Portrait of a Gazaal, by Bricasso
(for Manjusvara, the Tracys, and Lady P.)

In homage to you,
I will become an airport poet
Gate 14, waiting -
Westward to Denver I go to meet my friend
The Gurdjieffian Guitarist -
Full of accidental sugar (how'd that happen?)

Some of the voices around me are each others' friends
Some are on the radio, falling on me from the ceiling
The very young woman with the two
Enormous suitcases has reappeared
She's still wearing the moue of studied dissatisfaction
So prevalent on the face of the current American female
But her long, long legs are lovely to behold...
(...when you play, the dangerous game...)

The collective voice on the radio
(disembodied voice of a TV lurking behind me, it proves to be)
Is (are) talking about asteroids right now,
And I'm remembering William Stafford's
Poem about the impounded star,
And George Steiner's reminder that Disaster
Means “A rain of stars upon mankind”.

Thinking things magical,
(...Thunderbirds Are Go...)
My mind stumps back a couple of days
To the absurdly imported Cloisters with Shalom -
Raconteur and semi-retired social warrior -
Where I was jumped by famous unicorns on the wall.

It's all very Catholic in the Cloisters
(Stronghold of the Enemy! the non-straight jewboy in me cries)
The unicorn tapestries are all about Killing and Catching.
It seemed to me an extreme blasphemy,
All these christian fools, gouging at the Noble Beast,
And the Noble Beast fenced in.
(...the Hood...)

Nice try, Catholics -
As Thurber knew, our unicorns will outlast
Your edifice, because they are more beautiful.
And they are not tame.
(...the painting - the painting...)

Mind briefly back at departure,
I slosh - full with Manhattan experience:
The dance and puppetting show,
With Kermit the Frog's demi-sœur in the saddle;
A film about the Nazis shredding gays;
Moments of stranger friendliness;
Shalom had dreadlocks once, and lived next door to Mingus;
Now they're treating cancer with Thalidomide;
(...come on, Seventeen Black...)

Hmm... suitcase girl looks lovely when she smiles
(she wasn't smiling at me, though) and her voice
Is a gorgeous twang
We're going to take off late - I've an
Hotel room waiting for me - I wonder:
Will it have porn on the TV?
The hotel's name is Renaissance;
My day changed when I let the late impatient guy
Do the check-in thing before me - his too, I hope
(...calling International Rescue...)

Okay I'm rambling.
But right now, I'm not watching rubbish,
Or reading rubbish or eating rubbish.
It's so hard to stay in the present -
Especially when I stuff my past
And my future to overbrimming -
You don't get the Odyssey without the Ballad.

On the plane, my vegan meal has just arrived.
I left a line out earlier as too extreme, which went:
(Can't you get anything without sugar here?)
But I now feel bound to point out
That my little packet of salt containeth Dextrose.

Well, I was going to end this humbly,
Quoting Suddhayu's evening gem:
“Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stranger”,
But (excuse my pride) this being so,
We know what equilibrium demands.
“Truth is stronger than Fiction.”

© 2000 Dharmachari Padmavyuha back...