Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,678 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Until The Morning Dawns - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

At the certain hour after the country has
finished its bath it goes downstairs
to its room and towels off in the dark corner
kneels beside the bed the sun is under it
when the cats are on the fence and the
boxers have finished lacing up their gloves
and the country says a prayer to its manager
and goes down to sleep while
David Letterman is amusing two people
in the living room but the rest of us
have opened the door between our ears
and taken the stairwell deep down in
our throat through to our secretly decorated
dens dimly lit antechambers just south of
the 17th vertebra filled with the selected
ghosts we wish to drink with that particular night
you walk over in the room and fill the
glass of an ex-lover with gin and watch her eyes
she has him in their candle’s flame,
but she promises one drink with you before
she leaves if only because there’s John Wayne
playing pool with Kurt Cobain and
Pocahontas is sprawled out naked
on the Indian rug with Princess Diane
they are doing the hum of your dreams
the dead people who you’ve thought about
opening through you taking leaps from your open
jaw drooling on the pillow pretending you know them
you sit with the rest of your country on the divan
to watch the interaction of selected parts held up
with you in the backyard of your mowed gut;
a religious person might call this room your soul,
but you figure it is actually a strange inner-body
void that connects you to the bohemianism of
an early 20th century impressionistic French cabaret
in which you imagine leggy courtesans walking up
and down the nightlife in the Montmarte district
of Paris through the ten year old interplay of
adolescent eyes across a South Florida courtyard
in your high school drunk on vodka the last day before
Spring Break when someone sets off a quarter-stick
of dynamite near where you’ve been quietly
dancing drunk, watching a special ed. African
American girl smiling at you, believing in the
beauty of a single extra chromosome, like a new
born puppy dog/ when the principal and the
circus midget hustle over to you
on the stage with the leggy dancing French
women doing the high-step, asking if you saw anything/
when you hold your breath and don’t
declare that you most certainly saw the
ghost of Baudelaire hang-gliding in
a static capture in a deliberate spot
30 feet above you trying to outdo Jesus/
and because Vodka don’t smell, and you’ve
been drinking it out of a two liter Sprite bottle,
the establishment and circus clowns leave you
alone but next year Mrs. Inglis expels you from
High-school yearbook staff, but not after you’ve
posed for pictures in all the clubs you
were never in like swimming, track and field, canoeing,
scuba diving, chess, checkers, and Chinese water polo,
science, mathematics, aerodynamics, the Young Conservatives
Clubs of America United Against the Kennedys and Gay Marriage,
and The Gay and Lesbian Cat Tranquilizer S@x Club/
relaxing back in the static room
30 feet inside your chest you
realize Princess Diane and Pocahontas
have gone off to find someplace inside you that is private/
and the ghost of your ex-lover has dissolved back
into the current body of a current lover’s bed undoubtedly surrounded
by the manicured lawns of her newly adorned c@ck with good paint
job/ and all that remains in your soul is a pool table with
unfamiliar eyeballs blinking in Morris Code
at your back/ when you saddle-up to the bar
and finish off a bottle of whiskey with the ghosts of
John Wayne and Johnny Cash
with Baudelaire drunk under the table serenading you
little bits of beautiful poems until the morning dawns.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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