|Jesse Lee Kercheval|
|Japanese Expedition to Antarctica, 1911-1912
1120 feet of film
of the Shirase expedition
& all I remember is this--
Japanese in fur-lined parkas
tipping over penguins,
as if they were bowling pins,
as if they were cows, back home in Wisconsin.
It's not the way Lucio D'Ambra made it seem
when he turned my life into a movie
& stole my name--without asking--for the title.
He made it all a joke. But I ask you
was it funny when my father,
King Ottocar, decreed Prince Sigismondo
& I should marry, saying--
"two handkerchiefs of land stitched
together make a bed-sheet?"
It wasn't until when he set the day &
forgot to name the year! Word got out--
D'Ambra arrived in Curlandia
with his film crew. Meanwhile, Sigismondo
left for France with no plan to return.
With D'Ambra, I set sail for Paris too,
sworn to bring Prince Sigismondo home.
We had some adventures, Lucio & me,
until at last I found the prince
& returned him to Curlandia in handcuffs.
But King Ottocar was angry--
as punishment, he ordered one sent to a fortress
to be guarded by his officers,
the other to the convent of Noble Damsels.
But Poor Papa, he messed up again,
sending me to languish in the fortress;
Sigismondo to the convent!
I blame the film crew! D'Ambra's poor direction!
So the movie ended. Lucio left for Italy
on the very next dirigible. Six months later
& still I'm playing briscola with soldiers.
But I've written a new scenario--
adding a sleeping guard, a secret door,
a seaplane to fly me to straight Rome
where I will become a great Italian diva.
Look for me in D'Ambra's latest movie!
Princepessa Bebè--film's incandescent star!
We watch as a farmer,
hoeing in a field,
stops work to catch a duck
& fuck it,
wrinkled penis pushing
past the feathers.
The pianist, stunned, stops
The audience falls
more silent than the movie.
The duck, to my extreme surprise,
doesn't seem to mind.