rain drips among grieving graffiti on the outer wall,
& inside, the ghosts of forsaken lovers linger in the loneliness.
away from the criminal streets, bird flies high & wolf howls
a dirge of simpatico.
they had pretty names, the women who said they loved me. & one
who did not, but I saw the neon flash of those words when I plundered
deep into her heart. they spoke the Italian lust of sonnets & the desire
of odes. affairs of the sordid belong to the shadows.
the passion of my poems & the sorrow of my noir urged them to take
me as a lover, till they discovered that the avenging angel of romance
only leaves a woman to cry. we fade out without saying goodbye.
the furious dark is pierced by the pallid beams of the moon, projected
like an old movie; as if Bogart were still in that Paris train station,
the Paris rain falling, & Ilsa – gone to another man. the arcane
night breaks into a Gothic symphony: the weeping of ghosts,
the howl of a wolf.
but I am merely a drifter & a soldier. the song of myself
is written to the stormy skies of perfidy –
and I dance for the war…
(Art: Thomas Eakins)