Oyster Boy Review 10  
  January 1999
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» Levee 67


Jade's Whip

Joseph Coroniti


Mounted on a phoenix and wielding the whip of Jade,
you let me have it. I must admit, however, you do look radiant
in your leather chaps—and that smell, your smell of cloves . . .
Just when I thought the vicious cycle of feathers to flame to ash
had spun out and you were ready, after long centuries
to rest in peace at the bottom of the hibachi—
But no, you let loose your, by now legendary,
skull-cracking scream as the fat from the burgers
drip-diddley-dropped on what was once your—
and we're going way back now for this—
your milky-soft baby's bum skin.

Jade, piedra de ijada, stone of the flank is hard on the head
and, notwithstanding the ancient apothecaries' lore,
not much help for renal colic.
If you, my Jade, knew the exact location of my kidneys
they'd ache like hell. You'd mount your burnished steed,
wield your whip of Jade, and let me have it.

Things weren't always this way, way back in the early days,
remember, dear? We shared a steak and kidney pie on our
honeymoon in Zanzibar. Years later, settled down for centuries,
we got an estimate for a kidney pool we never had dug.
But there was always that hope of a better life, a next time.
Time and time again we brushed off the soot
and made resolutions for the coming epoch.
But things never change. I know that now.


This spontaneous combustion has got to stop.
After your last transfiguration two-step, I was in the burns
unit for a year. You were eating a hamburger, insisting
that turkey burgers were less healthy than the real thing.
Then, ZAP! a ball of flame. Immediately,
I started fanning the ear-piercing smoke alarm.
One hand on my ear, the other waving for dear life
the unread Times, fanning, fanning, wishing on a star,
sick unto death of the Eveready Bunny Beast
screeching from the ceiling.

Your mount, your familiar, your phoenix
is doubtless an exciting creature to sit astride—
no-one side-saddles a phoenix.
I can't remember the last time you opened your legs that wide
when not "one" with your beast.

Sometimes I find myself longing for a scraggly chicken
that gives birth astride an automated egg collector,
picks a peck of chicken feed, clucks,
sotto voce, a cluck or two, then dies,
pure and simple, without all these pyrotechnics.

There you were again, engulfed in a four-legged
orange flame. Before I could get to the faucet,
you and your mount were a pile of ashes.
You've no idea how close I came to sweeping you up
and flushing you down the hopper—Whoosh!
But, a slave entranced, I blew on the embers
and watched you burn back to being.


Oh Baby in green leathers! your broad biker chaps flaming
lemon lemon yellow yellow, carousing the pyramids
on that hot bird. You've come back to me, my sweet!
I only started seeing Alice because—well, I thought—
I thought this time you really had joined that Taoist
nunnery with your girlhood companion, Rise-in-the-Air.
I knew you'd always yearned for "greater things,"
the life you were meant to live.

I thought I was free, free to rebirth myself
in my final phase. I'd knock the ashes from my pipe
onto my dessert plate. Nowhere, nowhere to be found:
your loving look of utter and irrevocable disgust.

Mounted on a phoenix and wielding the whip of Jade
you teach me that love's an ever-fixed mark
right about here—ouch! not so hard—
a mark that's born out
even to the edge of doom.