Love—play the tune of that summer
And the tune of many summers before
Tune of cool English summer turning into fall
Ominous tune of metaphorical Italy—
Is that where my love began? Is that where
I made it? For this love, my love, it did not
Pierce me like the angel’s arrow maiming
The soft skin of St. Theresa’s bosom
No—I was the angel, I held the arrow,
I turned its poisoned tip against my own
Pubescent chest, I thrust it in to the hilt—
I bled in the incarnadine Roman sunset.
That same July I bled to death I gave birth
A tropical, wintry birth of melancholy
A genesis of pregnant wish unattended
Of desire bursting out of my fingers
And into the page. And so that god was born
Out of the sea foam of the stormy Pacific
Crashing against Californian cliffs
And the orange of western sunsets.
And powerless face such beauty and rage
I wrote on, I sang the Theogony of love
A mythology of American proportions
Of red hair, white skin, blue eyes
A colossus, a giant, a hero, a god—
A fiction that filled my bleeding heart,
A song whose melody matched the tune
Of that summer and many more
For how could I have known that I was to be
My own Pythia? Human that I am, how
Was I to guess that I was writing my story,
My myth, my fate, my future?
That summer I sang the story of another
Summer that turned into fall
Summer when reality turned into dream
Into story, song, epic, myth.
I play the tune of that summer now,
I who was given the gift (or is it a curse?)
Of sight, I who became tropical muse—
I who fell for the American god.
The Indy Forum Board proudly presents this poem as the first in an original series titled, Carmen Americanum. Please contact [email protected] with any comments or questions!