In memory of Jack Vance
A trickster's sprezzatura, snap-brim cap
with phoenix feather, that can pick sharp teeth
write villanelles. His scimitar's curved sheath
Neat-oiled for quick despatch. Always a gap
between rogue's execution and desire
through which adventures fall a bright cascade.
It is the player, not the game, who's played.
A ukelele plinks. Lamenting choir
of dragon, demon, deodand and grue.
The last rich embers of dark velvet sun
An ending unavoidable as Chun.
Whose eyeball cloak awaits such rogues as you
and me. The gentleman has gone elsewhere.
Words laid on his dead eyes to pay his fare.