Counterfeits of the Heart

          To a Persian Banker—

                              i. First, Engraver

A latter-day Darius, daring me with
          the darting of his sword-shaped tongue to plunge its
          wetness into my own, claiming conquest where
          his true meaning lacks depth, I fall for him just
          before dawn, wanting in hindsight to have had
          known ours was a future not at all intent
          on staying long, and high on his grin I sit

          profligate, late for work, uncertain if I
          have spent all of my night, or invested in
          a share of his morning, that so hopelessly
          sobering, transcendentally disgusting
          realization that accompanies but
          never softens the piercing truth of these odd
          situations, knowing only at the wrong

          moment that tonight has become tomorrow,
          below his window crawls a defiantly
          silent chorus, otherwise usually
          more riotous, Thursday’s cavalcade of tired
          commuters furrows the asphalt’s brow, and to
          its groaning traffic I bow, feeling haram,
          moaning blasphemous praises as I make grand

          obeisances to my latest conqueror’s
          reluctant subjects, bent over his condo’s
          balcony as my Persian king swallows me,
          perverting the meaning of eating breakfast
          in bed, a tyrant wicked as I am, though
          we do not even speak the same language—we
          share mouthfuls of head, eating each other out.

                              ii. Then, Effigy

Oiled curls fall like fighter jets and fold like palms
          a zephyr blows in over the hard angles
          of my fallen angel’s alabaster face,
          sin’s flesh tinted in kisses his oasis
          home laid on him to show the thirsty world his
          beauty’s origin, tan colours his brow in

          pale shadow my infidel words disavow
          all prowess to know or tell, impossible
          to describe is that low ridge along his thick
          lips where proud Cupid lost his bow centuries
          ago in a row between the gods over
          whether the West or East had better mortals

          to love, a contest arrogance lost, leaving
          heathens, so-called, bathing in their breath my own
          hero, and as above, not far below their
          heavens where his sight commands the moon’s praises,
          his soul glows with daybreak’s delicacy, eyes
          of sugared almonds caramelizing bright

          crystal, his soul’s candied windows tempting to
          indecision all who seek to taste of their
          tallow, his eyes are amber candles, soft and
          fertile ground where burrows Gibreel’s lightning, such
          is their piercing sweetness, flames flavouring my
          modern prophet’s tears—the real spiritual

          teacher—in a rich velvet secret I know
          will consume me if I give in and permit
          my infatuation with him to draw me
          near to it, so below, my ink-mottled thumbs
          ride wantonly along through his three-days’ beard,
          feeling its precise stubble as my ears burn

          to follow his guiding whispers, exotic
          pitchers of rich, esoteric ecstasy
          thickening and thicker as I coax his cheek
          to my own, warm thumbs and thoughts tickling my most
          erogenous zone—my wandering mind soft
          putty in his sultriest mould, his alone.