Mermaid

I have learned what I wanted from the mermaid
and her singing conjunction of tail and grace.
Deficiency served her. What else could she do
Failure keeps snapping up transcendence,
bubble and bullfrog boating on the surface,
belly lustily lagging three inches lowered
the insatiable fiction of desire.
None swims with her and breathes the air.
A mermaid flattens soles and picks a trout,
knife and fork in chainsong at thc spine,
weeps white ruin undetectable from tears.
She kills more bottles than the ocean sinks,
and serves her winded lovers' bones in brine,
nibbled at recess in the marathon.
 Our meetings are no longer like a screening;
I see the nose on my face is just a nose,
Your bel occhi grandi are just eyes
in the photo of you arranged as figurehead
or mermaid on the prow of a Roman dory,
bright as the morning star or a blond starlet.
Our twin black and tin Ronson butane lighters
knock on the sheet, are what they are,
too many, and burned too many cigarettes…
Night darkens without your necessary call,
It’s tune to turn your pictures to the wall,
your moon-eyes water and your nervous throat
gruffs my directive, "You must go now go."
I see you as baby killer whale
free to walk the seven seas for game,
warmhearted with an undercoat of ice,
nerve-wrung back...all muscles, youth, intention,
and skill expended oil a lunge or puncture
hoisted now from conquests and salt sea
to flipper-flapper in a public tank,
big deal for Sunday children… My blind love-
on the Via Veneto, a girl
counting windows in a glass cafe,
now frowning at her menu, now counting out
neanderthals flashed like shorebait on the walk...
Your stamina as inside-right at school
spilled the top-heavy boys, and keeps you pure.

One wondered who would see and date you next,
and grapple for the danger of your hand.
Will money drown you? Poverty, though now
in fashion, debases women as much as wealth.
You use no scent, dab brow and lash with shoeblack,
 Willing to face the world \without more face.
I've searched the rough black ocean for you,
and saw the turbulence drop dead for you,
always lovely, even for those who had you,
Rough Slitherer in your grotto of haphazard
 I lack manhood to finish the fishing trip.
Glad to escape beguilement and the storm,
I thank the ocean that hides the fearful mermaid-
like God, I almost doubt if you exist.