by Zinta Aistars
The letter marches on, proud soldier that it is,
straight-spined, stiff, pinched mouth,
with crisp salute: “Salutations! Sir!”
Sharp marching lines, orderly and neat,
paper edge to edge of paper, until
the lines begin to slip –
an almost imperceptible slope
downward, each one degree more
than the one before,
heaping at last in a landslide,
all precariously to balance by a breath
on the point of a pin: the period.
But what have you said? What war won
in this hail of grammatical epiphanies?
What black gold of wisdom
washed clean from this endless
rippling and rippling and puddling
of lines, this frenzied mad life of letters,
these corrupt revelations, these lurid gut spillings,
these spirit festerings and sold soul wailings,
this strip show of the mind?
Page eight – long last the final conclusion:
madness has overtaken all.
The soldier has spilled his seed of discipline,
a sadly crumpled uniform, soiled
gleam of a once golden epaulet,
thrown at the stripper’s bare feet,
her painted toes a chipped and wounded red,
her soles a confession of nightly grime.
Sincerely yours, sir, and best regards.
We have marched in our battle and pole danced,
blinded by an inner siren of false light.
Yet another empty memoir,
whistled away hopes gummed to the back
of an adhesive stamp – where once
there was a flick of moistened tongue
across a minute square of detail
pasted like a kiss, chaste,
expectant, on a pale
forehead, enveloped in anticipation:
I will travel, I will march,
parade from this page
to your virginal eye,
glassy with mute innocence, unaware
of this war of words to besiege
yet another blissfully unwitting mind.