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March 2009, vol 5 no 1

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Judson Evans

 

A Museo dei Barbari

I.

Like a metalworker buried with his tools I sleep content to have sharp useful things around me. My city was born in the multiple mouths of two rivers. It costs me everything but is worth this steady factoring down. Lightning loops listless, biting letters into drowning surfaces, slumming on the balconies in slow scale patterns, scrawls over palaces. It is worth getting wet to throw coins that catch in the capsized mirrors and chandeliers. Tonight I met a fleet of prisoners coming back from the island and was strongly rebuked for the polite forms I used to address a strapping dark eyed ephebe. Fancy was once the word for imagination, streets lit by tiny oil lamps, one in every shrine … I carve hunting scenes into the sarcophagus of every moment, bless the fish hook earrings you pressed into my hand when you left by the water door.

midnight shop
carnival masks
still unpainted

II..

No great chain is drawn across the Grand Canal, no mines placed in the lagoons, as the skyscraper pleasure ships swamp the piers.

You wear out, you wear down, so beautifully… what you worship, what you are buried with, what you would settle for, what you sleep with…

at the center of the labyrinth
a sea gull
eviscerates a pigeon

III.
At the next table the voluptuous sound of unknown language, young officer with a barrel echo voice and sense of accomplished masculinity. The girlfriend listlessly disassembles a cigarette while he chuckles into a cell phone. You are in disguise in these drab, loose- fitting clothes. You keep sweating through them, as your voice sweats through your language….

all the piercing colors
a cat crosses a wall
of glass shards

IV.

Not the Annunciation Simone Martino expected, reporters swarm,
semi-nude blonde American model posing in a bikini for a local TV commercial in the quattrocento piazza when the soccer player cuts a diagonal across the square, a battle of beauty, Ercole at the Crossroads, yellow shorts soaked with sweat, bandages on left wrist and right ankle. I want to sink to your level, Venice

At the Museo dei Barbari
erect penis gripped in his left hand—
god

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