A STANZA OF CARNALITY, by Ward Kelley
There is a distinct art in the movement
of skin, nothing more artistic than the
creation of flesh and its afterthoughts,
so there should be no mystery in my
fascination with anatomy; instead
mystery can be found in the entire
book of my life, first page to conclusion,
how I have developed a lengthy poem
with the movements of my limbs and minds,
for I have sensed a meter and rhythm to
this fashioning I have wrought, and I must
say I leave it satisfied with my poetry of touch.
Now the question becomes, why does one
forget? From one life to the next why
is it required that we not remember?
Perhaps I have not identified the first
page and not really concluded
anything. This great love of a king,
and a country, was a stanza of carnality
as we go round and round.
Author's note: Jeanne Antoinette Poisson (1721-1764), Madame de Pompadour, was the mistress of King Louis the XV of France. For almost twenty years she controlled the policies of France, even after her physical beauty had faded. She was a friend of Voltaire, and her patronage was responsible for many of the artistic achievements of 18th-century France. At her death bed, as the priest who administered the last rites excused himself and moved towards the door; Jeanne said: "One moment, my priest, we'll go together," and died.