Head of Orpheus

Head of Orpheus

A Poem by Moonie

Haven't decided on the title, feel free to suggest

Stark starless city
in her ailing arched joints,
while he
with his glittery, galaxy-green,
candy-apple eyes
marches on, amidst
the cigarette smoke.

August's metallic rain-song
and he stumbles down the
hospital stairs,
spewing senile sermons,
like the mouthpiece of
sweet Jesus.
'neath neon pink glow,
a biblical vision---
an angel with grape black hair,
shadows under eyes,
and the taste of the night's last smoke
etched on parched lips
that'll eclipse
the dull ache in his ribs
which proclaims--
"There is no God."
"There is no God, only
death and decay.
Everything good dies here,
everything beautiful corrupts and rots.
For death does not
The echo of the gunshot
through the bare bones of a skull
still breathes
in the house where a father killed himself
years ago.
And lo, each night, millions of similar
velvety black souls
pass on undisturbed
towards what--he knows not.
Perhaps they get caught,
and fished out
of the night air,
maybe they find peace in the cold fingers
combing through their jet black hair,
calming the quivering limbs,
and patting the backs of their veiny hands.

The sins of their amnesiac memory
standing out stark
against August's throbbing pulse.
Opalescent leeches latched
onto their bare backs,
sucking blood from first their skin,
and then the deepest marrow,
leaving nothing
but a mass of decaying
brown-black bone
till they're reduced to
mere imitations of their past self.
Going about their lives
one breath at a time
with dead-man eyes, and
mummified souls.

Tubes grow
out of his veins,
like aquatic reeds dancing
in the sun.
They grow out of the parasites
raging in his blood,
that sat dormant, waiting
till he was
vulnerable and in love.
Amidst the sterile air,
there is not a wisp of
his cologne musk.
The man who was
a glorious giant in life--
naked and shrunken.
Defenceless and defeated,
for every voyeur to view.
It broke my heart.
The machines beep,
and keep
his exhales minimal.
Mouth agape,
my love lies frail---
like a January ember,
wavering, and
lusting for a rekindle.
And had I candles for my lips,
and my tongue all aflame,
I would have reached so far in,
he'd have never felt cold again.
Alone now,
I battle the prospect
of his possible
No more novels for him--
all the ones he began and never
shapeless words in the dark,
lost forever.
No more Sundays
of fooling around in bed,
and falling asleep with
intertwined legs.

He'll stay unaged in all our polaroids,
while I wrinkle like a nut,
all charming manly smiles
crinkled crow's feet by the eyes,
content and oblivious
in his extraordinary bliss.
I wonder if he even remembers
them still.
He stares instead
at the bulb above my head.
Eyes the color of greying violets,
on those whirling, star-spangled fields,
perhaps searching for his own place
amongst them.

I take
his limp hand
(for better, for worse;
for richer, for poorer;)
in mine own
(in sickness and in health)
and remember our lives
(to love and to cherish)
for the both of us.
(till death do us part)

His eyes-
the color of August rain.
One could taste the thunder
on his lips.
There was something
in the way he loved,
in the touches and kisses.
Something quiet and unsaid.
Almost magnetic.

Glazed by early morning's light,
his bronzened chest ablaze,
in the filtered rays of the sun.
A vision of Apollo himself--
sinewy limbs sprawled,
twisting under the sheets,
entwining with my own.
Thick hair for my fingers to lace
and a magical mouth to trace
kisses all over my skin.

Who'd have known that even then
he was being poisoned from within.
That his depression was devouring
him up,
hollowing him out
to a mere husk of the man he was.
Who'd have known that it had
already lodged its tentacles
in his heart,
and was coloring his blood with
its ink,
filling up each crevice of his being,
metastasizing like cancer.
Who'd have known
it would eat him from the inside out,
rotting him like an apple gone soft.

As that summer's end drew near,
the idea of a world
without him
grew more opaque each day.
If he could have smiled to me
with his hollowed-in eyes,
and vicodin-white lips,
he would have let me know
that it was going to be
just fine,
but his face
never moved an inch.
I held on
to his hands with a deathgrip,
fearful that any moment, they'll
slip right out and fall limp--
hands that had cradled heads
of infants and crying lovers,
now eclipsed within mine.

Waning like the August moon,
he shrunk inwards day by day,
as though he might vanish
any second, from
right before my eyes, leaving
only the poems he wrote on
or the sensation of slept-in beds,
as a reminder,
of the man I'd loved once.

In the end, I wasn't there
to witness his last moments.
I think of him now, surrounded
by blanched-looking faces,
searching for one he would
recognize, and falling back, spent
from the effort of trying.
The disease which had waged
an intricate war
on his fleshy insides
for all these years, at last
devouring him whole
with that final gulp.

