Equal Pull of Opposites

for Emmy Hennings on the founding of the Cabaret Voltaire


Let scholars and skeletons wail,

she found it asleep in cold Denmark

hay, disguised as Boehme’s blasphemy,

as quest for a child’s carriage

who she needed to emerge omnipotent,

but didn’t, as a two syllable cry

that won’t touch God,

until it kisses devil first.

She, mystic mother chanteuse

whore, showed mind fall gratitude

to social disease. Sacrificed

sleep and stomach on strange

lover’s wrist, to wrap death closer.

The wrapping he named D.A.D.A.,

Dionysius the Areopagite, child’s

play thing, shampoo, mystic chaos.

She, guttural shriek, action propped

against alchemist code, binary

crack revolution, language bomb,

literature with gun in hand. Black

sun, white earth, and softest song

war disfigured waiting for its

eyes to grow back again.

He was gasoline.

Drove each battle nightly center

stage, down her throat,

spat up barbed hell to wake

sleeping saints stuck between ribs,

tore her tongue out to wash them,

steeped in words of fish,

the only creatures she touched

to be clean.

In her silence, he sees she is the skull

of the three hundred year old woman

he fell in love with, painted flowers

on its cheeks, and set on top of her altar.

The night he led cabaret mass

as Cubist priest, skull spoke

with grandmother tongue,

Big Drum banged on its own,

Masks spun off walls,

danced solo.

Only she knew these things

That they stirred herds

of dumb demi-urge.

That the two of them were eaten,

spewed back out: He a martyr to

die with a hole in his stomach.

She a fairy tale crone charged

with writing out of existence

every moment they touched face

of it: the God who carves words

on flesh stages.


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