Death in Venice

April 20, 2020

Oily water, rusty cages,
lion’s paw limp through wrought iron bars.
Butchered, bloody body found:
ringleader of a dead circus.

Yellowed teeth, black keys
of an orphaned gila monster.
Last notes of Tosca’s wails smothered,
trampled beneath pale green hooves.

A whisper fogs the window,
breath hot with stale whiskey, urine,
rotting teeth, raw red meat -
that intoxicating stench.
A gaunt, beckoning, beautiful shadow,
Death come to life.

He lures me to the night sea.

To shake the city stink,
smell salt and spray,
escape the black and blood of these foul canals,
let waves wash it away.
I crave quietus.

But the knife’s glint is less haunting
than the open abyss,
those dark, watery catacombs beyond
this mortal maze
entraps me.

I paint reptilian wings and hieroglyphs
inside peeling, grey walls,
brew the living macabre in mason jars,
pour lucid nightmares, devout mementos,
into this 1935 Underwood Standard.

He is the love of my life.

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