Narcissus and Orpheus Hangout
An unlikely pair to become confidants,
a songbird, self-lover in reflected
For the modern age they are like gamblers
in a casino spinning the slot machine
lady luck to appear in swishing skirt
and pearl necklace. They would prefer
smoke-filled barroom, any vacuumed
mask to hide behind, for that is their
one of underworld moments continually
running from the milk-filled sun.
they sit having a little wine, a good smoke,
reminiscence about presenting garlands
roses, sweetmeats to all the pouty-lipped
things that they entranced
they lived in the light like two geese
fluffing feathers before the long migration
Narcissus knows they are not so different,
like twin contrails following a plane
an inevitable destination. He says,
if we could get above ground one more
you would be like Sting or Jagger playing
the gig and oh how the groupies would
to the show. You would be a god, man,
and use your head in more ways than
But why would I do this? I love only
one woman that the gods decree cannot
Illusion. That which is dead is dead.
You can never go back to that which never
For me, I seek only the hunt and those
who can find no reason not to eat from a
This, boys and girls, is a tale about
Narcissus. A broader spectrum, bigger
brush, revisionist history put out like a
child’s tale, easy to understand and sweet
So here’s the tale kiddos. Once
upon a time the most beautiful
lad in all existence (in his mind)
was forest wandering in just a
He was lonely,
he was depressed,
he was sad—he had
no Facebook page for others to
marvel at his perfection,
for no lass could match
He knew he should be a politician,
or a rocker
like Leo Mick—destiny to be adored,
admired, looked up to, maybe even
get a doll named after him.
Thirsty and miserable as a guy who
threw away the winning lottery
ticket, he stooped to drink from a pristine
And lo! like the angels’ epiphany
at Christmas time, like a blue-light
special firing up the show, like a
virgin about to be deflowered,
as Narcissus bent to drink
what he saw peering back freaked
him out like the clown on America Horror
Skin burned and
crinkled like a
70 year old beach babe
who didn’t use high enough
SPF, a hunchback like
some comic figure in
the horror the horror cried
Marlow, this heart of darkness
A wise man who looks like
Yoda comes hobbling along,
takes one look at poor Narcissus,
tells him that it will take a hell
of a lot of therapy to fix this—the
dark side of the force is strong,
but maybe some good night cream
Brews up postmodern potion,
new age dream.
Not what Narc baby wanted to
hear. He called on Castaneda
who used a bit of peyote to go
into the inner realm who called
up don Juan Matus from that
place where time and space
have no significance.
The Yaqui sorcery said I can sorta
fix this, but here’s the deal:
You go to sleep and when you
wake up everything will be cool
as a cucumber on a hot summer day.
But, nothing lasts forever, and if
some of the old seeps through to
others, little by little my spell will
Cool, said Narc, and slept.
don Juan brewed up a juice
worthy of MacBeth, poured it
all over the sleeper like slathering
honey on toast.
The next morning at the pool
Narc gazes in. Staring back is a
face as beautiful as a swan, a turtledove,
a bird in both hands.
He is happy.
He is ecstatic.
He is in love, baby.
Just wait till the world sees him now.
He’ll own every babe around as easy
as putting pennies in a piggy bank.
Hits the nostalgia bars, disco scene
first. Dancing away like John Travolta
until one girl says what’s wrong with your
Nothing nothing I am perfect!
Grooves on the lounge lizard scene
taking in that sultry music until
the waitress says what’s wrong with your
Nothing nothing I am sublime!
Tries a vintage 1940s bar where a tribute
group plays the Andrews Sisters.
What’s wrong with your face?
Nothing nothing I am loved by all!
He goes home and stares in the mirror.
His face is peeling away like the
emperor without his clothes,
Mama mama! he cries. This cannot
be. I am the most beautiful of all.
He has no fairy godmother to call upon,
his supply has abandoned him.
Deep in the forest the wicked
witch smiles at his misfortune,
stares into her mirror and says,
mirror mirror on the wall,
who is the fairest of them all?
This is what they do, in old buildings
quilted by dirt, or in the nitroglycerine
heat of a pounding bar, at home or
abroad, in manic moments of complete
wrong electrical wiring, the target
honed as sharp flint, seen as the Prince
or Princess flickering by on the movie
screen behind their eyes that is their life,
you become the gold to crack their dross,
you are the perfect rock to steady their void.
She will say—there is a field that I know, a
perfect arena out beyond right and wrong
that only the special can know.
I’ll meet you there.
But the garden is full of sharp stones
painful to walk upon. If you bleed a bit
at first you don’t notice, entranced by the gilded
canopy weaved all about. When she bends at the
pool to gaze at her reflection emptiness
stares back. She turns to you and smiles, a world
without empathy, Germany in World War II.
She would like for her scar tissue to be cut away,
but knows not the disease.
She will say—I am never nurtured enough.
That field is only for me
not for you.
Always always the victim, the outcast, tattered
scarecrow on the edge of the field, abandoned
to birds, to air, to earth and dirt, the way that
you will be abandoned, devalued like an old
doll, a shipwreck moldy and sea-grown on
She will think—one apple from the basket is never
enough. I must eat my fill of all that is desired
for this is what I deserve.
Fictions are transparent glass fables told
in looking for the reflected image that never
materializes—Aesop race toward her Zeno mind
that Achilles can never win for beguiled
witchery is complete.
She will think—this pet has been groomed too long.
Reality is what I feel, what roses that I make, and now
the Prince goes back into the pond as a frog.
As Dante’s centaurs, she races away, behind a river of
boiling blood. There are many arrows left in in this
false Diana’s quiver.
Many targets in the field.