CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
From Thaumatrope
Brent Hendricks



Queen of Diamonds

                                    Cantatrice of redglass
                                    as a mirror in flowers
                                    as bloodstone hangs fissuring suns
                                    as a gaze suffers the light inviolate—

And there’s no holiday,
no avenue to disgorge my regrets
or parade my intent. Only the lozenge
of singing—
                    medleys of unlapidary charm—

So the lover who lost his way in waves, in falling,
So the friend wrapped in my sins, bag of bones—


      (And maybe there’s nothing we can really know except the adage, rarely chosen, that we’re dying and rising at the same feast)


After the jokes and several aphoristic card tricks, as the haze
Rolled in from the bay, the magician called the last fantast
To the stage. A little banter about origins and hometowns ensued,
Then the magician sawed the last fantast in half. What
Disturbed the audience was the stench in the amphitheater
As everything the last fantast had ever swallowed
Spilled onto the floor. Nostalgia,
Explained the magician, was a good thing,
As long as you threw up enough.








Queen of Hearts

Dumb ghost!—if I forgive you
it’s because you deserve it almost, or
because the wind

                                    (let’s try again, let’s shoot the moon!)

                                                —or
because the loss of things can’t be affluxed,
can’t be hedged in the cards accounting—
you’ve only one shot shouts the marker of a friend
though the chance stretches before you every hour
on the hour

                                    (like a hand!)

like design almost, if you can cover the cost—


                       and like today, I suppose, held and spent
                       as the last fantast strolled
                       shriven
                       of nothing—nothing the spread—

                       the edge of the park backlit
                       dimensionally                       fractally

                       trees born practically

                       in this,


                                               our circumabulatory
                                                      detail—


until it seems a mistake, as the game grows old,

      not to have it at all:
in love, hand, and horizon,
in everything ever built, every striving,
like topiaries scattered in an open field …
and you can enter each greenness if you remember,
and you can measure the moon if you walk around—








Queen of Spades

Though it’s best to fight in vain
I don’t suggest it:
                             darkward
the last fantast slipped backward,
faded across a threshold of wagered
dreams, vanished in a plot of glum bones.

And this in the end is you, or will be,
your body a cenotaph to oblivion’s home.


                                                        So

offer the card, toss it down. Concede
the game as the final frontier of art.
Love me for what I am: nothing,
the nothing that stuffs an inverted heart


                               * *


                   beautiful beautiful
                   beautiful friend


                                            I won’t forget you!

plies the song of the last fantast
(as the flesh crawls from its stem)
beautiful beautiful I laugh out loud,
sclerotic (as thoughts grind in wind)