Surrounded by Sphinxes Worked in White Marble

                    i. Scattered Bones Chanting a Riddle

Tangled winds ensnare rescinded
     kisses when perfume’s consumed, where
     new experiences are shared
     electrical storms ensue, bent
     currents marathon on air through
     vanities veins pore over and
     into, out of her tomb, truant
     lioness, high-noon, rises to
     unglue uncut pages fragrant
     with subliminal messages
          her claws bottle, sphinxes’ riddles

crushed pills and time’s passage publish,
     antic propagandic banners
     marketed to fill misery’s
     boots, coercing her billeted
     troops, each battling life in its end’s
     pursuit, glossy pricks, finials
     topping off their pasts’ intricate
     architextures, rubbing off casques
     as sandpaper does what thoughts make
     mortal women and love’s many-
          armed warriors jealous, rusting

sunlight’s perpetually faint,
     terminally unfulfilling
     filament, scraping it with hot
     breath indifferent to flesh’s
     refreshment of swollen breasts, flames
     thirsting not to be quenched, but sensed
     and acquiesced, in its heated
     petitions for lasting comfort,
     lust’s momentary monuments
     catastrophic and crumbling, dust
          crushed under invisible weight,

tomorrow’s tempting scent sent in
     sweating shifts, a vanilla-drenched
     extraction crew equipped with an
     entourage whose arsenal drips
     desire, questing to encourage
     them with insidious gifts, and
     lift to her wet mouth the fragrant
     desert’s vagrant disciples, dust
     devils of ascetic lovers,
     wind-worn, forlorn, lost, and lurid,
          pouring on their fervid heads cones

of beeswax and myrrh, cosmetic
     cakes laced with erased heavens, sweet
     shavings of painted veils balmy
     palms lay onto livid skulls, heads
     harrowed and raked by apostate
     nails pulling down constellations
     of failed prayers, tearing dawn’s vivid
     illustration of unrestrained
     illumination into what,
     too often, by most men is thought
          condemnation, this nebulous

                    ii. Mouthing Darkly Her Perplexed Words

and incurable chaos, this
     incunable of a storm that
     is freedom, the incredulous
     and incredible, infamous,
     untranslatable, utterly
     unutterable, obscene, and
     unprintable calling of pain’s
     feral existence to a place
     of silence, a rag-shop papered
     with fistfuls of false currency
          gods counterfeited in a lost

cause, an attempt to fund wagers
     and debts before man’s fall, barren
     walls begging of beauty’s bare hands
     abrupt touch, and youth’s blank faces
     of abuse its useful punch, their
     attempts at backhanded insults,
     and unmoderated comments,
     cultivated by cowardice
     to enculturate truth with spates
     of fiction no one can prove or
          disprove, and in the desolate

grip of midday, incense moves two
     souls to eschew embrace, and take
     up servitude to fate as if
     it were purified of motive
     or malice, and its chains’ depraved
     dictates the only way, their weight
     the only approved method to
     get through living’s curse, worse storm clouds
     wrestling with fighting words that raped
     paradise and overdosed on
          purchased power, coming to blows

over whose nose to break and whose
     course to direct, those imperfect
     pillars of purpose toppling like
     beaten smoke, as those canceled lips
     conceal what white li(n)es they once so
     freely used to give, drawing back
     in each kiss, what dampened tongues such
     mutinous mouths had designs to
     sink inside, hiding two muscles
     perfectly paired, like divinely
          aligned meat filling heads when not

giving it, giving in in sight
     only of one another and
     the sky, colliding in that lone
     moment nosediving life returns
     to scorching earth before burning,
     withdrawing itself from those clay
     sherds forsaking its worth, crashing
     when and where suspicion emerged,
     extinguishing passion’s torchlight,
     b(l)inding satisfaction before
          its birth, grounding all phoenix flights.