Happy Halloween from BOA!
Here's some spooky verse by Michael Waters, from his collection Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems,
to get your spine tingling:
In his Journey to the Jade Sea
"one of the world’s greatest walkers," John Hillaby,
tells the story of the ebony child
raped and strangled
near an acacia tree in the bush in Kenya.
The game warden who found her was mesmerized
by two large, blue-green, rarely seen butterflies
trembling upon her glazed, staring eyes,
opening and closing their wings.
Those butterflies were attracted to moisture,
lapping with their spiked, black tongues
the shallow lagoons of primeval water.
Hillaby doesn’t specify, but they were probably
each lulled in the mirror of her dissolving eye.
Beauty and beauty often go hand in hand—
"what an attractive couple," we say—
but some beauties are too terrible to bear.
I’ve only seen a dead woman once
outside of the Ridgewood Funeral Parlor.
In Amsterdam I wandered into a bar
where a three-hundred-pound, nude, quite dead woman
shaded the jungle of a back room pool table.
The club was hers, and she’d left provisions in her will
for the local populace to swill
the remaining stock in a sort of wake.
She was doused with beer
—the felt was soaked a deeper green—
and there, between her enormous thighs,
one silver-blue, scratchless, polished and buffed billiard ball
I was hypnotized.
I think that combination was beautiful,
or was near to what we think of as beauty.
Still, I couldn’t look for long.
My duty was to accept another beer
and hoist it, in her dubious honor,
remembering, in another pocket of the world,
the mutilated girl with butterflies upon her.