Amort in Gaul
The lights of Nice are addled with tinctured gules;
the men are lions wearing Templar crosses.
The addled lights of Nice lost in Anhedonia,
and soldiers scurry out of frame.
Woman with a Hat and wistful eye,
Woman Reading with hunched back
turned in straight-back chair,
Roman roads roll out their tongues
to be sliced for speaking proud things,
crisscross the trenches of the Great War.
Ditches sludged with the berry juice of wattle lips,
brim full with the perversity of mischief,
silenced by the gerund color of geraniums.
Down in Arles the water lilies tarnish
compared to those given at Giverny.
Down in Arles the hotel rooms
do not resemble Japanese prints.
Vibrancy sinks behind Arles in russet,
stars at night blur into the Rhone.
And Paris, mauve Paris, suave Paris
of the radial winds, the turbines blasted
stinging shrapnel through those unlucky
smoking next to Jolouisie windows,
this when the bombs fell on the plazas,
the places where the tricoteuses used to knit.
The lifeless countryside split by partisans.
The bodies cast and dumped upon the Seine.
In Rouen, the city strewn in ruins around
the burning stake. In Drancy, no visions,
voice of God, or fancy Saints helped along
the road towards the tomb of Charlemagne.
A gaoler guides naked troubadours in a desdansa
of groaning lamentation for the bloody history
of France, so much beauty, so much death,
too much wine left drying on the vine
and so many artists overwhelmed.
Fear the processions, the confessions,
the haloes hovering above
misshapen heads of twisted horns.
Fear the urge of the wheat fields,
the call of the cypresses impasto,
Xanthopsia yellow of a house, a chair.
Be afraid of black crows gliding low
over a troubled and a dying pasture,
over a man with a missing ear,
beyond his flat and empty stare.