Today's poem is by Donald Platt


After Orpheus returned from the high rises of the dead,
                         those catacombs
honeycombed with cold gray light, after Eurydice disappeared

                         for good
in the subway crowded with shades and took the uptown local back
                         to her pimp

Pluto, hung with gold chains, who beat her and sweet-talked her
                         into bed,
Orpheus blinked in the sunlight, put on his ultra cool

                         mirror sunglasses,
and went back to work at the CD store, Tunes New, Used, & Abused.
                         He moonlighted

as a rapper, played sax in the sultry mornings, and gave lyre lessons
                         on the side.
His students brought him their odes and elegies, and he corrected

                         the notes,
taught them the true arpeggios of desire, but he himself had sex
                         with no one.

After Eurydice, he thought he might be gay and tried composing
                         a few pastorals
for the handsome shepherd boys, who roamed the city parks,

                         and got high with them
under the overpasses, but the notes fell flat. He rhymed
                         buttocks with tux-

edos, and gave it up. He couldn't shake what he had seen
                         in the underworld,
his 85-year-old mother pushing the boulder up a steep off-ramp marked

                         Last Exit
Before Toll, only to have it roll back down into the oncoming
                         traffic, and then

to start all over again. He had seen his parched father chained
to the top of a water tower, and the vultures who visited

                         him daily
to eat his liver. His idiot brother had been bound to a Ferris wheel
                         of fire

that turned to the music of the One and Only Armenian-American
                         Polka Band.
What a carnival! Black cotton candy. And now Eurydice

                         wouldn't leave him
alone, but sent e-mails from hell, "I can't believe your savagery,"
                         etc., etc.

There was nothing else to do. He sat on a graffitied park bench,
                         fed the pigeons
Cracker Jacks, and unstrung his lyre. He swept his fingers

                         over the empty
space where the strings had been, and then there came that music
                         to which the stones and pigeons listened.

Copyright © 2003 Donald Platt All rights reserved
from Black Warrior Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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