Tell O'Neill I need him. Now.
Overheard. A boss: we've all
worked for him. Melancholy alcoholic.
The raw material: the poem.

Let's change it: concoct something lethal,
call it melancohol-- not worry about O's or A's
but squeeze Crenshaw, Honeydew, Musk,
& make a brew that brings on unspeakable
sadness, darkens the color of skin.
And let's change O'Neill from that rail-thin
white-haired wing-tipped automaton
to a girl, someone you remember named
Mary O'Neill, red hair, radical, very sexy &
carrying in her hot pocket a plausible plan
to blow up the Pentagon. But Mary
talks in her sleep, she's arrested,
the Pentagon plans are found, she's sentenced
to life, treason, smuggles into the cell those melons,
brews her sad juice, invites the jailer for a drink,
takes none of it, kisses him in the fading light
of his bliss, favors full frontally his
calaboose skin (oh how he holds her, that
black brooder, deepening shadow
come thundering in!) half-kills him
in sopped happiness, he weeps, sleeps,
O'Neill steals his clothes, escapes.

For now that's all the poet wants to do.
Further filling out=filling in.
It stinks? If it does, his own excision
heals him, makes him real again.
Anyway, there's still O'Neill; the turn
of melancholy alcoholic;  his pen.

Gerald Fleming
Contents | Mudlark No. 3
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