Body: boneless muscle
with three hearts, the beak of a venomous parrot, and a siphon.
Ink sacs, pupils that follow the horizon
of the ocean;
intelligent melanin to re-image lion-fish, coral, rock, eel;
to hold and taste and hold and taste but not to feel, o
Intelligence and sensation: not to be tricked by screw-top lids,
or outsmarted by bipeds
or gravity; identical arms flip-flip-flipped upon a plane,
Mr. Escher’s infinite tessellations;
only say you are difficult to keep because you lack
rigid structure, honorary vertebrate;
say you are the lone survivor of an alien universe; or this palace in Granada,
the Alhambra with its rigid structure like bones.
Environment: coral reefs,
pelagic waters & ocean floor: the obvious places. And the not-so-obvious:
crest of head-puff hiding in a coconut shell. Clever enough to move on
when dictators move in. Like poor sickly Maurits, you architect
your Necker cube then hide inside its impossibility;
grip and image mathematics, give it to us many-sided, escape from one cube of water to the other, grip the great a-ha of design, always on the brink
of the brink of itself.
Defense: Octopoids hide
inside the optical plane, trick horizon-eyes
with deimatic displays;
Maurits, master of disguise,
hid arabesques inside his staircases.
Camouflage is a necessary art, as is fashion. If needed, an arm can autotomise
and give chase.
Survival, then, is through detachment & blending in.
Predation: M.C. consumed buildings
with a protractor and compass, ate woodcuts for breakfast.
Cephalopods prefer crabs,
have been known to board crabbing vessels to steal them.
Paralyze their prey with saliva. The venom in the beak
of the blue-ringed octopus can kill a man, though
not eat him. The Nasrid dynasty
consumed the many-limbed heart of God and turned It into a palace.
Reproduction: you started out
as 200,000 eggs on strings. Your mother consumed an arm of her own
to sustain you, then died of a morbid endocrine.
You emerged alone and hungry and hungered in the dark plankton cloud,
your mother your father already dead
of you. On the plane a triangulated multitude.
Grip the tessellated infinity of your stellated dodecahedron,
or make it an octohedron, Mauk.
Locomotion: We prefer the slower methods when we can: crawling
rather than jet propulsion. Yet
siphons underneath our mantle; we can squeeze
into motion, sail on outcurling arms.
The builders of the Alhambra legged stones for so many miles
they died of the weight of them; didn’t care
for art anyway. M.C. relocated each time war splashed in.
Oh, did we mention we can walk, too.
The Alhambra: grip and taste roses, oranges, myrtles;
grip multitudes of nightingales
masters of invisible disguise; enwrap the Moorish pearl of the Nasrid dynasty.
Maurits, grip life in Rome, unbearable post-Mussolini,
thus this nauseated Waterfall and you upside-down in your infinite Relativity,
thus these horizon-eyes that roll no matter which way you turn, stellated or many-
limbed; you can afford autotomy, watch one dance away.