Love Song

Though I am more Che than Chavez,
I am still a dove.
I do not apologize

to you. Or to the state
of California. The IRS. New York. That administrator I bit
in the third grade,
who was delicious
and sweet.
I, oh,
so cold.
In the mind, the Dionysian defiles walls
the Apollonian protects.
I am always looking
to take something

down. Usually it’s me.
Two bulls stand on a hill. The younger says,
Father, let’s run down and fuck a cow.
The father, wiser, longer in the horn,
higher on the grass,

reminds his son how Moses was also horned, beamed with light,
that to handle a massive snake,
to charm Pharaoh, to steal fire, to fly, to unzip
the sea, is to speak
and not tap vanity.

Moses descended Mount Sinai with cracked slabs
and saw a golden calf. The father said to the young bull,
No son, let’s strut down and fuck them all.

Thus begins the beef  between bird and bee,
the isthmus isolating
order from chaos.

My mind is made up
of so many different cuts
of meat.
My marbles stay
as mixed
as my metaphors. As my myths.
As myself.

At parties my favorite
icebreaker involves asking strangers
to describe themselves
with three words. Their descriptions
 are a slipping

away to change clothes. Identity and irony
neatly knit in an ugly Christmas sweater.

Sometimes I feel so Socratic: oft-laureled, poison-palmed,
toga-partied, exasperated by the masses:
I wouldn’t have guessed ambitious.
Free-spirited, you don’t say.

Other times I feel like the woman
rambling among the vapors escaping the ground
in Iceland’s volcanic canyon,
making a bus
an em dash
in a rest stop,
where some fifty-odd persons
searching for themselves
in true existentialism

are yellow lupines growing
on the side of the road. An epiphany can
not be achieved,
as a cedar waxwing
cannot be more cedar
qua waxwing. Eventually what we’re looking

for appears. Sometimes incitation opens
at the bottom of a straw, a spoon, a barrel of wine,
the windfall happens while eating farfalle,

while flipping through
The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo. At the moon

me the animal roofs
atop brownstones, sin vergüenza.
Upwards our eyes scamper,
a reflex action,
when inserting an object
in the mouth,

even when the object
is a gun. Over hills a road erodes the way home.
Only after the Coast Guard

has readied a helicopter,
do we
descend the cold volcano in Eldg já
to realize we are the woman

in the search party looking
for ourselves.

to poetry.
In moments of ecstasy

we are lifted

At the shore of the Aegean Sea
or at the banks
of the river Evros,

he loosened his sandals
while Pegasus stamped the soil,
crushing reeds

and hoofing away
stray wood. The sun bandaged
light on a sky

that would not heal.

with eyes heavenward,
formed the shapes of gods into clouds,

slipped his hand
into the woven sack,
and felt the flint

of primped snakes. He thought,
But it is the cold weight of scales that protects.

As sure as a child,
he lined leaves rocked
to sleep by salt
water waves

for a bed,
so as not to,
with sand,
or with hubris,
bruise Medusa’s
disunited head. One day,
like a beam through skylight,

we realize
life is a puddle jumper of  tragedy.
Some stones sink fast

yet still hold light. So phantom are a statue’s
busted arms and toes. Everything must go.

And yet I still hanger hope
when shopping the racks of discount

stores. Veni vidi vici when I see Vince,
freeze when I see the coiled coif

of Versace’s emblem. Like Sisyphus,
errybody think
they headed for the top.

Sing, started from the bottom,
to my reflection
in the dressing room mirror,

now we here boy
when I remember

Oh my god Becky, look at her butt
passes the Bechdel test.

I have eaten from the tree the fig that sullies and seen
that the meat’s not always

I was,
like Perseus
and Sir Mix-a-Lot,
born by a riv
of water,

felled by pride when
a brown boy, tattooed with age,

obsessed with fame, took his talents
to Vermont to kiss trees and tap
syrup from the sap.
There and there
and there, he kissed. Here and here
he drank.
So drunk he hugged an old
white woman
off the ground. None of the gods
I love
love me. To be tipsy

is to leverage one’s self.
Or so I’m told. The pulley
is considered civilization’s

highest achievement.
killed himself

being lifted.
More Poems by David Tomas Martinez