A Pirate's Pilgrimage
(for Maraman Glossenger)
Once I vowed to leave a buried record
in all the places whose exotic rites
I had attended or arranged.
It was wonder and desire
and the impulse of science.
By devious means of odors and photons,
the part of ourselves
that stays locked in dreams,
I would make a map of all such treasures:
"Here, beneath the lowest branch
of the southernmost magnolia tree
in Jackson Square, two feet under…"
Envisioning my old age and the final tour,
a last word in sentimental journeys,
I would dig these poems up and read
for everyone my black and golden histories,
those rhapsodies and exaltations
that followed me through continents
and vanished in the plenum with a sigh.
Always I would know the right place
to dig, and the perfect instrument.
And if ever I should have to stop
it would be the stasis of a hovering angel
whose wings are made of isinglass
to cast the spectra of that world
where life was turned to words
and skeletons were buried with the gems.
Finished now with voyages of discovery,
no more in command of my ship, a derelict,
I have one eye, a peg leg,
a jaded parrot on my shoulder;
the spots where my treasures are buried
are likely marked with busy monuments
about five hundred feet tall.