Reb Livingston (Reston, Virginia, USA): Five Poems

THE FIRST CHRONICLE OF MARRIAGE

When the afflicted meadow prevailed, but the vestal cottage did not, when the thinking thingamabob existed, but the hypnotic tomato did not, when mental somersaults reigned, but snickering laments did not, when blindness was obligatory, but trinkets were not, when shepherding and mewing bellowed, when kitchens had mancatchers — I was the grandmother of middling gourds, Ancestress of the beaten squash, I was the mama and papa of pumpkins, the cousin of misused zucchini.


THE SECOND CHRONICLE OF MARRIAGE

The mates in the meadow stitched barley, the mates in meadow polished loins, stitched their loins to polished barley, counted fish in the squeamish, ate fish from the squeamish as one eats a sparkling loin. One day, as slumber came, they commanded the holy measurements before the Fishyman, his correct name lost. The allotment of Shepherd was decreed double; the allotment of Shepherd with Damsel in sundress was decreed triple; the allotment of Apron was donated to charity, in loving precedent; yet the allotment of Gigolo, though suffering from grande swagger, was decreed quadruple.

THE FOURTH CHRONICLE OF MARRIAGE

At that juncture a bridal festival was unleashed in Tabernacleville; a bridal festival unleashed upon the meadow. Shepherd said, "Come, Gigolo, let us go, let us dabble in daughters, let us go and get tuggered." The god Shameman attended the bridal festival; his wife, loyal Harpy, attended the bridal festival, and I, their beloved daughter, Damsel, attended this primal bridal festival. In Tabernacleville, the creditors rattled, seven debtors took their daughters from the brothels, hassled and pedaled, to baffle and compete for the Shepherds' ironing down the path to Apron. Many came to Tabernacleville, the space where the bridal festival unleashed, to fondle and fiddle. Many bartered for us fond dangled fiddles.

THE FIFTH CHRONICLE OF MARRIAGE

With Gigolo, for both were first-rate dandies, Shepherd too strode the teeming meadow to slip and tweak at the gate of Tabernacleville. They searched for the absurdest instrument, plucked many hooded rows. Gigolo deduced us second string, interloped his bow into each shallow body, then speculated with the Shepherd. In this gruesome meadow, in the tasting, Shepherd fancied me; in my gruesome meltdown in Tabernacleville, Gigolo traded his kingdom for this checked out vessel.

THE NINTH CHRONICLE OF MARRIAGE

The mental somersaults multiplied, pumpkins mangled, tomatoes massacred. Sultana spoke to Damsel: "Hark, his blissed fish is sweat and marred and his tongue keen as sprite; he gobbles all meals and considers you snack. He will attend more festivals and gawk and slip and wolf and pluck; he is Shepherd and Fishyman's bartered image, nurtured by Apron and Harpy, monstrosities of your image. He's the seepage in your hearth, the slackage of your pull, the leakage down your thigh, the rotting sausage plugging your psyche . . . My kindred, my echo, my spit and damage, you are not obligated to mindless affection. Damsel replied to Sultana: "We cannot deflect this cyclone, only scribble him down."


© Reb Livingston 2008