To Make War on the Saints

                    Hands of cracked porcelain
expose fingers of filaments
     flickering uncertain
voltages of indecision,
     twisting their unsteady
incision deep into ancient
     cinnamon-dusted walls—
a crumbling tomb, an ablution
     house coffin of whispers—
calling with stale breath bruising flesh,

                    ‘This is a desire I
dare not speak, even the silent
     prayer of which I keep canned,
hidden in my heart—banned within
     the forbidden garden
of which your hand planted deep—this
     yearning of mine I fear
I am denied whenever I
     turn a blind eye to peace,
speech warring on the saints as if

                    being ignored by each
appeases what creeps down mid-spine,
     thrown like lightning—a book
torn out from an apocryphal
     canon crawling the back
wilderness of my mind to that
     of my front, writing off
what I want, saying it should not
     but love leaves me ashamed—’

wails chorusing corrosive pain

                    as floods of hard water
lay blame where tears wander, their own
     staining without any
abatement a tincture of viscid
     despair and dissonance
that never left this place—a waste
     of industry turning
touch to sin, an unclean cleansing
     long since awaiting its
redeemer’s harrowing—but since

                    those opiate-laced nights
of furlough in outhouse-minded
     moments of blind pleasure
devoured these disarmed soldiers like
     dried-up lotuses whose
rawest power failed to open
     his heart, god’s gardener
crushed each like poisonous flowers—
     such that those trampled souls
these unwashed walls hold, tear through with

                    a lingering spark—their
hero in limbo, unwilling
     to undo what doing
each other did to their soft souls—
     an odd appetite for
alienation staining them
     with a martyr’s mark, and
here we meet: their past transgressions
     and our own, at present
porn-starved foreign tourists poring

                    and pawing over their
loss in this blackballed chapel of
     a bathhouse, where even
the hair on our blistered toes stands
     to greet oblivion,
since soloists and exiles share
     the same sick fate—heaven’s
strict taking of no prisoners
     leaving wide open this
borderland of crossed wires beyond

                    eternity’s gate—and
irony is not enough to
     wash from us what Sodom
bade them taste—its bitter apple
     deepening throats with false
hopes they all choked on, eternal
     damnation a pittance
to pay when pity was traded
     for a night of latent
fornication, but we are here

                    to lose our Selves, to prove
no one else can take from us what
     our famed intercessors
forsook our shamed ancestors—each
     patch of mould a patch of
soot corroding this quilted wall
     of shattered tile, clay shards
recording these blasphemer’s names
     in arrogant satire
of life’s purer book—a ruined

                    restroom where, restless, we
ruminate on that same ever-
     failing surgery, since
no one, not even those devils’
     sons, can extricate what
unsung song makes another burn—
     that most subversive of
sexualities centuries
     of flagrant hatred made
a burdensome gift—a wound that

                    never heals, stinking of
fresh disease, its thirsting need for
     sharing reason enough
to warrant its return, but in
     this infirmary where
Cain showered, hopes collide as god’s
     own particles did—lips
killing creation instead of
     singing into being
this drunken wanting distilling

                    to sorrow infinite
universes of heat, unknown
     possibilities lust’s
casualties aborted just
     before love’s birth—making
war on the saints instead of it—
     as we endure their same
uncured curse, no exertion worse
     than striving to correct
the fatal flaw in god’s great work.