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Francisco Cavalier

i


Free-form your way next

to stairwells, push the prize

cart you wish you’d won

and earn a trinket

for a sage and his ad

vice.


Very well. You’re stoned again

and you say this really is

your final lyric,

that there’s nothing left

to sing about


and at least your cake’s

not left in the rain,

like the farcical Richard

Harris song

from May of ’68.



ii


She sold her vinyl albums,

lip-syncing to Troy

Bannister,

and even he knows

Esmerelda’s Spotify

is a sellout.

And we’re all so disappointed.


The Coven has yet to meet—

at Equinox, she’ll play standing

on her head. The harp that

no one wanted.

Troy, cast away your moniker,

the edge of night has passed.

Make a record without reverb

and throw your cowbell

to the wind.



iii


Bring me sherbet. Bring me wine

made by the neighbour’s dad

who has no taste at all. If it suits

you fine, I too will draw a picture

of his wife watering flowers in the nude.



iv


Can we get this over with?

This scrawl you’ve said

is your very grand finale—


or maybe you’ll scribe

more couplets,

about space & time

& trees of ghostly green,


maybe Cosmic Trend

will condescend, accept

it as your epitaph, your P.S.

to the bitterness of living,

the business of scripting see,

I can write as good

as middling you,

mailing your friends

with the date of

missile launch.


It’s all about them

when your pen

turns desert-dry.

And then there’s vodka

in the last of your canteens.

It was for all the beasts alive

that are crawling

in dystopia.

The maggots.



v


You built a bird

house for the flies,

for they as well

were worthy

of an abode,

sheltered

and palatial,


saying their genus

was the work

of genius,

the greatest

of all in flight,


the gods of shit

and death

who kiss the worst

that we can offer.



vi


Close your eyes tightly,

for all of us.

Pray for the happy endings

we deserve: me, Esmerelda,

Troy Bannister, Richard Harris,

the neighbour’s dad and wife,

and your own nom de plume,

Francisco Cavalier,

surname pitched in French.


Dream that we can sing, we can write,

draw and have sex whenever we

desire. That our grapes don’t sour

in the vineyard of our minds.

That our use of the term

motherfucker

is mere hyperbole.


Or be Frank one last time

and tell it like it is.

Say your damnation

to bargain bins

is simple vengeance

from some Deity,


undecided on

karma or hell.


If we’d actually read

your book,

we never would have

left it for the thrifters—

those too cheap

to pay the sticker

price.



vii


You rested on the

seventh—like the father

you emulate,

resigned that he’s the

winner—no matter

how much you hate him.


That he abandoned

you in the crib,

with your dreams

in infancy,


like the one

you re-do creation,

make nothing

that sheds its

blood,


write poems

that make us swoon

with just a

soother in your mouth,

a rattle in your

hand the sound of

fire.




Andreas Gripp

November 21, 2023


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