PRINT November 1984

Caravaggio and His Models

Caravaggio and His Models

He was no good; he was too young; but he was mine,
Stiff as new jeans and I loved the punk.
The night is a museum of living boys
All of them surly and taciturn with pestilential looks
That beg to get slapped around, the snarl demanding
You abstract the puppy from the beast and train him
To be your pet. Some are just mean.
But they all want to get hurt. proof that . . .
How did I get roped into this? A beaten boy
Is touching as the thick stupid feet of a pudgy
Marine with an uncircumcised half-hard
Staring out in disbelief from a physique magazine.
Boy with a ram. How did he get into this mess? What
Misapprehension or is it just a matter of money that
Love is to be looked at: a million in non-negotiable bonds.
A love without restraint. keep it casual on the surface
Leave prints on him. Some boys hate to be kissed some
Curl up and shoot rubbing against your chest but they
Have all lost something they try to find in
Bed and finding it are not satisfied
Losing it again to find it elsewhere.

I am a curator in the museum of living boys.
Caravaggio, your face is the serpent’s hiss
As you siphon the python down some kid’s throat,
The heavily made-up boy bitten by a lizard,
Yet all the same face. with age and who knows what,
Medusa or the head of Goliath held up by a
Frustrated teenage boy who, overcome by its size,
Contemplates the giant head: a self-portrait of the artist.
Men who love boys set out to lose; who poses as the
Youthful David will pose in time for his trophy.
He stands at a pinball machine in a chicken bar
The Chastisement of Love in Chicago. In Hartford
Asleep in an angel’s arms. ecstatic after a good beating.
In a private collection in Indianapolis. Cupid asleep
Amor leering victoriously over the broken attributes of civilization:
Industry, science, flashing lights. loud music, poppers:
Make him forget what is taking place in your bed. Hustlers
Borrow some poor sucker’s wings to pose with sheet-burns on their knee
Ripped boxer shorts in the cathedral, one ball hanging out of a jockstrap
I saw your head banging against the wall, little fucker,
You screamed bloody murder. You posed for that picture
When you were young.
This is Love’s victory.

Those who worship at a temple of flesh
Become a shrine to its memory
And feed on the gall and wormwood of despair
The way a pelican feed s its young from itself.
Dawn slaps him across the face
And the heart slithers back under its rock.

Rene Ricard is a poet.