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Fictive Fever

Fictive Fever

Caravaggio, Caravaggio,
not your name but the town you were
Michelangelo Merisi,

Your art blessed with climax,
out of the darkness thrust historic figures,
St. Peter and executioner with dirty feet,
They gathered to mourn, but
she’s dressed like a harlot,
bloated corpse of The Virgin,
Or provocative sexuality,
as the victorious little archer smirks sultry and mischievous.
Your violent art,
gut-wrenching us into reality.
Even the Pope’s cherished Bernini took from your creation.

But you, you mad unfathomable creature,
your clothes become rags and fall away,
revealing the nakedness of a troubled soul,
the need to stir up the dust of your time,
to argue and offend, to pose a threat and strike, kill,
or bite the hand, one feeding you.
Those Malted Knights, whose favor you cultivated,
whose rank you joined,
whose honor you offended.
Your head offered on canvas did not appease.

Hunted and wandering,
one step ahead of the dagger.
What makes a man so volatile? So self-destructive?
So incredibly talented and revolutionary?
So sure of himself, and yet so full of error.
Caravaggio, Caravaggio,
running after the ship you missed,
you didn’t know your belongings were not aboard,
they were stowed away, safe,
but not you,
as you rampaged through the swamp,
trying to catch them,
in trying you caught the fever.
As you lay dying, you were just like one of your paintings.
The historic one at the key moment,
the climax,
sorrowful, forlorn, lost, misunderstood,
then God took you away.

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