Words for Those to Drink Who Faint in the Wilderness

                    i. Cracked Earth

                                        Kicking up breath to write with or die in,
sinking feet pause as if to say, ‘Climb in,’
defiant lungs holding off collapsing
sight them, guttural signs sputtered to calm
him, coughing instead of prayers phoning in
consolation when no god admits there
exists any relationship between
deity and victim, their sole comfort
limited to one cloud shrouding noontide
                    sunlight’s shameful exhibitionism

                                        (Heaven having not entirely ditched him,
according to its choir of publicists
singing polyphonous party-lines), its
doors hinging on a technicality—
it can hear men, but won’t let any in—
a gateway tears and sweat send to squeaking
(a gateway drug whose escape fears and doubts
send a weak man seeking), when his needing
a saving hand seems far too much for those
                    park rangers absent from this day-drenched, yet

                                        darkest, wilderness to acquiesce and
extend, salvation a situation
from which unionized angels are exempt,
search-and-rescue against some policy,
he figures, contemplating as he is
the corporatization and branding
of Catholicism, keeping his mind’s
piercing eye from penetrating its lies,
from perceiving opportunistic death’s
                    menacing and insidious leeching

                    ii. Parched Mouth

                                        of his life, leaking it without motive—
‘No reason, except mortal ignorance,’
the Devil would testify, had he still
his wings or Miles with which to fly in for
his trial (but one’s expense account and
travel benefits are the first things they
withhold, excising such privileges
as Paradise goes about damning its
dissidents, Lucifer to any ear
                    would elucidate, were there time enough

                                        for a captive audience to inquire)—
but returning to his demise, kicking
up breath to write with or die in, before
desert agony dries from inside what
drives him, he decides to take up the arms
of art and try versifying, rhyming
off how, in mere minutes, he will be out
of eternity’s ravenous grip and
in its belly, the fates laughing at them
                    as he and other reluctant prophets

                                        spit vitriol, tickling to trickling drips
Hell’s ribs imprisoning men like him, knights
unwilling to compromise their wit when
asked by Heaven to quiet it and speak,
instead, to pilgrims of how silence frees
the spirit, deceiving lions into
believing that being sheep is what each
should aspire to become, having run from
being so summoned, he now gives words for
                    those to drink who faint in the wilderness.