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The Final Masquerade: a Ballad

April 29, 2015 | By

This poem was inspired by a NAPOWRIMO prompt in Rejected Stuff which is also its title. It is also an attempt to write a Dylanesque ballad, set in modern times. It deals objectively with two couples, a murder, adultery, love, marriage, faithfulness, cuckolding, betrayal, loyalty, exile and other themes in the form of an exciting story that resembles a fast paced thriller showing that life has changed and is now complex in its pyschological dimensions.

I wore two masks like Janus

Poetry Month Special

At the final masquerade
I didn’t know where to turn
One stood by a pillar
And one stood by an urn

I wore two masks like Janus
The lobo and the tern
The music started playing a waltz
“Save the last dance, hon”

Smoke was in the mirrors
The ice was crushed in cubes
Inside tall glasses
That held a liquid blue

When her husband wasn’t looking
I kissed the one in red
And when the one near the urn
Turned to me, I said

“Look how the moon is walking
Through the clouds, unfed”
And kissed her also on her lips
She swooned away like dead

While holding her then, in my arms
A gown trailed into sight
She wore the mask of a lover
But something inside bled

Her husband had a sword and gun
And challenged me to fight
All I had was my guitar
And a book called B.E.D

The one who lay still in my arms
Had a dove-shaped mask
I put her gently on damask
And kissed the one in red

Then I took his gun and shot
The husband, calm and cool –
Put a bullet through his head

The masquerade would soon be o’er
I had two women on my hands
The songs were getting fainter
The drunks were all dead tired

The women had paired off with their lovers
The men lounged in the lounge
Everywhere the ashtrays overflowed
And the glasses clinked

Dawn would soon be coming
I had to make a stand
I sent one home by taxi
The dove-faced one who slept

The other one was weeping
Her husband was still dead
I strummed a song and whispered soft
“I’Il come back soon, instead”.

When I left the sun was shining
On the masquerade
The woman was secretly smiling
That her husband was now gone

She would wait
And so would she
By pillar or by urn
Wearing the mask of a lover or dove
That bled or did not burn

I took a cab and then I fled
To Spain, to some hotel
Haunted forever by the events
Of my final masquerade

Whenever I drink too much
My aging hands do shake
I go out alone in the night
Carrying a long black trunk

I make two calls from a nearby booth
Always to the same:
The woman who has a dove-like face
And the one with the mask that bled

But I can never go back
Because of the events-
Seems like it was yesterday –
Of that final masquerade.

No, I can never go back
Because of the events-
Seems like it was yesterday –
Of that final masquerade.

Read more stellar poems in our Poetry Month Special Edition

Dr. Koshy A.V. is presently working as an Assistant Professor in the English Department of Jazan University, Saudi Arabia. He has many books, degrees, diplomas, certificates, prizes, and awards to his credit and also, besides teaching, is an editor, anthology maker, poet, critic and writer of fiction. He runs an autism NPO with his wife, Anna Gabriel.
All Posts of Dr Ampat Varghese Koshy

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