Two Poems
Jon Cone

The Worm Inside the Head

They are killing it with fists, hob-nailed boots and bludgeons.

They are killing the horse, sending it to the place sought by its upturned eye.

They are killing the foam on its lips, the air in its lung.

They are killing it outside the café where the migraine sits.

The same migraine who loves to walk in thin air along mountain paths.

The migraine who trembles before wild flowers and gorse.

Who celebrates what is clear and cold, and sweetly mineral.

Who tilts his head to admire hawks drawing high circles.

Meanwhile, at the café, the migraine is no better than a bloodied stone.

An empty pipe, a miser's tip.

Nearby a waiter picks at his brown teeth.

A mob gathers.

It is a great effort for the migraine to witness.

So he stands to burrow his way through the lowering mob.

Everyone is interested in what will happen to the horse.

Nothing is where the horse is going

The mob is thrilled with what is being done to this dumb beast.

Dumb innocent dray.

Wearily it lies down on a bed of red cobblestone.

The sound a fist makes on meat is like no other.

The migraine feels a worm turn inside his head.

Not the invisible worm of William Blake but that darker known by Frederick Nietzsche.

The migraine wants to close a door on all of it -- horse, killers, mob, worm -- and draw curtains

And prepare a cooling compress of mint.

In his diary tonight the migraine will write:

Witnessed a dray horse beaten to death. Came home. Closed door. Drew curtains. Nailed my hand to the table.

On Certain Theories of the Heart


The heart is an erection, as Willm Harvey would have it
and Aristotle would have us know that
a house exists not for benefit of stone
and brick but stone
and brick exist for that purpose houses therein
express. With gates
that never seem to cease from opening,
closing. Until
such time as night comes and
atria grow quiet.
The heart
is that house where we began as first
music, a conjoining of our bright and bloody bawl
with that larger of the spheres. The heart
is an erection, as Harvey would have
it, and Aristotle would have
us know of houses and -- from lesser
marginalia -- it is that
which takes us -- weary travelers
in need of what sustains -- which lets us go.

2 The Corte Gardener (1612)

The heart is a root sunk into soil of the chest-box

drinking to excess will result in rot

of round form composed of many fibers
the size of a large potato its central part is thickest
filaments decorate its body
lower filaments
reach downward like fingers
higher strain heavenward like small heads

countless eyes adorn its length


The heart is
open turmoil,
lust, the heart is grievance, joy, the heart is
storm-tossed sea and I go down, poor rusted hull

of Panamanian registration. I say the heart is no house,
no pump, no root.
I say drink to excess
so the heart will rot!

Storm ragged shores, raze the barricade
and sentry-hooded gates, the iris filled with scar --
I am an ancient
weariness of traveler,

sloughed this dented hour. Toward the far inn
I drag my haversack, my tidal wave, my sopping
dew-lapped thing
worth less than an

aortal nickel. The heart is empty,
an empty
dragging nothingness,
a fist-spasm that pounds my cage in code as useless

as a digital sock-puppet.
Gaze unkindly into
the eye and see
the heart does not know for what purpose it is made.