gnats
swept up like stars in your stillborn tornadoes on the moon.
It takes more than a snakepit to make someone an oracle.
However you enrobe it in incense and drugs
and mollify your fear in an exchange of syringes.
More fangs on a hydra-headed Medusa than there are
crescents of the moon lactating with antidotes
as if to say the cure is in the heart of the disease.

Let all those boyfriends you stole like corpses
from a graveyard, believing you were the artistic genius
who was mistress of their vital organs, rise from the dead
as if they'd finally learned to stand up to you
and making a move on your surgical flesh
say, hey, now, mistress, come lie down with us
and see, for yourself, what a heady lover death can be
when you don't take your cliches so seriously
you've rewired your waterlilies to the stars
until they all sting like superclusters of jellyfish
tasing you with the acid rain of your own tears
like rootfires of desire blossoming underground
without a flower to speak of or break through anywhere
you could point to and say, there, I grew that out of love
as if I weren't even trying all that hard
to stand here alone, alive, and beautiful as I am
not as an alibi for dying, but as an act of life
as indelible in its absence it is when it's here.

So go your own way with blood on your hands
and blessings on your head as you wish.
And take a last parting shot at the stars
if you want the last word
as you stand like a likeness of yourself
like a commission you've always had done
by every doorway you've ever stood in like an easel,
and step into a smaller realm than the one you're leaving
as if your eyes were too small for my windows
when you hurled yourself against them
like a housefly against a mirage in an hourglass
being emptied and filled at the same time.

And, yes, I will cry for you with deep regret
I couldn't die for you any better than I did,
and you couldn't live for me
just for the cheap thrill of it.
And then I'll wipe my tears on my sleeve
where my heart used to be
and make my comic entrance into the next world
laughing like a sacred clown at the sublimity
in the enlightened madness of it all
as you back up like a tragic exit into yours,
troubled by the punch-lines in your nightmares
you never got.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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