Sorrow follows an evil thought, for the time being only.
Berryman, Dream Song 144
I am too young to know first hand about napalm.
That jelly never crackled my skin with its bite.
The jungle's green seared black, and jets brayed into scales
beyond the hearing of a dog, before I turned
eighteen, before I'd tasted a woman's nipple,
before I could learn all the flavors of attack.
Fattened on music, sheltered from fiery attack,
I was not tried by tracers or whumping napalm,
by kerosine whine. Nor were my dreams of nipples
and rump sessions, silk and slight alluring overbites,
torn by flame or suffering. My whole world turned
on arpeggios, timbre, tempo, minor scales
ascending, notes blended and distinct as the scales
of a fish trailing blood from its gills. I attacked
each phrase like a lover, tonguing, slurring by turns,
my trumpet sailing, the bell flared bright as napalm-
flashed news, my high notes crisp and clear and full of bite,
the mouthpiece pressed warm as a milk-stiffened nipple.
Consider this shotgun. How unlike a nipple
the void of its muzzle. Consider the blue scale
of its barrel choked to scatter buckshot, the bite
of twelve-gauge pellets, pump action, the steel attack
swollen as love. When from above high-C, napalm
splashing spit-hot, my horn blared its canon and returned
with drumbeats in the thump of great rotors turning,
with soldiers hunched by petroleum-crisped nipples
and screaming like flutes, with the spatter of napalm
distant as the TV, I lost all sense of scale,
(my tongue a knotted pink fist poised tense to attack
the note, staccato), hungry for any small bite,
each sweeter than mother. Consider how to bite
down on brass tubing rammed in, the tuning slide turned
back, its bore greater than any shotgun's, attack
as soft as the most lovingly proffered nipple.
I took it deep, like her cock in a blowjob. The scale
of her love erupts octaves hotter than napalm
when I feel her bite down on my cindered nipple
though dead for years. To turn back, to live, I must scale
this muzzle, attacking light dappled as napalm.