Tuesday, 17 January 2017

LIVE, NOT DIE; LIVE NOT, DIE

by Larissa Shmailo


Now, how shall it continue, bright primate? How shall this be punctuated?
An Oxfordian series, cursive, moving ever on, entailing every monkey, all keyboards in existence, black and white, and all of Shakespeare's work? Therein lies a tail. Is my silly, hoping life, then, the parentheses in the mind of a savage, loving god, or a twitching, rapid question in the tick-tock of the void? Comma or coma? Which is it to be? Angels,

you decide. Faster: My hope today, a ferocious hankering monkey, wrestles with Thanatos in my psyche's mud, a bout observed by angels,
and, truly, always about you; my demons, who intone Shakespeare's
verse like a Polonius behind a curtain, his platitudes punctuated
by doubt, growing like a semicolon in my gut, close these parentheses
without fortitude or Fortinbras, a Hamlet dangling on his question.

Come, ask me if I dare, beloved, before I go, to ask the question:
Would you say, turning me aside, as an afterthought, in parentheses,
"That is not what I meant at all," leaving me, a grinning, groping monkey,
to chase distant mermaids in the sea spray, those soggy singing angels
who sing to drowning women like me? I am not brave, not Shakespeare's
heroine, and will not declaim mercy for men in a speech punctuated

by all wisdom, warm, maternal, eternal, I am, rather, a rattled, tangled monkey, fur matted, teeth sharp, staring down my death in a showdown punctuated by words, words, words, words, words, words; and those in parentheses whisper with epithets of my end; here I sit, periodic, asking the angels, how long a sentence I will have, and will I ever write one as good as Shakespeare's? "Two bees, and not two bees, and they're soon extinct, too;" begging the question,

petitio principii: assuming the initial point, how shall I get to the final, punctuated by logical fallacies, tautologies, circular, as raw as the tail ass of a monkey; me, to persuade you, had we words enough for time, there could be no question, no crime, in assuming infinity, in basking in eternity like seraphim, bright angels whose divine lust could last a trillion biers and years, through a million Shakespeare's lines; but our lives are slashed by a Ginzo knife through the tail, trapped in parentheses.


To the period's point now, signaled by a capital flourish and punctuated
with the Oxfordian serial clause (I should have been a pair of claws instead of monkey balls): given infinity, when my molecules scatter, on some infinite star populated by angels, might they not reassemble as me, my primate self, with you, a man as fine as Shakespeare's best, again, to dance together, coupled, contained in divine parentheses)? For the thought of you, whom I love, I trouble the divine to ask this question.

My monkey question is not eloquent, nor metaphysical as angels:
It stands in parentheses, rolls not from the tongue as Shakespeare's,
but loves you, period, whichever is punctuated, in eternity or extinction.

* * * * *

"Live Not, Die; Live, Die Not" was previously published in Cryopoetry.