I saw the incidence of death, but not the increments of death, the tools and implements of death I knew were there, but did not ponder; just like the moon, it’s always death, wanes, waxes, moons, it’s always death, one analgesic day a month I do not see it, but it’s yonder.
Some shut the curtain, but for me that veil is vanishing; I hope the lying dogs sleep at nightfall and don’t wake death and all its proxies. We have to walk the balance beam ‘tween being good and feeling good; I don’t know if the curtain helps to walk this walk that really rocks us.
When I turned forty, my right eye began to do a weird thing, and then I saw I had been blind: from now to then, I have been dying. See the corpuscular brown crops, in Russia they are called buckwheat, upon my skin? These fleas, they spell that with the dogs I have been lying.
It’ll take my toys away from me before it takes me from my toys, my eye will fail and further fail, my tires will pop, my brain will tire, all fun activity will cease, my hireability decrease, and Jezebel just one more job for which I never have been hired.
So I decided what to do: I will be pretty one last year. I’ll wander in in furs, in tears, dreams, twinkles, nectar, touch of venom… Hide my unsightly overalls! I will perform twilightly strolls, a wet and orphaned orchid on a parched and wrinkled sea of denim.
I’ll drink, pretending to deglaze the vessels death is trained to glaze, make tiny punctures in my skin, fill them with booze to depths Elysian, I’ll buy fishnets and start to smoke, and then I will go up in smoke, the flying whore of Middle West, a dirigible of derision.
Beneath my helmet and panache, it’s true, my irises are washed, one can see how my neck is knit, and time doth flit, and then it flyeth; so I will wipe my painted lip, and I won’t give it any lip, and drift through birches white as sheets with Andrew, who’s my favorite Wyeth.
PS: Although an orchid is mentioned in the poem, the whiskery flower in the photo is not an orchid. It is a tacca chantrieri, which is in the yam family.