A GOTHIC OPENING, 2 OBJECTS, 1 JOKE TOLD COMPLETELY IN MARBLE by Marty Watt

Okay, here we go:
A Gothic opening, 2 objects, 1 joke told completely in marble:
A Gothic opening might be:
At the end of each word stands a poet tonight
Boots and gloves and a hat connected
By a coat even longer than
The silence at the end of a sonnet
Its teeth are Stars
Extracted, this poet; the
Constellations are gynecological,
Penetrated by our gaze like
Tongues into bloody sockets…
How sharp are the howls of
What shapes of the wind
Could shred the marble
Curtains of its smile
Eyes like distant candles torn
From the steady drip of their roots
Hands melting, fingers lengthening
Like icicles in an x – ray of
A windowsill from which,
Clinging, each word dangles.
2 objects could be:
A toaster and a
A bicycle wheel.
A joke told completely in marble
could change each version of the poem – the joke, I mean;
not the marble – joke would always be told in marble. But
here, in this version,
it would go like this:
My face lengthens out behind me like
a shadow made of flesh cast by
sunsets of ever sadder events like:
A solid block of marble is suddenly chiseled
Into an ornate perfect recreation of a bar
Serving marble drinks with marble music playing
And lit by great shafts of marble light, A
Human bartender: flesh, bones, eyeballs, heartbeat,
Breathing all that human stuff
wears a completely marble costume:
Marble shirt, marble mask – even casts a
Marble shadow … SUDDENLY! Self Chiseling, Self
Sculpting Blocks of mechanized marble appear one
After the other like the footsteps of a…. prehistoric giant:
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! white stone dust
covers everything – everyone starts looking like the ghost of
Michelangelo …. HORSES ! well, actually
One horse but in a sudden series of statues
That give the illusion of motion, of it walking into the bar.
A ‘marble’ bar.
We are all some distance from our words: some 3 feet,
some a couple of hundred yards, or miles, some people
like me have their words all towering behind them…. like:
the bartender formerly a mausoleum angel – you
can see where they shattered off the wings …
he stands right there behind his words which come
up to just above his waist, you know: like a bar:
and those words he’s standing behind say,
“Hey Horse, why is your head shaped exactly like
The Pieta by Michelangelo?” He says this
because we’re not in the Flesh & Blood world where
people use a chainsaw for a tongue and teeth
like a keyboard to carve what they mean out of carnage –
arranging the body parts and intestines to express things
all rotting and covered with maggots like: “Why the long face?”
In that world where music covers everything in flesh,
a long face means you’re sad and horses have
long faces in THAT world. In THIS world of marble,
when people are sad, their whole head, face etc.
becomes an exact replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta:
Marble hat, marble sunglasses, marble collar,
marble cigarette. And sure enough: there’s the
horse with its head shaped exactly like The Pieta…
Oh well, guess you had to – you know: “be there:”
staggering among the ruins… the pillars all in mid topple,
the fragments of moonlight, ANCIENT GREECE UP
ON ITS HIND LEGS JURASSIC IN SCALE BLINDINGLY
WHITE IN THE FOSSILIZING STARLIGHT… cathedrals
crashing on the shoreline great staircases
patrolling the horizon…. not a sound… the deathly silence
not one tooth rattling around in even one shaken skull: nothing….
then: wait a minute:
“its’ head shaped exactly like Michelangelo’s Pieta ?”
“its’ head shaped exactly like Michelangelo’s Pieta !”
because, you see, in 1482, the Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro
had commissioned Michelangelo to sculpt a huge horse for him
but Michelangelo never completed it – which
made him and the Duke very sad…
then Laughter sent its’ corridors through the silence….
its’ cold empty hallways through the smooth white silence….
then Laughter sent its’ corridors
lacing through the silence….
and so, as if
Emily Dickinson had been a “Silent Film Poet”
flickering in the dark like the windows of the
All Night Crematorium and
Check Cashing Service….
Her gestures flashing like
a graveyard of lightbulbs at the center
of a moon, luminescent as
bones as fragile as neon
her skin aglow with embers and ash,
there you have it:
A Gothic opening remember:
“the poet at the end of each word
candles torn out by their dripping roots”
the 2 objects the “TOASTER” and the “BICYCLE WHEEL,”
The joke told completely in marble
with “the Marble horse – its
head shaped exactly like Michelangelo’s Pieta,”
and, what I think is a great last line:
“laughter sent its corridors lacing through the
silence.”

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