Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Song" by Randall Mann
More Information about the Poet: Randall Mann
This poem comes off as a song by the usage of iambics and an off rhyme scheme -- not precise, but still there, but there's one word that throws me off of the song tempo, and I don't know if it is purposeful or not.
The first quatrain alludes to a certain kind of violence with, "I found my muster station, ir. / My skin is patent leather." The "muster" although means nothing at this point of the poem has stronger implications further into the poem. The skin being patent leather brings an edge to external toughness., "The tourists are recidivists / This calm is earthquake weather" Yes, the mention of recidivists seems a bit off, but fits the tempo, also earthquake weather brings the language back to this foreboding hint.
"I've used up all the mulligans. / I'd kill to share a vice." Fun, fun, fun, gambling and "vice" and then, "The youngster reads a yellowed Oui / The socialite has lice." For those that don't know Oui it was a porn magazine in the past (closed now unfortunately). And there's some tongue of cheek against the bourgeois with the jab at the socialite.
The Europe trip I finally took
was rash and Polaroid
was gilt, confit, and bathhouse foam.
And I cannot avoid
The funny thing about this stanza is how it turns the speaker into the socialite with the discussion of the speaker's trip through the extravagance -- polaroids, gilts, confits, and bathhouses. But the line break comes in at the end to shift the tone -- these things the speaker cannot avoid are the luxuries and, "the end: I will not die in Paris," This quick shift to something more morbid turns even further with, "won't rest for a good behind / a painted mausoleum door."
"Mausoleum" is the word that I feel doesn't fit the tempo -- maybe it's too long or it's the placement, but the word breaks up the tempo at the right time. Now the turn is to something the speaker can't avoid -- the gothic nature within Paris -- "The purser will not find / me mummified beneath your tulle / and Paris will not burn." Such epic language about the self staying alive, and by comparison, Paris.
But this sentiment is undercut in the last lines, like a song stating a wink, "Today is Thursday, so I'll die. / Come help me pick my urn."