Heroes in the Underworld

At the hip, strung up with what substance
tawdry talent permits, he slips his
pants down, fists thick, shifting his cargo
around a dockyard-damp palm bombing
Valentine’s night, moonlight and sorrow

mixing, palette knives scraping white thighs,
wetting eyes my blinding paint makes seem
insignificant—to get so high
how low I go, lower, lower than
other men, only getting up so

I can get down—Death rows violence,
ferrying out hollowed romance, hands
grip oars, pulling off sails, we forego
safety and tear rubbers, we’re plucking
daisy petals from stems too hard to

stop from growing, going far tonight
like we’ve never been alive, fucking
until a river’s flowing inside—
a coda of fists returning Chance
to Choice dance their dark chaos below

the belt, taking a right hook, we glance
on violet-lipped graves sighing chants,
facing each other in glass aglow
with a thousand burning eyes, looking
at us to know if soulless windows

open and let in solace to prize
it, or if mirrors suffice showing
us the lost profits of our own lies,
since not the journey, but the distance,
collects its fare after we set out,

silence jettisoned for tithing since
saying something lightens the burdens
such profane, unsafe relations throw
onto dangerous situations—
it’s not what you desire, but what you

do, pulling to Hell men who deny
all of those Sirens crying warning,
we’ll swallow before it can capsize
us, Love’s most disastrous performance,
wading out our wanting’s undertow.