In the Season of Sweet Sighs

     For Mark—

                    And after he had laid his hand on mine
                         with cheerful countenance, strengthening my resolve,
                         he led me to the secret things below.


Scent of crushed hazelnut fills up
     what compromised cold-chrome vault of my oaken heart’s
     inmost part opens wide to yield

nothing, nothing but reality revealing
     fruitless this life’s self-despising
     endeavour, this prying open of my mortal

shell, my flesh an inviolate
     environment cracked apart and penetrated
     by a symphony of sweating,

unsympathetic fingers rolling between them
     a score of splinters, men playing
     with my wor(l)d’s interior after its failure

to appear peach-sweeter before
     a court of its bitter observers: fading shades
     of buried lovers each wrestling

as hurricane mouths do over flavour, ever
     the self-evident truth remains
     incomprehensible as a pothole or pore,

as my so-called “peers” go over
     my nude flesh with a self-satisfaction only
     pseudoscience can sometimes claim

as possibly convincing; finding myself in
     the scrutinizing palms of an
     apostolic college of pharmacy students,

I am ground to dust, crushed ribs spread
     as if Thomas returned, doubting my existence—
     or rather sought to witness its

removal from driest wheat fields of my being;
     seeding is believing after
     all, and his hazel eyes witch mine, falling so far

as globe grapes do, cast down onto
     a supermarket floor spellbound, shadowing shame
     in place of my own, since I have

none, too fortunate as I am to have been formed
     of a bold species by firm hand,
     tormented not by any threat such villagers

as these imbeciles whisper of,
     as indifferent as I am invincible
     to embarrassment and public

opinion—no, but by this examination
     of my soul, labs with blood-soaked coats
     coaxing me from my doghouse of a hole, red tail

fitting hunters’ dicks like foxglove,
     filthy, rapacious hands fearful I might bite them;
     so as I am pawed-over, I

poeticize my politics, writing, writhing,
     philosophizing as “bad kids”
     do, that Christmas will cost us our unicorns, if

only we would just shut up and
     let in their silhouette pornographs, sizing up
     what loss of love lust has caused us

in seasons of sweet sighs when honey poisons sight,
     sweat and tears making taste better
     this loss of a waxwork life under hot stage lights.

1Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Book I: Inferno, “Canto Three”, lines 19–21, translated from the Italian, edited, and introduced by Anthony Esolen, illustrated by Gustave Doré, in Inferno, New York: The Modern Library, 2002; page 23. Written during 1308–1320 and first published as, “Liber I: Canto III [Book I: Canto III]”, lines 19–21, in La Comedìa [in Tuscan Italian; La Commedia in standard Italian; The Comedy]: Inferno [Hell], [Foligno, Italy]: Iohanni Numeister et Elfulginato Euangelista [Johann Numeister and Evangelista Angelini da Trevi], Nel mille quatro cento septe et due nel quatro mese adi cinque [April 11, 1472]; page [11]: “E poi che la sua mano a la mia puose / con lieto volto, ond’ io mi confortai, / mi mise dentro a le segrete cose.” Originally printed: “Et poì che lasua mano alla mia pose / conlieto uolto ondio mi confortai / mi misse dentro allesecrete cose[.]”