Caravaggio as Goliath
[ poetry - february 08 ]
It is an unusual self-portrait:
David holds the slain head of Caravaggio by the hair
and the blood drips thickly from the swollen lips.
The face is contorted with grotesque pleasure
and the eyes are still mocking, still alive.
You can see him smiling as he prepares his brushes -
he was familiar with whores and knives,
his nights were not allegories,
they were sweat and turpentine.
Men do not want salvation, he told Cardinal Del Monte,
they want women and power; and if David hacks
the head off Goliath then all this means
is that we are still alive to see it
and the pain is not yet ours.