The World after Duchamp (a Performance)

The bachelor, having
stripped bare the bride,
protects himself from revenge.

His garment is firm and tight;
it fits around him
like a tent. His senses
are keen: he has
the duty to survive.

The island is completely covered
by a map of itself.
In the center,
the map is affixed
to the mighty volcano,
with the crater spared out.

For those standing on the top
the clarity of the geography
is overwhelming.
The edges of the map hang over
into the salty water.
The island has sunk
by a significant margin.

Automobiles
are forbidden on the island.
Their tires cause irreparable damage
to the fine fabric
onto which the streets are drawn
with their filigree boardwalks,
jittery trees, and
hesitant weeds.

The man carries a black cloth,
slapped over his shoulder;
in one hand a pair of scissors,
in the other a hammer;
a bunch of nails
between his lips.

Arrived on the stage, he cuts a hole
into the black cloth, slips
the cloth over his head,
starts nailing,
pinning the seam of his coat
to the floor.

Attempting to explain
his performance, he opens
his mouth.. The remaining nails
fall onto the black cloth,
slip down; hit the floor
with a tingling sound.

In another version, he walks in
naked; carries scissors,
hammer and nails
in a tool organizer box
from Sears & Roebuck.

This time he will not open his mouth
‘cause he can’t waste time
before he is clad,
protected from the island cold,
from the ubiquitous stares
of the audience.

Attempting to get up
from his crouched position
he notices he has cut
his coat too short: he has failed
to leave room
for the fabric to stretch.

Visibly too exhausted
to pull out the nails, to start
all over, he remains
in his crouched position..

He has left a flap open
in his tent-garment
for the bride to slip in,
just in case
she’ll change her mind.

What else? Just a detail:
the flap of his wide garment
is open
toward the east.