God and I are in a cabaret,
my father playing piano
with a crowbar and a candlestick—
an instant set of string drums
—beating away, seventeen in his sixty-year-old skin. Dix minutes
pre-curtain, Death is off having near experiences
in the bathroom with the man they call Wilde.
When we see Death again, in his slim white
clam diggers, he’s chewing on teeth
like they’re Chiclets,
yammering two octaves too high, our leading man
utterly fucked up on formaldehyde. Quel disaster!
Daddy-O goes forte, for there’s no such thing
as forte-piano when your audience is mostly ghosts
(their lives are quiet enough the rest of the time).
Onstage the painted set wobbles,
threatens to tumble over
like a Warhol girl in a crêpe-paper dress.
God staggers through the hall,
meekly barters away eternal life
as he bums a cig off a mortal
(it should only cost twenty-five cents, but human currency
occasionally befuddles our noble director),
sits in the overpowdered light
of the dressing room, muttering,
“Without Death, we have to cut the whole third act.
Without Death, it’s the only option…”
In the chalky gloom,
beneath luminescent elbows,
the tabletop is globbed with glitter and rouge.
From the other room, above the smashing,
an arc of singing takes flight,
fastidious as a woman crying.
God sucks in a long breath, rewriting
sans lexis. The boas in the closet,
like live creatures, tremble.