The Melancholia Quartet

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic


Submitted: March 21, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 21, 2018




By Alexander Guinevere Kern

Copyright A. Kern 8-5-07



Beneath the groaning Poe Tree

Cross legged sat I,

Meditating like Siddartha

Under the Bodhi.

Dark bark chamber, gnarled trunk,

Oozing with agitated ants.

I watched them grimly form

Insect hieroglyphics, poem fragments.

And every leaf a word I must interpret,

Expressed along the sentences of limbs, 

The tree a lyric, wooden satiric, 

Shaking melancholic verses at the sky.

The wind strummed the branches,

Lyre-soft. I heard the sky rumbling like 

A belly needing feed, a vessel bursting,

A cousin-wife choking on her own blood.

A black coat and a cat the only

Warmth in winter's chill. 

Proud Shame of frozen Orphans,

And the steady click of death and debt

Clacking their teeth.

My tree shook with manic winds, 

Limbs flailing, leaves unlatched,

Spiraling outward, the verses

All unstrung; the chaos drained

To the twisted roots, speaking their

Own spite and losses to the soil.

Poe seized in his body Electric

And surged, bound, into Insanity.

Nightly, he flung himself through Baltimore's 

Shadowed streets, disheveled, sleepless,

Punctuating his mental frenzy

Finally with Laudanum.

My tree sagged low with Depression

Rhymes. Nothing delirious written

By the ants yielded to ratiocination.

A gold bug chittered on my thigh.

My mind is woeful dead, no

I would never bet the Devil my head, 

But my unnatural Nature

Came not from any kindly God.

My soul is under siege.

My pen palsies over the page.

I smell the color of tangerines.

I hear the taste of Voices.

Poe's quill slashed and arabesqued

The blackness and horror of ink,

Articulating the demon in his psyche.

Automatons and apes, balloons and pits,

Chasms, Prisons, Child-Bride Madonnas

Macabre Mystics, deathless cats

Milky cataract eyes, the dead Possessed

By Life, a man killed by his Doppelganger.

Poe composed relentlessly, buried alive 

In his own Madness. And thus he ranted,

About letters stolen, a masked plague,

Bells, dogs, angels, dwarves.

In a room dark and darker, by candle light

He yanked the teeth of Berenice,

As my molars decayed to ruin

One by one killed by the drugs.

My teeth shatter on opaque words.

I wonder what the Poe Tree

Clasps within its suffering core?

Perhaps an evil sprite like Ariel

Writhing to escape and torment men.

Where my wit, my Muse, my psyche?

My vacant skull escapades with 

Rattling chestnuts, a lucid

Flambeau of thoughts Sizzle on the vine.

There's a seizure in my construction,

And veins too narrow for the 

Tumult of my blood's reply. I'm sick

Of my pharmaceutical anatomy.

On my white cuffs I've scribbled

The name of the Universal Tailor.

Why won't he galvanize

My felled material visions?

I pray beneath the Poe Tree

While a raven picks my lips.

I'm steeped in Edgar's history

Afraid of our communal craziness.

What awaits? The dance of hunchbacks?

A bust of Pallas laughing on a shelf?

A gutter cluttered with blank pages?

Death in Delirium or a pale Life brocade

Stitched up in a drug daze?

Oh, Purple tragedy, Intemperate Poe

Extravagant menace, delivering disaster,

Accept my paean, scrawled with fluent fingers

As perusal of your opus flicks

My poetry into Life.

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