A Manual for Gaining Human Fame

                    Yet we must say something
                              when those who say the most
                                        are saying nothing.


Words give one the faculty to enter another’s mind,
     humanity’s gravest crime that which it never admits
     having committed, taking from each other dignity,
     only to give sister and brother shame, men returning

     heartache for gain only ever obtained by some deceit,
     some ill the petty use of which is instilled in them by
     a manual such as this, ‘a wealth that deludes its slaves,’
     as Augustine said, sinner into bishop like water

     into wine, no miracle too difficult to write for
     an audience pressed for time, having no damned attention
     to span what secret significance gulfs the difference
     between immortality and ephemeral beauty,

     the cruelest illusion blinding them, those fools who seek
     meaning in the meaningless, tooling with memory
     until they forget whose energy they short-circuit when
     hurrying so pointlessly from society’s edges

     to its centre, never grasping that without its bending,
     a circle, much like a mode of thought or an outmoded
     people, will never become free but remain caught, a knot
     no more a vehicle than a method of killing off

     by hanging on too long to something designed to run from,
     the noose media thrives on, tightening without scruple
     what strangles those fools who sustain themselves by looking through
     a peephole, never living, just submitting to what their

     sacred televisions and other fictions of so-called
     ‘connection’ sell them, silver machines betraying humans
     into buying their own shadow in which they are standing,
     and it is the author so often tortured for taking

     a stand against ignorance becoming the norm, when words
     are reduced to text, and our futures rest in palms of those
     whose minds will never be fully formed—beware and be warned:
     fame is no accomplishment, but punishment well-deserved.

1Saint Augustine of Hippo, “Book One: Childhood, Chapter I: How to Begin?” paragraph 4, translated from the Latin and introduced by Garry Wills in Confessions, New York: Penguin, 2008; page 5. Written in AD 397–400 and first published as, “[P]rima [L]iber. Liber Confessionii Scti[.] Augustini Episcopi[:] Liber Confessionum primus Sancti Augustini Episcopi feliciter Incipit[:] Liber I, Caput IV, Paragraphus iv [Book I, Chapter IV, Paragraph iv]”, in Confessiones [Confessions], [Strasbourg]: [Johann Mentelin], [1465–1470]; folio 2, recto: “Et vae tacentibus de te, quoniam loquaces muti sunt.”