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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Lake Nocturnal

I sank like a submarine through the Lake Nocturnal

The lank billows of spidery green, skies clinging to my clothes
Through the humming aqua sounds of the radar glow
My lungs sucked in the water, extraterrestrial air—marvelous!
I sank to a prairie with sea grass rippling electric
Filled with safari fish, prowling whisker-faced
Titanic seahorses and swimming dinosaur birds
Then I spotted a man standing cloudy-shadowed
With a copper brow—furrowed and ancient
And a scowl pressed like smoke onto his murky face
And throbbing, black rhinoceros eyes

I then went on and chanced upon the duke of the mermen
In the termite catacombs of labyrinth castle
Where butlers buttled wearing octopus heads
And emerald chandeliers creaked as they rotated, like Jupiter
In the palace they were having a masquerade
Of sea nymphs and mermaids and Cyclopes
And countless other creatures, strange
And they floated and spun to the harpsichord waltzes
But across the room I spotted a man
With a rusty tin brow and a shadowy scowl
And a pair of black rhinoceros eyes

Later I went to the Capitol
A churning city like an animal cell, gravity dazed
By Victorian buildings upwards and downwards and ceramic streets endless
In an impossible network of neurons, groaning marble architecture
I met the Man on the Moon and various radio gods
And the mayor, whose name was
Came across gilled seraphim-merchants and a pair of sirens, lovely
As well as Nereus and Proteus, with their barnacle beards and sandstone cheeks
Libraries and courthouses and oceanic burroughs stretched for miles
Above and around and below, glinting bright in the lake-light
Voices rippled and blossomed like molten hydrangeas shining
And waves of faces—alien, angelic—surged through the sidewalks
But then I saw him, his skin faintly gold
Burning into mine were his terrible, black rhinoceros eyes

I flew through and over Plutonic deserts and shimmering forests with
Mile-high trees stretching sideways to heaven
By caves that blew bubbles through their rocky gray lips
The clouds above my head were eerie islands submerged
Like the dark moss-haired heads of giants slaughtered
Past aquatic zoos and seaweed jungles: howling beastly cries
Over trenches Charcoal like Eternity
That roared with silence deafening hum
All the while under the sapphire sky, tranquil
Till finally I returned to the surface on a
Silvery ship, waving a sleepy goodbye as the sail rippled smooth
Breathing contented, my thoughts ether
But then shivering, suddenly icy, my skeleton chattering
As I recalled that spectral figure, his copper brow
And his terrifying two rhinoceros eyes
Nightmare-speckled rhinoceros eyes

I gasped as I broke the surface
Cold air/gold air splashing my face
I shook my head like a dog and dried off my clothes and
I whistled goodbye to
The Lake Nocturnal


Jen said...

I like the line you chose for the ending of the second to last stanza! It fits perfectly; well done.