Chad Parmenter

from Vivienne's Recovery


12.25.44—The Art of Losing
Masters.He Do the Police in
Differential Voids. Je n'est jamais
un Autre, Je est un Auteur


His greatest poem of modern times
Was just a ruin of my own.
What different voices in me rhymed
He tried to turn to style's gold bones,

To write a shrine to his own fear,
Less hell-mimetic text than mine.
World-war: too far. Wife-whore: too near.
He wrote at night, by my scars' shine.

I could not break him into fame.
He hated me. So here we are,
Me vivisectioned down to name,
And him become a hard, dark star.

So what in me still hisses this,
"My loving Nothing, why have you
Forsaken me? Come, livid, kiss
My scars away. I will be true

And kneel in modern pilgrimage
Outside your tower door, until
You need me to crawl in and tinge
Your scars with personhood." I still

Remember newsreel-clearly how
He'd take revisions, with the strain
Of two selves in his shallow brow,
One far too scarred, one way too sane.

His look—an infant's infinite need,
The hate of mother for her breast.
He'd snatch the edits from me, read
White-faced, but change what I'd suggest:

"What ThunderWas" to what it said,
"Heart sparks" to a blood-shaken thing.
His pentametric work was dead.
My scars, my choir made it sing.

With all my voices, even in
Remastering him so, I knew
I was a liability. And when
He scarred me in his lines, into

A mad crowd of bad shrouds, I might
Be drowned so his own fame might grow.
Good night, sweethate. Goodnight. Good light
And rain's art make thy waste lands grow

Away. He wrote no poems. Waste, storm,
His thunder never said a word,
Just made their child's crusade on form,
Into the New: my voice, unheard.