Excerpts from the King

By BEN MAZER

 

xv

 

No mystery if the cats gather as this strange encounter
should have come to have emblematized the city:
for of all those who passed and paid homage to their peer
only you remained, after the room was clear.
The way is unsteady, past the museum of thoughts
that jostle the aftergoers after midnight,
but the way home straight: one shot of hammering train,
then silence. You enter the unexpectedly grand
unflowering existence, emptying your hand,
and admiring the disorderly filaments,
exacerbated desires the morning must put away.
But now: the full confession to the stranger.
The night drives like a rocket to its danger,
apart from the world, and with nothing to regret.

 

xxiv

 

At Karnak the boy king was buried alive.
The burial party silenced. Three thousand years passed.
At the last moment of the concession to dig
the sixteen steps were discovered. The unbroken seals.
The mummy walked. Who saw it went insane.
The Lord patron died of a mosquito bite.
Ten years passed. The annual expedition
of British complained about the Cairo museum.
A stranger was found there at night, by the scrolls of Amen-Ra.
A beautiful aristocratic Egyptian woman
sleepwalked out of an international cocktail party,
was found unconscious on the steps of the Museum.
A guard was dead, and the old ageless guide
requested once again to be let inside.

 

xxxi

 

Manhattan in the rain. I couldn’t speak
when Uncle Sid drove me in from Rockaway.
What did I want? To visit the punk rock shops.
The statue of liberty seemed oxidized and locked,
too fleeting, like shops I only saw when they were closed,
left for another lifetime. What would we have said if we talked?
Head of the Vice Squad. My mind was exploding with vice.
When I came back from England I was lost,
and sat in my Aunt’s house in Far Rockaway
watching Abbott and Costello night and day,
as vacuum cleaner salesmen, rival clans,
detectives, photographers, victims of circumstance.
I pilfered the attic for Pogo and Mark Twain,
ate seven kinds of cereal (she had three sons),
and saw Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch again.

 

 

Ben Mazer is the author of two new poetry collections: Poems and January 2008.

Click here to purchase Issue 03

Excerpts from the King

Related Posts

Mesquite plant

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even

A person lying in bed in the dark

Mangled

DARINA SIKMASHVILI
It’s only us two for the brunch shift. I met Layla at one of those mangled people meetings so we have a shorthand. She smokes needle-thin joints halfway into the day and half-asses her side work and I’m not bothered by any of it. We can share a silence.

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises