Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Shelf Life of Skin

by Robert E. Petras

In the barbed wire magic of dragonhood,
you say you want to express yourself
with constellations of ink,
an iron cross on a shoulder,
a golden condor on the chest,
rattlers entwining your navel.

Write a poem instead.
Poetry lasts. Poetry lingers
like the strong finish of wine
as it goes down the empyreal.

On your upper back
“Dick and Dana” was encastled by a heart,
the Goddess of Eternal Pledge
now blotted out by Harley Wings.

That rose on your calf
is not a rose by any other name
but the constellation non sequitur.
What is the color of real?

The stars suddenly flicker
then go cold in the darkness.
Time tattoos us all,
but the word keeps on turning.

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