Recital at the Court of King Carrot III

Mortality is itself immortal Leo thought, reminded five
years later of the performance. Having come, despite his
Irish darkness, to resemble one of the Carrot clan
himself. Whatever he had read, and the feelings that went
along with those books, articles and poems, layered his
unconscious now like lava. What was the voice of that
moment, he questioned his uni-ball pen. The playing
fingers, the singer, the wind that came in and made King
Carrot pop his collar. As even the King’d say now, after

Usher. Usher’ll die like everyone else but not for a few
decades yet, touch head. Where Leo wandered as if
streets were wild with flowers rather than construction
Mortality was in memory: mortality was immortality
even. Quotidian checking, marking, jogging things along
(e.g. the economy) these are the columns and emojis of
obituary. The privileged sublime? The working artist
reading the world under a misprinted title, taking
pills to still contradiction, lines of sky gray, and

greenery (tracing the eyeline of buildings’ weed
mascara). The forcing of life through an earth crumbling
with fatigue and love gone wrong: or was that the
humans standing on it? Yes, we all needed some grace
to get from one side of town to the other. And how have
a career without going up some real stone steps? To see
things and write them up, whether on bench or phone
while stopping, or on a keyboard once home. To Leo
death was always shocking: whether blighted cornfield

defunct toaster or road possum. Anything might’ve had
poison tipped into its ear: think of Carrot III slumping as
the piano lid closed, and knocking a candle over. The
singer leaping from her stool, suffocating the flames
before giving the gift of life, making every line she’d
sang that night seem crucial. That’s what Leo—and
probably everyone else who was there—remembered, if
only because a new song about superficial human life
(“A river is thicker than royal blood”) soon ruled the air

More Poems by Michael Farrell