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Late 21st Century Wedding Song

2009 September 26
by J. Scott Mosel
253716_opera

Everyone who was present at our wedding
is seated at long, white tables,
even the ones now dead. The dead
speak only Italian, even my best man.
His eyes pool with marble light.
I insist that he stop this nonsense,
but he is intensely emotional.
He gestures with his hands,
and at times, it seems as if
I am viewing him through a layer
of fog, cigar smoke, the haze
that lingers as the dead often do.
I know he is dead because his wife,
who is still beautiful, speaks to me
in English. She cannot comprehend him.
She watches his lips move – she nods
politely, when they stop.
We are served dinner, and the opera
is about to begin. Opening night.
My father directs traffic with his eyes.
We drink espresso in nipple-sized cups.
The singers  reach cathartic notes,
for they will soon be killed.
Every performance in the late 21st century
is followed by state executions,
so they really let us have it at the finale.
I look around for someone
to tell me what it means, why they give
so much of themselves,
but our desserts are here, and the dead
know exactly what to do,
what should be said.
The rest of us eat in silence.
3 Responses leave one →
  1. Joseph Bastow permalink*
    September 28, 2009

    A poem that touches not just the core of surrealistic prowess at its best, but also one that embeds the complexity of language, in its many forms, deeply into our notion of how we see the world. This comedic dystopia reminds us how to dream of love and promise amidst death and the censor’s guillotine – reminds us to unveil ourselves in order to bare witness fully aware of the many critical moments of consciousness we inhabit at any one time. This is a poetry beyond simple ceremony – it is one that invites us to share our humanity just before it is stripped away. This is a celebration of language – of what we owe to it and of how it owes to us our keen, primal ear.

  2. September 29, 2009

    I love this Scott.

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