Sunday, September 30, 2012
PAUL MORPHY IN PARIS*
Saturday, the First of November
I open with the Sicilian Dragon
the clock quiets and the room starts,
voices expand. I climb over the chair.
A good enforcer of the touch-move rule,
I make the bastard play it, mop his pawns,
capture his Carthusian rooks.
Somewhere in the Month:
Bogolyubov and Botvinnik sing five octaves
in the French Defense. I interrupt only to sip
their wine, nibble their gambits.
At The End of This Horrid Month:
I'm in jail. In Paris. My torturers make me
confess to my wife's shoes--in a half-circle.
And what of it? It is a perfect half-circle.
The Late Nineteenth Century:
I wish I could fly. This queen's knight
pawn forwards two squares, the Orangutan
sits under the canopy in a glass tree.
The Circle at the End of Time:
"He will plant the banner of Castile
on the walls of Madrid, with the cry:
The city is taken, and the little king will go away."
*NOTE: Paul Morphy was an American and one of the world's greatest chess players. At the peak of his career in 1859 he withdrew from tournament chess, became increasingly psychotic, and spent his days arranging women's shoes in half-circles in his bedroom, pacing his room and muttering in French, "He will plant the banner of Castile…”