Cleopatra’s magestry of pearl,
Offered in toast, it simmers in crystal.
Plucked from her gold-studded ear, and yonder
Plucked from the nacre bosom of Venus’ shell,
The drops of Venus, borne from her fin-streamed shell,
“And in the cup an union shall be thrown.”
A jubilant quaff to drown Antony,
Her Roman bacchanalia, in excess.
Dangled o’er mercurial feasts
It gleams in vapor from another time.
Vaporous hues – a flush of marigold
& crimson lusting – hammocked in a sling
Of madness. The adversaria are flanged
& horns sound through curly silhouettes.
A cluster of sparrows disperse for reprieve;
To fly beyond the cracking tarnish of blue.
At right, an estranged whippet dog is
Whistled up & pries his head around.
This band of fools – an architecture of forms – a blush of wonder, drear:
Betwixt & balanced upon stone, Greek
A sinuous banquet, a forked feast of eyes in sextile
Necks arched, fingers hooked, glances that careen &
A carom of fury and frisson they swarm the
Amass, they unfurl and yield to Cleopatra’s
Abyssus abyssum invocat:
Her pearl paradigm returns to natural form,
Like the fate of two lovers forlorn.
And what of the other pearl? Wedged in the impending lobes of Venus – the mother of pearl, the bearer of beauty and opulent grace, the Immortal, the breathless renouncer – it towered in the arena of the Pantheon. And thus leers the looming tale of Cleopatra in the lyric mass of Cytherian form.