The Murder of Beauty / The Beauty of Murder

"If you cut off my hands, I'll offer you my stumps."
If you knock out my teeth, I'll still go down on you, conscientiously,
vine along a trellis, and suck you with my gums. 
If you smash my toes, employing an ice crusher, one by one,
I'll heal myself with such truancy that someday I'll run on my knees.

"If you cut off my hands, I'll offer you my stumps,"
and orchestrate a standing ovation with the memory of my hands
representing each that are dying, each that are dead,
each forgotten that we refuse to remember like the lost hands of stumps.
So much misery in plain sight like tears streaming down a face;
so much misery hidden like the eventuality of the anti-Christ;
and so much incognito like the accompanying instruments of a torch song:
like the fire in the torch itself, like the torched interior of the song.

If you cut off my ears, I will listen with my eyes
to the spitting death of cavalrymen as they're roasted over an open fire;
to the smallest bones snap, dry as sun-seasoned kindling
of the young and truant witch when she's pressed by a thousand stones;
to the brave convulsions of the communist
strapped in the electric chair, dying by degree...not unlike the commonfolk
plucked from the village, arbitrarily, one last December night,
stripped to the flesh and heaved high into the freezing air
upon a whittled stave, tall and sharp, thrust deep into the asshole
they die by degree, ever so slowly and often only
(if not by freezing first, which, if merciful, God deems)
when the wooden point finally pierces the brain, brain-dead already
from the mauve anticipation and ear-splitting prerequisite of pain.

If you cut out my tongue, I will write you a letter,
a love letter lovelorn for that taste of your tongue.
If you fuck me hard I can never make love again,
I'll plant hyacinth bulbs in an effort to replace my abolished fecundity.
I will turn eternally on my side and pull down my pants
and listen to your masturbate while fantasizing about my ass.
I'll admire the willow out the window when I hear you come
and allow as if in tribute to the times I used to participate,
a vague expression of pleasure, albeit contrived to wash across my face
the way my desire for you, real as a willow, once had done.

Tory Dent, "The Murder of Beauty / The Beauty of Murder" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2015 by Tory Dent.  Reprinted by permission of The Sheep Meadow Press.
Source: Collected Poems (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2015)
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