the end of vanity

So much death—time for an orgy poem you’d think.  Actually in this instance I set out to write a winter poem surpassing Wallace Stevens’ “The Snowman” but ended up with this cryptic hybrid of Robert Frost and John Ashbery in goth mode.  Strange, it’s the dead of winter and, unlike my propane bill, flies are the least of my problems.  But the muse is the muse. 

the lives beneath
life vanishing
made me bearer
for a day
of everything
that came before
then by degrees
myself in kind
from vital warm
to cold clay clod
that life is fragile
late I know,
beyond belief,
philosophy,
but not beyond a vanity
to find myself
the center of
attention earned
by other means:
fawning swarms
of blue-green flies
attending me
this latest walk
what must they smell
that I do not
that makes them so
enrapt of me
they’d chance their eggs
in something old?
could it be
as in my youth
i captivate
with party jokes?
or do they sense
as I will not
a final end
to vanity?
if the latter
presumptuous fly
i have DEET
and you do not.

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