N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 3 : S p e c i a l E d i t i o n
L o n g P o e m M a s t e r p i e c e s o f t h e P o s t b e a t s
DENYSE DU ROI
Because I Chose Her
We’d go in the amphitheatre
dine on bread
voice of Lear of Pericles
having broken the unwritten.
Your life leisures in three parts.
You miss it.
I spy through a seven foot crack
that extends from Pasolini’s eyeglasses
to a dying monkey at Brooks Air Force Base
Part One isn’t quite La Bibliothèque.
It is fluctuating attention & fear of falling
it is eating as a ritual
& cannibalism a deflation of instinct
pivoting on Your Eminence, shanghaied into
genuflection before the conception of owl
feathers under pillows, keeper of dreams,
& the hermit diamond’s inviolate table of contents
Your cohorts face an androgynous courtship
dizziness in verse collective (mosaic & cinematic
vision) in the Holy Spirit the Lacemaker the I Ching
THE MORTAL PERIL THAT LIES IN WAIT FOR MAN
WHEN HE DARES TO CONFRONT THE ANIMAL-GOD
S A C R I F I C E:
of flying sauer
of gelatinous mass
of guide, in dream
of glass house, ice, healing
of limbo, plum tree, medicine
of labyrinth, doublings, dogs
of quicksand, theft, medicine
of Heraclitus, Gustav Mahler, Tommy Nashe
of how the city of Saint Francis
that tight-fisted grey rose
rose of high tea & nightly treats which, depending on your mood,
tend toward private
showings of VIRIDIANA, of how it suddenly
became Johannesburg, subway delusions
sequestered into a pyramid of the lost.
With the certainty of a pallbearer, a toast.
Part Two is bicycling in.
You take back 1/19th of a step.
It has something to do with nervousness.
“Paler than nature & all sleep standing,”
you dream or you die, eh, Mr. Burroughs?
A toast, then, Violet Eyes, to dead sure love &
having the long impalpable arms that occupation requires.
“Mercy I cry City” seemed important once
& now this
pure pleasure of Parsons Green rising off the
tracks like a train depot in Missouri, artifacts of
& now this
A man elaborating on the real killing fields
of wood, a polished clearing where the stereo
console came to rest & he never could, starting
up at two, three, four a.m. to march to Apollinaire’s
grave & coming instead to where Jim Morrison’s Eros
Hotel’s been mismanaged into balconies of dead film
directors, sweeling pockets of Gaudi.
The windows say, “It is not you.”
I look at my part of the sky with your vision &
The windows get bogged down in semantics, beyond
Chartres & the highway apostle, windows outstammering
the kilometers. Autoerotic fatalities, I thought you
would magically appear
to coincide with Eurasian cheekbones or
the color of Michiko’s kimono. Preponderance of the
self-taught, it’s DEATH AND THE MAIDEN all over again,
on a vase painting in Palermo, the sea & the sea-born
Part Three is an airport.
Haven for strangers, a black-mouthed chrysanthemum that’s
straightlaced some mum affair, but still & foremost, the
solemnity. Your channeling of Marlene Dietrich is structured
with many spectators like the Old Vic. In the backyard,
that perfect remnant of winter. Then I am a widow,
here by the wheel. Because I chose her, she has many
daymares to choose from, faked-up, non-smoking Girl Scouts
out of uniform whose body, one, a chart this glacial nun
has memorized only to say, “Your veins are tired of this
business.” Dying of not dying, the women in that desolation
screamed like the animals
the woman in that vial, held up to the almost blue
invisible burner, questioned the nature of that gift
tied with ocher & russet strands
speaking to compensate for sleep paralysis, a Poe tale
of indeterminate length (Is it as big as a bread-box?)
turning the moon into an archaic symbol of an issue
we no longer pretend to address
“Phenomenology of disintegration,” he said.
Angels temper the discomfort of the world.
Have you always spoken in a monotone?
Does it tarry between October & February
benign with maturity & gravity
(the face depicted in a French noël)
Is it May in a Liberty print dress
moving toward lucidity & computing the need
Do you want to do business under a fictitious name?
love object, ruse, miracle of the rose, Beate Beatrix, objet d’art
“none of my business” these “corridors of power
wrought into the figure of a sun
Who to turn to:
George Bernard Shaw
And make an appeal, an inherent maternal element that solves
the Sphinx’s riddle.
Thin of it, Revlon yanks the rabbits from all its hats.
HER countrified blush anywhere from cinnabar to Oedipus Red,
like Verushka in Lady Chatterley’s Lover
nosegays of bleeding animals
sumptuous as the military build-up
it’s reciprocal into the bargain
daisy-clipping, disinheritance, dreaming
academia: amphitheatre of the palest & death’s head comedy.
Eyes darker if I wait, she says, “Geese shouldn’t hiss at
saints.” Eyes like gaslights at my approach.
Like now, I need an animal, freezing in my tenement mink.
He who would be valiant be, the coat is healthy with a
sound heartbeat. “When I close my eyes, I see a pyramid.”
in the Statue of Liberty’s face
Paler than nature
& all sleep standing.
[Published in Filmmaking (Pantograph Press, 1992) by Denyse Du Roi.]
Denyse Du Roi is the author of the book of poems Filmmaking (1992) and co-author of Sphinxeries with Anne Waldman (1979). She studied at the Naropa University Kerouac School in the late 1970s before moving to Berkeley. Anne Waldman wrote of her work: “Denyse Du Roi’s poems are complex weaves, meanderings, montages of rich imagery and language which juxtapose the lush with the ordinary, the ancient with the contemporary.”