He met her at one of those downtown bars
where knights and their maidens hang out.
And fell in love with her sad eyes, and the severity
of her high cheekbones and wire rim glasses,
with the sarcasm in her voice and her concealed .45.
He polished up his armor and danced a boogaloo
and said, "Maiden,
Let me pluck the rosebud whose bloom does not decay.
Let me be the lover you did not drive away.
Let me be the doctor who takes off all your clothes.
Let me feel your body, that I may heal your soul."
The Maiden did not speak or look at him
for she was in thrall to the Beast, loathsome and rich,
who led her out to his limousine.
Half-hidden by the smoky glass windows,
he took her brutally from behind.
The Knight staggered away in horror and shame
and wandered the city for a long time.
He sought self-esteem in good deeds:
in helping the feeble and the ragged and poor
who gather in the streets on moonlit nights.
Mornings he awoke on clean starched sheets.
Then he sought to lose himself in alcohol and in drugs
and often woke up with scabs on his arms
on broken-down couches in strange living rooms,
One time he was doing a deal in a dark alley,
and the Beast came along to sell.
The Knight took out my rusty sword
and struck him a mortal blow from behind.
Then he cleaned the mud off his armor,
the drugs out of his veins,
and with a crippled little shuffle
came before the Maid again.
"The dealer was the healer
of my hunger and my pain.
He knew where he was wounded,
the Beast whom you have slain.
And I knew where he was hurting
and I touched him there just right,
It is the lonely Beast I loved,
and not the loathsome Knight"
Then he took off his armor and threw it in a heap
and breaking into a cold sweat, showed her his scars.
She took off her glasses and let down her hair,
and knelt down before him, offering her lips.
For now he is the wound and he is the Beast,
the sacrament of blood for her body's feast.
And she is the moonlight shining on his city of gold,
the holy scripture which instructs his soul.