Friday, April 29, 2011

23 of 30

writing exercise # 53

Theda Bara in chrome

It's the retro-futurism of the aluminum diner,
chrome and saltshakers, the formica and mirrors
of the hyper-realist painters, everything gleams like
new teeth, like rocket ships and chevy bumpers
and she walks in, a cloud of sand, a palpable darkness
hovering over bones

To be good is to be forgotten.
soundless, on her black lips
her eyes still burning, like they can peel back
the plastic countertop , to unbeing
she is the devourer of boys, unlight

laughing silent at the ghost of Mary Pickford,
draped in monochrome flowers and saccharine strings
she lounges across the vinyl seat,
all langour and shadow,
black wings and jewels

bride of the sphinx, weaned on serpents blood

the waitress comes, all messy blond and soft south
a red red mouth,
and Theda rolls her eyes.
the coffee is black and starless,a shewstone,

there's a dead cincinatti girl in a grave
and theda sits over her bones,all whispered story
crowned in snakes, white gold and skin
an exhalation of steam from black coffee
witch of burning celluloid, the magic lantern show

always silent, a pantomime of desire
of hunger, of arab death and starless desert
of the hunger of empty places

the well lit dining room, the gleaming meringues
spinning in a chrome case, the weary wives
over eggs, the husbands and babies
and grease

and Theda, dark spot against the light
in the corner of your eye
other lover, wife of the dark
always hungry at the feast
always childless, the envious one, with the owl's feet
haunter of lonely places, robber of cradles,
pale madonna, upside-down saint
torturer of monks, lover of stagnant water

the dark is not a mask you take off at the end of the day
not a face you pretend to wear, an outfit to hang
in the closet,a poster, a reel of film

it swallows you in the end, hungry ghost
lost in the idol raised in your name
they hang thick in the air,
supplication and sacrifice of
american gods nameless and unforgotten

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