Years from now, I'll
slumber under some sunkissed
pasture, with mottled croton
leaves, pick up dying flowers,
crush them in my palm's crease,
and let the soft sickly petals blow
windward. Pass my time alone,
as everyone else wills me to.
It'll even be peaceful for a while, with
the sun dancing against my closed eyes,
like being buried amongst patches
of daffodils and myrtle bushes,
with the grass above my head.
And as the evening draws in,
I'll take root amongst the
flower beds, breathing in
the skyline's mandarin-orange,
and the violet-kissed
breeze of midsummer.
Tranquil at last,
like the orphan head of Orpheus
floating on the mango waters, and
singing rhymes for the sake of love.

© 2020 Moonie

Author's Note

This is the longest poem I've ever accomplished. It dervies inspiration from the incidents which took place in a friend's life, who lost his partner to depression.
Suggestions for improvement will be welcome.

My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register

Featured Review

quite a masterpiece. i have to catch my breath after reading. i will have to read it multiple times to absorb everything - there is so much weaved into your heartfelt words and imagery as you tell this intricate tale. it is sad but there is hope and love which sort of makes it ok. this speaks to me of mourning and acceptance. there is a dignity in the way you relate it. spent love lasts for eternity and that is where our consolation lies. bravo! ... :)

Posted 7 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Beautiful and amazing my dear friend. Myth and tale is my favorite. I enjoyed the epic poem. You allowed the reader to feel and understand the places and the journey. The flow of thoughts led the reader to the solid ending. Thank you for sharing the amazing poetry.

Posted 6 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is an instant favorite for me... I am awestruck not just by the words you placed and the feelings they conveyed so very strongly but also the imagery that intermingled the emotion so perfectly this is absolutely wonderful poetry! This snapshot of life and love lost to lament is epic level perfection of write I shudder that I could even get close to the rawness and beauty of this share!

Posted 7 Months Ago

This is epic. It's also great reading. I enjoyed the poem as a whole. "through the bare bones of a skull
still breathes" You might wish to change "breathes" there to "breathe" since "bones" is plural and your verb should be singular. Other than that one little "s" I couldn't find anything objectionable here. Great stuff, beginning to end. Thanks for sending this over. I really enjoyed it.

Posted 7 Months Ago

ok, where to start!! This is divine in so many ways, and you've crafted a brilliant progression of the downfall. The first couple of sections are teeming with divinity and succulence that's they're a cathartic read with their sound work and musicality. Towards the end, despite the continual mysticity of the overall piece, there's a bit of sloppiness when it comes to maintaining the divinity and succulence of the sound work and musicality of the previous sections. It did cross my mind that such was intentional given the gradual downfall into departure, but even moments when the depression is superbly hinted at, you're still using that same type of language that doesn't really make appearances further down the line. But my main critique is I figure some thoughts would be all the stronger if certain thoughts weren't broken up willy-nilly (eg. "There is no God/ There is no God, only/death and decay" - the "only" should move down to start the next line, because the repeated expression of "there is no God" is too powerful to sustain any more words on that line, and "only" is powerful in itself at the start of the line). Line breaks as well as Stanza breaks are dainty devices that must be used with care, for every Line break as every Stanza break says something about the piece itself AND guides readers on how to read it. There are a couple of moments where at least the consideration of tweaking the line breaks is advisable, but.....

on the whole - this is a masterpiece. Well freaking done!!

Posted 7 Months Ago

Hells bells, this is quite a masterpiece in itself they way you are very detailed, articulate, expressive and descriptive in everything. You really can picture this in your mind's eye as you read it. Engrossing and frightful as well as dark and dramatic. A humbling and an emotional read bravo.

Posted 7 Months Ago

this reads on such a personal level .... i like the poetry you breath into the dark reaches of death and dying ... the almost sweet sadness it evokes with the weave of earth, sky and plant ... i also really like the mythology ... Orpheus' head ... death of music .. i think its pretty fitting ... but since you asked for ideas ... maybe something with the Styx river of the dead ... or from Egypt and the land of Duat ...through which Ra, the sun god traveled east to west each day and had to battle Apophis's chaotic primordial ooze to rise again each morn ;)
the length doesn't bother me at all ... i am propelled by the language and the human tragedy of loss your speaker has/is enduring ... and your poem drew me in right away .. there is always tweeking a person can do ... to clarify ... cut repetition etc. ... trick really is to know when to stop ;)) I am so happy to see you posting Moonie!

Posted 7 Months Ago

quite a masterpiece. i have to catch my breath after reading. i will have to read it multiple times to absorb everything - there is so much weaved into your heartfelt words and imagery as you tell this intricate tale. it is sad but there is hope and love which sort of makes it ok. this speaks to me of mourning and acceptance. there is a dignity in the way you relate it. spent love lasts for eternity and that is where our consolation lies. bravo! ... :)

Posted 7 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


7 Reviews
Added on November 21, 2019
Last Updated on March 19, 2020
Tags: Love, poem, poetry, dark, light, depression, death



If you're a dreamer, come in If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar A hope er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer, If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire For we have some flax-golden tales to spin .. more..

Blue Sunday Blue Sunday

A Poem by Moonie

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..

Memoirs Memoirs

A Poem by Carol Cashes