POEM: Carnival of the Dying King

Lear and Cordelia 1849-54 by Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893
Lear and Cordelia 1849-54 Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893 

However much hurt you give me

I will always be willing to carry it

You are my Goddess

And I, your ass,

Willing to bear all the burdens

Your purity does not permit

Every misfortune

Or swing of the axe

That life levels at you

May it be my own instead

May I be the scapegoat

Of all your suffering

Who can be cast off into the wilderness

Where he can do no one any more harm

Jackals will gnaw at my ankles

Swarms of insects and locusts

Will harry me constantly

Urging me onwards

To my inevitable collapse

Yet I

Bleary-eyed and braying

Will be anaesthetized by love

The more the love

The more the pain

The more the Heaven

The more the Hell

My ribcage will be a marimba

Upon which King Yama can declare me conquered

My fleece will be made into slippers

So you continue to dance on my woes

Even in my absence

Goddess, Goddess,

Unknowing Goddess

Has anyone ever been as ignorant as you?

But the ignorance is all my own

It is the sharpened throne

Upon which I slaughter myself

The king has used up

His twelve year turn

The populace are in outrage

Frothing into a frenzy

Carrying me through crowds

And bellicose hoards

Prostitutes scourge me with chains

And vicars piss on my wainscoting

I am the mould growing upon the world

I do not blame you

For wanting to remove me

Have done with this wretch

This champion of lies

Cast him into the bonfire of vanities

And make him vomit forth

A final quatrain or two

We’ll tie him to the tracks

And be the final straw

That breaks the camel’s back

Let’s not be hasty now

Let me suffer slowly

Let every last incineration

Be like an intimate conversation

By candlelight

“Isn’t it romantic?”

The werewolf declares

Licking out my eye sockets

Bringing filth to purity

And purity to filth

Radiance to obscurity

And obscurity to silt

It’s a tomb with a view –

What I can I say?

So I will love you all extremely

Insanely,

And devotedly

As you scourge me

Instead of

My love

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