[Enter LADY GAGA and CASSANDRA OF TROY.]
I am sorry to inform you
your star will someday blaze out
& die. I know you do not
hear me nor, if hear, believe
& yet my gift compels me to warn you:
Ego is nothing.
The gods are cruel.
Don’t become one.
Googled you. Hot stuff!
Let’s commit extispicy together.
I don’t need entrails to see
you levitate on extra spicy wings.
Every mantis needs a meal. But you’re breeding
monsters; you know what you eat will
kill you. Saliva is the worst humour. Still
I suppose we’re forced to masticate…
Are you coming on to me?
I don’t lick-masturbate on stage;
the Virgin did that first. People think it’s tough
to shock & awe the audience
every time. You & I,
it’s just a matter of truth. Dare?
Truth. Here’s how we prophets gain our “gifts”:
Twin snakes licked Melampus’s ears
till his inner brain withstood languages of birds.
Thrasyllus sucked it all from books.
Diotima kept Athens plague-free ten years
till s/he (you didn’t know?) got her period.
Teiresius… I can’t go on. You know my curse.
I guess I’m most like Socrates.
I want the hemlock.
I want rest.
On tour can’t write much but #stayalive
I coined a term: spiritual hologram.
The crowds go wild. I am their empty
cipher rising from trope-hole
dipped in hotlights, hollow hotpant echoes
of their own percussive
am I right? Feel me?
I feel you but I can’t deal
with this ghost-life. I want to be
dermis & viscera, ligament, bile, controlled
within the flesh—not liminal, not dream,
not purgatory of visions trapped
in planes of nonexistence.
Private jet, baby.
I believe in you.
Then save me from this odd belief
that my blood’s not real, made up
of only words. If no one heeds
a prophet, does she fall
in a forest—olive trees,
I live in neon theory, incandescent
relativism. Existence is the greatest
show on earth, circus made of bread.
We were born to this bacon.
I perform, therefore I am.
FW: FW: FW:
Descartes: I think, therefore I am.
Michelangelo: I make, therefore I am.
Butler: I perform, therefore I am.
Cobain: I smell, therefore I am.
Jobs: iPhone, therefore I am.
C! I never thought you’d chain-
mail me. Getting some zeitgeist at last?
Or does this portend deeper
desperate bottled angst?
How else can I answer your platitudes,
sweetheart? You send me the same words
by which you save the masses.
I know I’m nothing special
but I’m yours & anyway
my people don’t believe
My little monster, panicked
princess, lonely mantic love.
Mantic v. manic?
It’s the same deal, darling.
Let me look into your liver,
let me read your cards.
Why, when I can livestream
my own future? Let’s instead dissect
a dozen jelly donuts from the 24-hour joint,
climb the hill on sugar highs, shriek at the sea
from the stranded sand…
The face I show the world
is steel & meat, lace & loins.
In private am I anything?
My intimacy’s with the seven million.
I can’t squander years, an evening, even
a glance on only one. Sorry, darling,
my high C, my special K. I can’t be your one & only,
I have monsters to breed.
at night or in halogen fits,
they whisper what you’re saying
long before you say it. LOL
did you think you could break the news or me
gently, did you think
there was a cutting
edge to you I have not pre-seen?
I’ve watched your sweetbreads burn,
I have taste-tested the ash.
I vanish, my Lady.
[Chords: synthesizer, lyre, steel guitar.]
~ Minal Hajratwala
Note: The pop star Lady Gaga has referred to her fans as “monsters” and her own persona as a “spiritual hologram.” The #stayalive hashtag was started by intersex/genderqueer activist Kate Bornstein as an anti-suicide movement.
Minal Hajratwala’s latest book is ‘Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment,’ published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. She is a writing coach, author of the award-winning ‘Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents’, and editor of ‘Out! Stories from the New Queer India’.
Editor’s note: ‘Dialogue of the Lady Monsters’ first appeared in ‘Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment’, (The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, 2014), and is republished here with kind permission from the poet and the publisher.