Michael Palmer

The Classical Study (2)

“Blessed the bell”
Baudelaire

I asked the Master of Shadows
wherefore and wherefrom

and he replied, I sell
insurance in a tiny town

and know-not-up
from know-not-down.

My head is a cracked and pitted bell
or only the crack within the bell

and I’ve lost my reflection
down the town well.

Will you lend me a bucket
to get it back,

then land me a hat for that second head
and a ship to sail to the Quadrant of Dreams

and a dream to savor in the mean?
For I am the Virgin of Invisible Ink,

famed Laureate of Lyric Deceit,
shadowless snowman in the tropical heat,

a game that can’t be won.
My theory is that time is done.