Calliope props herself up on the crystalline coffee table,
Her elbows protruding slightly into the air around her
Which although stagnant seems just as laced with vodka
As the cocktail slipping down her esophagus.
Bill walks in abruptly,
“My gawd, dear, yerlookin’
Downright peachy today.”
He slappity-slap-slaps her
Across the face and the
Tears come in gamma rays.
“Yer too pretty
Fer days like this,”
Bill tells her plainly.
Calliope tries and she smiles and she
Just wants to sit and read
For a little while.
It wasn’t always like this,
I can recall days when she
Was not so afraid or
Sure, she used a type of
Witchcraft on me,
But love is stronger than witchcraft
And the witches of the Ozarks
Were always so interesting to me.
My mind drifts back to that
Imaginary moment of me and her
Sitting in the apocalypsis canopy
And talking until three in the morning.
In this alternate reality, sure,
It was a little bit like spy versus spy
Or Erin O’Keefe’s untimely demise
But like so many other false worlds
There is no way to predict how
The imaginary may evolve,
Whether they will shed a glorious façade
Or instead bathe in a permanence
While the rest of the dream fades.
Enough of my idealistically creative vomit,
Let’s go back to how it actually happened.
Audrey Hepburn, a recreational drug
That I was quite an avid user of,
Admittedly had at least
A moderate effect on my mindset.
At this point in time I was playing
An endless game of charades as I waited
For Paris to finally give in and sizzle.
But these were only memories
I could not will into existence,
Calliope, on the other hand,
Was like some movie I had seen
Where the protagonist (who is
A writer) creates a being simply
By writing words down on paper.
Imperfections and all, she was
Just like that movie.
If only I could remember the title.
Calliope was spawned by the moon
Which was impregnated by
A goddess of Eastern folklore.
It may seem backwards at first,
But get your mind out of the gutter,
There are more important things to discuss
Than matters of biological impossibilities.
When she landed on Earth she caused
Her own little Roswell Incident and I,
Nevertheless totally enthralled in her mystery,
Came to regard her with a hidden curiosity
Because if you mention aliens nowadays
People will revert to History Channel logic
Blissfully ignorant of Project Blue Book
And of course the great Kenneth Arnold’s
Sighting of a cigar-shaped UFO.
Is beginning to give me a headache.
It was not an immediate
Sort of ordeal.
I was distracted by Harper Lee’s
Hedonistic bore of a stepchild
For what seemed like ages but
Was really only a few months.
I could not get over that
That made my skin crawl
With every misplaced desire.
It took me far too long to realize
That desire is but a streetcar,
And while appearing a tulip,
Calliope’s predecessor was
A frightening prospect despite
How she would tickle my brow
With her dainty petals.
When Calliope came along
I seem to remember her singing
Can you get that? and
I wanna know if you can get to that.
And I was stunned
To say the least.
Her eyes stole my
But gave it right back
Because she was not so unkind
As to let me die of suffocation.
“Gityerself in line woman,”
Bill yells from the porch
As Calliope sighs once again.
She tiptoes over broken glass
And static-filled country radio
Stations grind her eardrums slowly
As she grabs another one of
Bill’s boots to shine.
I’ll keep the details
Cold and impersonal
For personal reasons,
But Calliope never touched me.
She didn’t need to, I suppose,
To inhabit my mind
As well as she did.
I came to accept this
And not touch her either.
Too many tangents,
As other have preached,
Can make one unholy mess.
She became the Calliope of Homer,
The Zelda of Fitzgerald and the
Elvira of Montana and the
Morticia of Gomez, to me.
If that makes any sense.
She captivated me as much as
Laura Palmer and Dorothy Vallens
And replaced every Chloe, Melanie,
Jewelia and Penelope of distant pasts.
I became her something,
She never did clarify.
She need not.
We drifted into the nether regions
Of Frankie Valli and the real reasons
Why I am so hated by every living
Dog-fish, camel and science guy.
I wrote what seems
Like pages upon pages
All in her honor.
Here is an example:
Roses are not the reason I’ve come to hate the color red, violet is a color that’s dangerous to consume. The ghost of caliphates to come previously peppered up some delectably discernible deserters and fed them to us drowned in a marinade made up of the sad-eyed tadpoles who will never learn to hop or croak.
Perverted beyond any rhyme or reason, beyond all of my masculinity, beyond the seasons…
“Renaldo,” she began. “Never speak to me again in that childish voice. Your charms will only work on holistic heroines and heroin addicts and I am neither of those.”
I thought it’d seem
But it came off as
(Section erased due to offensive misunderstandings, cleared up by many beautiful months together.)
She never looks in my direction, does she love me? Does she love me? Annabelle in the afternoon and Maggie in the morning. Gladys while in mourning. She is worth every ethnic minority’s attention and she, an alabaster princess,
will be the last image I want to see before my
She touched me once
But I could not discern
Whether it was in love
Or if it was in haste.
I meant to say hate.
She impales her book’s
Dust jacket with a toothpick
And glances up at me.
I will retain eye contact,
I will retain eye contact,
I look away.
Holy ghosts and collapsing trees
Form the vibrant scenery behind
Calliope, and she’s all I really want
And all I think I really need.
There’s no time for all of this I need to get this
chapbook done (too direct) for her (also too direct) for me for you and the trees (too environmentalist). There is no other direction I can go. I am born I live and I die so very quickly. Calliope please… (No, don’t mention her name. At least TRY to stay ambiguous.)
Clueless when it comes to
The final (final) countdown,
I watch her take the leaflets she
Has collected over the last decade
And throw them in the open air
To sail endlessly.
A pamphlet or two on chemistry,
One I handwrote
That was lost among all else.