Carmen Americanum: Invocation

By

By CINCINNATUS

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!