[poetry]: Milan in Tangles

by (c) Nin Harris. All Rights Reserved.

Part One

milan in tangles
a woven tapestry
of water-lapping stones;
the musk, it hides a message
for a discerning nose
while my anxious feet
ache to tiptoe  across
.the secret routes of history

mahler holds the baton while i stop
to suck my thumb, ponder in indecision
whether my flying days have come
my thoughts are yet but fragments,
a chiaroscuro of sensation
and hidden porticoes
.where’s il paradiso?

(June 1996)

Part Two

this river i wade into
soaks me to my ankles and
drags at my hem;
i follow its curve
.with battered feet

it takes me past staring crowds
and guides me through
billowing clouds of dust
and industrial haze
while curious fish
.nibble ungently at my toes

almost I could sleep here,
tangled within the folds
of liquid oblivion

milan in tangles;
my thoughts in tangles
a newfound renaissance myth
of winding walkways
and brambles who sing
to infinite globes of light
aliegheri mourns his beatrice’s eyes
.while rulers war with words

i’m walking along darkened corridors
in fear of the light that burns from
.red curtained doorways

Part Three

somewhere in a tower niccolo dreams
in maps and lines i cannot read
while this rivulet. marches in time.
with the measure of
lutists, the staccato rhythm
of exhausted soldiers primed
to forget manifold aches
.by the river po

this ball and chain of
stiff damask and tresses all curled
will not keep her heart from jumping the queue.

a mole near her mouth
and a moonstone encrusted mask
herald the echo of endless wakeful
somnambulist nights.
while a smokescreen called words
will cover the trace
of dusky rose slippers
.within a manticored maze

dark pools are the compass within this head
and the sting of my fishes go unheeded.

tiptoe your way through the slumbering hoardes
do not make a sound
if you are smart they won’t know you
have walked this

somewhere beyond those brambles who sing
and the rude coruscating light of cardinal lanterns
an iron gate lies
.guarding a grove

Your fee is the key
in the grip of a hydra
where a sleeping gardener

( 31 July 1996)

(revised 23 February 1998)
(revised 30 July 2019)

Notes: Written during my second year of law school. I was reading several tomes of Renaissance history and several translations of the Divine Comedy when I wasn’t reading hundreds of case law for my actual undergraduate work (and playing Renaissance lute music on the classical guitar to boot!). It was a strange period of time for the only weirdo awkward goth kid in Malaysian law school.