Lilith (Read Me Without Danger)

          I address myself only to people capable of understanding me,
                    and they will read me without danger.

                                        —De Sade1

Blown apart, burning lips
          break silence,
opening boundaries
poets know working against
no one but libertines
          and bandits;

so slowly, only now
          can we show
those poor souls how force will
nature by making her
mortal inhibition
          and allow

whores an art—her inmost
from out old boudoirs she
          had reasoned
would not put sin within
          their limits,
so from that ancient way
          she strayed.

to worlds that can’t take it,
          touch begs us
with rages to make up
          what evades
creation, since it’s not
          gods, but men
who are sent to save this

miserable planet
          from itself—
who else, but Queen Lilith;
          once taken
by Christians, pre-Scripture,
          she made them
expurgate her, leaving
          her legend

apocryphal until
          we summoned
her up—it’s possible
          to become
one with a character
          if by some
spread-thighed mind we trouble
          our desires.

1Marquis de Sade, “Français, Encore un effort si vous voulez être Républicains: Les Mœurs [Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans: Morals],” Philosophy in the Bedroom: Or, the Immoral Mentors, translated from the French by Lorna Berman in The Thought and Themes of the Marquis de Sade: A Rearrangement of the Works of the Marquis de Sade, Kitchener, Ontario: Ainsworth Press, 1971; page 57. First published clandestinely in two volumes as, La Philosophie dans le boudoir, Ouvrage posthume de l’Auteur de Justine. La mère en prescrira la lecture à sa fille [Philosophy in the Bedroom: A Posthumous Work by the Author of Justine: The Mother Will Prescribe Its Reading to Her Daughter], Londres [London]: Aux dépens de la Compagnie [At the Expense of the Company; actually, Paris: Girouard], 1795; volume two, page 102: “[J]e ne m’adresse qu’à des génies capables de m’entendre, et ceux-là me liront sans danger.”