Attis Blues

after Catullus LXIII

Attis hurries from the ship's horn, guitar slung over his shoulder
like a swan. His black soles smack in the Phrygian forest,
salt wicks the leaves, everywhere the pink tongues
of angling arbutus. His flint-pointed fist rips dick and balls,
an ebb and flow of blood on stones beneath the tumid trees.
Now he's a speech-cone harmonica, a throaty she-he.
Attis whips through reeds, dances like an eel through glooming groves.
Corybantes follow, wolfishly. When the pale sun numbs
out of shadow, Attis seethes to shore. Seraphic bells
for Cybele, cow tunes are 12 strings twanging:

O mother
I dig a pit and measure baby shells
Coral crusting     kelp shreds
Where is my country     why would you rend me mother
With a black song my maker saw through     crimson shining sand
Blood sound pouring     got no sense

I am appalled     Rhea     your head is a crystal mass
With a comfrey compress on my gushing wound
I fall under an olive tree     on the spidery-mapped island
My queen shining through spleen     crimson sand
Blood sound pouring     got no sense
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