Pavane for a cyber princ.., p.1
PAVANE FOR A CYBER-PRINCESS
A Talisman Ebook
First Edition: Miniature Sun Press
Copyright © 2001 by Bruce Boston
First Ebook Edition: 2011
Pavane for a Cyber-Princess
Her exquisite cadaver
rises from a laboratory table,
the fascia of her reconstructed spine
arching in a sensuous circumflex
that could pique the interest
of the most jaded lover.
Letters with hooks and eyelets
scavenged from ancient alphabets
(and their venerable antecedents)
have been tethered and sutured
in the enlarged crystalline
lattice of her cerebrum.
The speckled rind of her integument
has been scrubbed clean by nanosolvents.
Internal organs justified with a vengeance.
Her veins are irrigated by purified waters
siphoned through shifting strictures
punched in the face of Time
to the canals of mid-millennial Venice,
city of divine flagellants,
ex cathedra of long fevers and catered lusts.
She lusters like satin spar alabaster.
She glows with the deep and deceptive
warmth of heirloom Tiffany porcelain.
She glistens like the salt-wave-scoured
nacre of a rare chambered nautilus
washed ashore in the glaucous twilight
of a once-remembered alien dusk.
"Alien" as in "not of this world."
"Ancient" as in "Cyrillic, runic, demotic Greek."
"Venerable" as in "cuneiform and linear A."
"Long" as in "poisoning an entire life."
"Mid-millennial" as in "1500 Anno Domini
and the Borgian decades that surround it."
The architects of her soft hardware
have curried her with a curious air:
the archetypal and breathless "O"
of a late and eagerly awaited arrival
charmed by the applause of the masses.
It matters little what she says,
only that she speaks.
Even once her motion has ceased
her synthetic locks continue
to billow with a life of their own.
Her barely concealed corporal locks
could decimate the pride
of the most pampered feline.
A rag, a sloe-sullen glance,
a flank of flesh-sheathed bone,
have made a comeback at her behest.
A well-tapered heel is de rigueur.
Fashion, of all spent things,
remains her subject and eminent domain.
She is the recurring imago
of an adolescent male libido at play.
Her smoothly chiseled features
(or countless simulacra thereof)
will forever launch and dry-dock
an armada of copious dreams.
"De rigueur" as in "deforming the instep."
"Spent" as in "utterly wasted."
"Corporal" as in "mons veneris."
"Architects" as in "gene-choppers."
"Most pampered" as in "combed and petted
to the ends of trembling distraction."
All of her changes have
been planned and wrought
for the one who has primed
her heart's acceleration
and braced her vulnerable soul
for the torrent's hard renewal.
She bows down before her master,
deliquescent as an ingénue,
one "I" turned inward
to the tiny circus (circuits) in her head:
limber aerialists and burning lions,
sword-swallowers and fearsome freaks,
electronic pulses that dart like fish.
His image reflected back
from her faux-fawn-startled eyes
offers him all the bent things
the henchmen of his infamous empire
have never been able to fathom.
By striding into the furnace wind
of his perverse and varied fantasies
she has cultured three beautiful screams:
poetic, heriatic, incantatory.
By bending in every direction
his rogue heart can imagine
she has gained the glacial poise
and objectivity of a marathon assassin
whose contract is desire's death
over and over again.
Still he strays from the archives
of her seductive artistry
with an obsessive constancy
more often than she anticipates.
Still he departs on corporate raids
to forests and fields of exploitation
beneath the skies of the Southern Cross.
(where it is rumored he has gathered
a strange cast of obsequious jackals
with whom he savors astral phenomena
and cavorts beneath the midnight sun).
"Astral" as in "aurora australis."
"Henchmen" as in "chief executive officers."
"Deliquescent" as in "melting at a touch."
"Incantatory" as in "ritual oblations."
"Fearsome" as in "the Janus-headed boy
with the cloven hooves of a goat."
His exploits are whisper-myth
among the swirl of faceless servants
whose presence decants her days
and descants her solitary evenings
like a (clearly) veiled allusion
to her own voluntary servitude.
Her latest-foremost rival
for the pulse of his attentions,
a creature of deft derangements
and a lineage to match her own,
envies her for her taste in clothes.
She can smell the sharp after-tang
of artfully enhanced pheromones
in the no-longer-sacred sanctum
of her specular closets.
