Karl's Boys

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Power is not allowing a child to sleep
In a bed on a private plane. The flight to Dubai is long,
and Lagerfeld says he needs to wake up looking refreshed.
Power is then falling asleep in a chair
And everyone sleeping in chairs
While the bed stays freshly made. There is a lesson here:
If you die on the throne, no one remembers the cobwebs,
And yet those too everyone will covet. All treasure forbidden
Might be left to a pretty boy like Aladdin,
The kind of raw material the designer allows in his cohort
For a certain amount of time. Karl is very old now,
And doesn’t like anyone who ages
Or cannot show restraint. Not even a diamond
In the rough can touch anything
Save a lamp
When lured into riches of the Lion’s Cave.
Who dares disturb such slumber? Who would coat
The Kaiser’s ashes in platinum and gold,
And feed them to the most beautiful men
Before they are mummified and seal in sarcophagi?
That was only a test. A last supper for a lesser king.
On an island unknown in the fifth ocean,
Under a canopy of wisteria
And cherry blossoms, Karl is staging a second
Coming, in which Cupid abandons love
And becomes his personal assassin. There’s no more children
Or animals, only magnificent silks and
Vicuña wool sheared off the wings of divine messengers.
Elsewhere, it’s just fashion. It’s just a young demon
Eating an entire pizza in a closet full of Forever 21
Knocking off every Chanel dress ever made.
Elsewhere only cul-de-sacs and earthly names.
Elsewhere the boys don’t mind second-hand
Edwardian collars as they tag the ceilings
Of cathedrals with the touch of fingerless leather gloves.
It isn’t the same. It was never for them,
Bodies who don’t dare upon the heavens.
Nobody told them about planes that never land,
Or how on earth they always return alone
To trinkets homes after a long day
Dangling from key rings in dusty markets.