The Poems of Jean Cocteau Will Keep You Awake at Night

Photo by 25621. CC0/Public Domain license.

The grainy black-and-white images
flicker at you long after
you’ve closed your eyes
and pretended you arrived
at a different location

The gravelly voice meets French perfume
as much as you resist
the tears you shed for the beast are real
his wild heart calmed, tormented
then saved by love

A portrait of moon and stars
may have you looking skyward
or following the blackened platter
ravelling ribbons of sound
if you dare to look down

Mere fatigue cannot overwhelm
the blood of a poet
transfixed by reflection
submerged into a world of dreams
fitted to the frame of a mirror

The poet, it reveals,
is but a manual laborer
an intermediary, working in solitude
speaking a timeless language
that has yet to be learned

He disappears with the house
as it falls into the sky
a vessel no longer his own
waiting for the lies of myth
to become truth