And then there is the Aphid Woman
(if "woman" you could call her:
furtive, speechless, naked as an insect)
he has rescued from the blasted temple
of some off-world excavation
and mounted on a spinning carousel
in the otherwise bare foyer
of their lunar manse.
"Blasted" as in "dwelling with the damned."
"Latest" as in "untimely to be sure."
"Foremost" as in "soon to supersede."
"Spinning" as in "revealing every
scabrous inch of her larval obscenity."
"Faceless" as in "the carillon (carrion)
that carries vespers kicking
and mewling into the maw of night."
Champagne brunch on a lawn of thorns.
Side of calf dressed for the altar.
Tiny appetizers squirming in her palms.
Identities that shift without warning.
Tender abrasions on her third incisor.
A sense of impending orchestration.
Blonde-naked before the Queen's regalia.
Her mother's indignant high retort.
Lingua franca cured in brine.
An epee that needs no introduction.
Vertiginous descent to an unnamed circle.
The first terrazzo she has ever pranced.
Subaqueous chase through the catacombs.
By far too late to save the burning chattel.
Suffering a curt (covert) ancestral caress.
Silenced at the moment of vindication.
Phalange of incomprehensible levers
rising from the caul of a suckling moon.
When his nocturnal peregrinations
have slipped dawn's coverlet,
when the pillow's creases have left
a transient cicatrix on her stolen cheeks,
she cannot decide whether to take
her coffee black or thick with cream.
What oracular conceit could have
revealed her trumped expectations?
Which sword or cup could have forecast
the surfeit of his infantile greed?
Or surmised that the smoke
from his legendary panatelas
would leave its carcinogenic stench
on the walls, the damask draperies,
in the lapsing shallows of her breath?
Like a freight that pierces the eye
of the tunnel that hollows the hillside
of her wish and fear fulfillments,
the riot of her consciousness erupts
without braking on the farther side
(unleashing a Pandora's boxcar
of decadent ontological curiosities
that take flight across the heavens
to further darken mourning skies).
"Curiosities" as in "antiquated."
"Freight" as in "the baggage she totes."
"Carcinogenic" as in "rabid proliferation."
"Elusive" as in "illusion, elision, elusus."
"Stolen" as in "possession is nine-tenths
of whatever law contains the mind."
The last time he deigns to visit
the palatial enclosure of her chambers
(to harvest the silk of her body
and pace the cordons of her flesh
like an appraiser estimating a sale),
she releases her antlered teeth and nails
in a fury of blood-bone chiaroscuro
that leaves his handsome torso
wracked and scarred for this life
and several more to come.
The pastilles that crumble-dissolve
in the wet silence of her ample mouth
create scattershot impressions
of her trashed personae,
phantom mirror shards that can
only be trusted deeply as they sever,
purely as they pale her lengthening paean,
slowly or swiftly as they are borne to fade.
The somnolents she has chosen
will allow her to sleep for centuries
without aging a New World second.
Sleep the sleep of a vacuous embrace
(breathing and feeding tubes in place)
until the variable spawn of the ages
serves her up from Morpheus
into the arms of a verifiable prince.
One who will shower her blank visage
with a storm of kisses so very gentle
they could break a clenched fist.
"Clenched" as in "knuckles white as bone."
"Storm" as in "scale the battlements."
"Morpheus" as in "Death's favorite nephew."
"Spawn" as in "leaping the rapids to mate."
"Scattershot" as in "the stuttering light
of memory's inconstant strobe."
"Battlements" as in "the fortress of her body."
"Borgian" as in "Cesare and Lucrezia."
"Carrion" as in "fare for scavengers."
"Maw" as in "the gullet of dreams."
"Janus-headed" as in "knows the score
before the hands are splayed."
Bruce Boston lives in Ocala, Florida, once known as the City of Trees, with his wife, writer-artist Marge Simon, and the ghosts of two cats. He is the author of fifty books and chapbooks, including the novels The Guardener's Tale and Stained Glass Rain. His poetry and fiction have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Asimov's SF Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and The Nebula Awards Showcase. One of the leading genre poets for more than a quarter century, Boston has won the Bram Stoker Award for Poetry, the Asimov's Readers Award, and the Rhysling Award, each a record number of times. He has also received a Pushcart Prize for Fiction and the Grandmaster Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
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