i. Splinter

          I speak of fearless Androcles,
parading men’s minds and mouths unburdened
          by the weight of eternal f(l)ame’s
fadeless cloak, its ancient purple pulsing
          my throat, pouring out what I pen
with ease, the hero I need he whose true
          salvific reach extends Attic
centuries, timeless healing hurled on swift
          wings through rumoured breeze and rubbled
millennia, to greet surly lions
          such as me, my kind this dying
breed of society’s worst untamed beast,
          ferocious until his mythic
grip splits its arrow and pricks from my thick
          head’s thicker neck perpetual
pain, this unwashed syringe I struggle to
          free from my dark (he)art’s vain highway,
armed, leather-soled legions of pollution
          marching in, awful medicine
I self-administer and juggle with,
          denying my Self love, wanting
nothing more than to have plucked this crown’s thorn

                              ii. Spectacle

          abhorring touch, this baring of
teeth too oft-worn to welcome change, so for
          fearless Androcles I weep, still
uncertain if repeating legend will
          summon him, or if such men have
in the post-modern mould any worthy
          equivalent, so I will write,
reworking chronicle until in its
          entirety I reinvent
its churning c(o)urse, this torrent of words time’s
          river sends my ears, burning to
truant vellum my own li(n)es bending his
          truth so that fearless Androcles
follows suit and finds my wound, so I do
          not di(n)e alone or my own name
extinguish unuttered and forgotten,
          prowling again for lost love when
blind fortune favours my desert with its
          reappearance, cured when I lick
instead of devour men, making love
          instead of enemies, finding
that what his hand did then, mine can do now.