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Don Juan

by Jack D. Harvey

after Tirso de Molina’s
El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra

His memoirs falsely construed,
a contrived Casanova
is left playing in the dirt.
Leave him and
his fornications.
Turn your heads instead
towards a real legend,
a damned titan of despite
strutting across the boards,
butting heads with his rivals,
giving not an inch of himself
to the house assembled.

Let’s hear it, all of you;
let’s hear ten thousand cheers
for Don Juan Tenorio,
nickname, byname, byword,
egged on by beauties
felled and foiled
in the blink of his
roving indifferent eye.
He’s better than the Bible,
than the Divine Comedy,
larger and clearer than life,
coo the fallen madonnas,
dripping fluid and passion and
who should know better than they
his insouciance, his insolence,
I defy you!
Not to be found elsewhere
or anywhere,
by God’s grace.

And after he’s finished with you,
ladies, try to remain composed,
I beg you;
open the blinds and watch him go
while the tears drain away and
you bleed and weep at the usual ports
for the loss, the shame, the invasion.
You opened your wards,
beautiful moppets, and
paid the price,
let a passport to lust
and indolence become
yours by a chance flutter of eyelids,
an unfortunate ogle;
your own fault, little ladies,
by your lack of
innocence betrayed.
His eyes took note,
he took his pleasure
and off he went
to new ports,
blissfully sailing away
across his sea of immorality.

Be quick, says the laird’s wife,
getting poked hard in the pantry,
but Don Juan pays no heed
and with aplomb
practices no economy of time;
in his hot eyes streaking
dissipation and no hoarding;
spending it all,
he gives all and his inspiration
flows like rain from heaven.
With a sigh and a gasp,
they open their fortifications,
the heyday of surrender,
the radiance of munificence
shine in their eyes.
He smiles in satisfaction and
what teeth in his smile,
what teeth, I say!
Don Juan moves on
and on and the sun
shines its magnificent espionage.
A glorious day, surely,
perfect and uncertain,
a daydream of a day
makes the birds
seem to sing
little operas in the park,
sweet and melodious.
The sun so warm,
such a sweetie-pie in the sky,
blinding us with its brightness;
boys and girls skip
hand in hand
across the green meadows,
shy and sweet,
and under the green grass
the septic tank
keeps its peace,
holds its foul burden.

Fuego! Fuego!
Shout your guts out,
dishonored Tisbea,
one in a row of many,
shout for revenge,
go in the sea if you must,
but don’t bother drowning just yet;
time will tell all, and
time will ensure payment
of every debt.
Stick around.

Time now for a little killing,
a little swordplay;
a spilling of blood
the old-fashioned way.
Farther down the line, Doña Ana
does some shouting
of her own;
Don Gonzalo,
father of the deflowered
daughter, lies
dead as a stone.

He’s not the only one,
nor is she, outraged
by Don Juan’s careless taking;
day and night
Don Juan does his best
to shame the snaky principalities,
the powers of Satan,
with his spiritual wickedness,
his slapdash knavery.

So Don Gonzalo
lies dead as a stone.
Undiscovered witness,
the green glass cat
traps no mice on the lawn;
the sun on her green head
falls neat;
like a green marble
the sun makes
with heated rhetoric
her feline stillness complete.
Death just dealt,
with sun delicate,
sparkling and deepening
the scene is watered.

Such a day
butchered Pentheus.

Don Juan turns away
and saunters and
saunters with a more
rapid pace
than his wont is.

A time for introspection?
Not for him;
too many open windows
in his corrupt soul,
too many opportunities
for lust and mayhem,
too many allegiances
to the depths of evil.
He eats his vittles and
uproariously waving
knife and fork,
condescends to cut up
with his butler.

A last supper beckons,
a joking invitation
to a guest of stone.
This is the narrow gate and
beyond the fable
the stone apparition asks
a favor not for himself or God.

Don Juan doesn’t care
one way or the other;
his humor, his sarcasm
hold to the end.
In fits and starts
even God has his limits
and wisecracking cruelty and lust
will crack open the earth
to receive the perfect sinner.

Eaten by the earth,
walking into hell,
Don Juan winks back
at paradise lost,
smiles his arrogant smile,
and continues on his way.

Copyright © 2020 by Jack D. Harvey

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