On the Lips of Saints

               [F]or where love is concerned,
                              silence is always more eloquent
                                             than words.


                              * * *

Secrets lie down for me like lovers,
     my lips know how to keep them, never
     saying their names again, since the pain
     of being around people reminds
     me of how alone I am, wanting
     only him, to greet exile where I
     always would rather be: in the arms
     of a man who loves me without fear.


Tongues of angels laid on the golden
     lips of saints complain of what they taste,
     impurity more alluring than
     hagiography’s gilded edges,
     crisp pages painting irascible
     sawblade haloes aglow with what I
     know their true lives overshadow, dark
     grit underscoring them, men nailing

     other men and surviving their scars,
     crucifixion no mere sentence but
     a condition all suffer who know
     their souls have a companion star to
     which they will return when I sigh, my
     words dropped like a balm onto wounds my
     own thighs have worn, out of touch and out
     of tune, against nature out of town

     in a vineyard where fictions gather,
     nightly we weep, seeding agony
     in a garden where superficial
     swords cut deep, matters made more complex
     as we seek fathers in daddies whose
     leathern bodies and more sinewy
     embraces replace for us only
     momentarily an emptiness


     of moments we all feel, a cup that
     never passes, fools unable to
     heal our holes but more than willing to
     fill up our thirsty asses, and from
     within a shattering of glass sounds
     heaven’s second-string of trumpets, those
     unheard miracles singing off-key
     of he who knocked this earth’s floor before:

     my man I have sought for but whose form
     eludes me, hiding from me even
     in the unwashed back-alleys of my
     uncensored mind, an expurgated
     appendage relegating to my
     life’s story a footnote having no
     corresponding anecdote in its
     appendix, some mystery I save

     myself for, ignoring every
     hand the world thrusts forward, what I am
     terrified to ask for in my prayers:
     a love who will not leave me, or find
     shame in my poverty, and since sleep
     is the death of each day’s life, I turn
     thieving to fever-dreaming, digging
     up worm-eaten wisdom lying there,


     hidden somewhere beneath consciousness,
     turning to those ageless sages whose
     snowfall of ancient beards flows into
     my ears as on wings, turning on that
     faucet a gush of gossip flushes
     out as though from a rush of vultures,
     thick voices idyllic, Delphic, and
     oracular, whispering of what

     fate I very well could make today,
     if only I took into my heart’s
     treasury these sacred parts of me
     I let strangers take, yet the greatest
     literary teacher is pain, and
     when people know nothing about you,
     you can tell them whatever you want
     and they will believe it, so until

     my hoard of gnosis acquaints me with
     my apotheosis I will wait,
     making do with mourning’s powder-dew
     erasing loneliness from my face,
     tooling hurt into burning verse I
     lay on the lips of saints who eat sin,
     animating them with a scalding
     of hot chronicles honesty pens.

1Pope Francis, “Chapter One: In the Light of the Word, [Section One:] You and Your Wife”, paragraph 12, in Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation[,] Amoris Lætitia[,] of the Holy Father Francis to Bishops, Priests and Deacons[,] Consecrated Persons[,] Christian Married Couples[,] and All the Lay Faithful[,] on Love in the Family, Città del Vaticano [Vatican City]: Libreria Editrice Vaticana [Vatican Publishing House], 2016; page 10. Written on March 19, 2016 and published simultaneously on April 8, 2016 in the Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish languages.