Happy Birthday, Kostas Karyotakis
(October 30, 1896 - July 20, 1928)
They placed no flowers on your dead man's bed.
The other poets of your time laughed at your
azure solitude, too stone-eared to know
your poems were the pain of the absolute-new.
Syphilitic, five-hour failure at drowning yourself,
you spent your last money on a rust-pocked pistol.
Your final poems were landlord-crumpled,
tossed into a maggoty garbage bin.
You sang for skinny window-children
doubled-up in sorrow, for waste-away brides
waiting for war-maddened husbands,
for mothers bearing graveyard lilies.
You scribbled orange-moon sad poems by night,
you desire-stunted, pathetic, servile clerk,
you angel of rosy-marble cemetery aspiration.
From the corners of your glassy eyes,
you caught the half-hidden diamond-sparkle
in a farewell-scatter of oblivion-bound dirt.