Mardi Gras (from 'Wounded Bud')


This mambo line we've been dancing in all night:
I've forgotten where it started, your place or mine?

And who are all these whirling fools,
Their hands on one another’s buttocks?

Preening, prancing, behaving like democrats,
Pointing their tail feathers up at the sun?

Oh I admit, I’m one of them,
Bragging about my torrid love affair with God,

Drinking too much and shouting,
"We weren’t invited to this! We just showed up!"

O Jesus, you were a homeless poet once,
Eating leftovers from the lawn parties of the upright.

You know what it means to scavenge among the wasted seeds,
Looking for the sprouted ones, the ones with laughter in them.

We're like jostling crows on a live electric wire,
inebriated with the voltage: everyone's looking for juice!

If one of us touches the ground, we're all dead.
But that won't happen: we're never coming down!

We only move in one direction now, like black flames.
So dizzy, so mad with midnight dancing,

Whirling out of your embrace, falling back into your heart,
I can't tell which of us I am!

I think I may be sober now in the stillness before dawn:
I can almost remember your name.

If I do, I won’t tell the others, I just want to know,
last night, was I the wine or the cup?