the dead aesthetic

In the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa there is,
on a wall,
an illegible scrawl
concerning my regard for you.
I sometimes go there and stare.
Like my self
my body is still a secret, my obscure object.
Tourists overheard:
“circumstance castrates me again”
“love the front of me, honey”
“you crashed against the cranium that cleaves us apart”.

A girl in a pork pie hat sold me a bust of Poe,
telling me it was a dream catcher.
I still see you some nights,
as you were then,
my sometime compatriot.
Watch you lie
as I strip, head to toe,
my skin
from the dead, seductive bones.
Fingers lost in memories of Rapunzel hair.
Vomiting indulgent shapeless wax.

For exposing my method
(every coded confession)
I've buried you in plain sight a dozen times
and every grave is clearly marked.
Yet you're with me now.

In every dream you taste necrotic.
Token perfection
flayed and displayed.
Say goodbye to celibate nights in soft red mist
as we make our last bid for the coast.
Your hand on my shoulder.
The last thing I feel.
Indulging your torture of beached beauty in the surf.
This sea of swollen luckless bodies,
afloat in brine and alien jellies,
exists for you
in a fictitious head.
I would whisper
the standing formula of the heart's desire -
still worthy of honour even here.

Cholera has broken out in Venice.

The dead provide a path across the sea.
We will walk on water in hope of corporeal relief
beneath the Bridge of Sighs.

But the sea serves its purpose
and will prove the destination.
Favoured device of the naïvely dead.

I can scarcely move or draw my breath
as the sea beneath our feet
now swells now moves now lives in final decay.
The sea of rancid meat and broken bone
beneath our feet silently falls for fate.
Smothered in skin again.

Darren Diedrich

If you have any comments on this poem, Darren Diedrich would be pleased to hear from you.