Alkahest: Or, Fiery Love

                                        Tristis est Anima Mea Usque ad Mortem1

                                                            ☽ Anima

                    i. Nigredo
                              [Latin, “Blackening”]

A contrabanned heart black-marketed
like a blood-dried diamond,
this Sisyphean boulder
incapable of being moved, pried
open, or valued until
broken, a contrarian
caricature self-assured but still
uninsurable, this thing
deemed so unlovable for
having welcomed manhandling by thieves,
lower beings anything-
but-angels, this infernal
stone hollowed out of red earth relieved
to have been freed of its burn
and burden, Hell’s own cavern
repurposed as unwitting warden
chosen by some higher force
to imprison that beast of
a Borden, so-called, at times calm or
even inviting, his myth
whispering what wisdom charmed
emeralds, his esoteric drawl
more often mercurial,
but somehow more volatile,
a crestfallen starry messenger,

                    ii. Albedo
                              [Latin, “Whitening”]

his faces shameless in their
portrayal of radiant
and enviable lives, lying when
they smile, exterminating
mileage, experts in making
the perverse alluring, jewelers
course the curse of time’s angles,
relenting for no one, hours
spent retooling, as in second-hand
leather, well-worn bandages
of faded wounds, those entombed
moments which had been better, dimmed lights
preserving persevering
and self-serving personæ
by strife and ritual sacrifice,
with all the fortuitous
nonconsensual candor
of ancient amber, accidental
in making more permanent
the ephemeral, a swift
minute’s imminent extinction left
blinking with fists, as his eyes
tire of witnessing the same
existence in so many changing
incarnations, every

                                                            ☉ Animus

                    iii. Citrinitas
                              [Latin, “Yellowing”]

image of his another
pirated edition, a splintered
reflection of their worst fears,
ignored symptoms festering
to vindictive convictions that pierce,
conditional sentences
projected onto him by
idiots as illiterate as
they are illegitimate,
weak attempts at punishment
inflicted by victims for having
contradicted them, always
escaping their prisms what
maligns him, guiding his blind critics,
not one for rainbows, his own
brightness blackening their pride,
how his avowèd indifference,
and pronounced uninterest,
blurs every unkindness
of society’s lines seeking to
segregate him from his true
tribe, those stone-faced few whose rule
defies acceptance, foremost among
them this exiled emperor
of nothing, this pariah

                    iv. Rubedo
                              [Latin, “Reddening”]

disappointing as pyrite’s first find
to many an amateur
prospector, digging for his
core, finding what gem shines but cannot
be extinguished, this noxious
bauble Babel’s fabled and
fatal tower itself knew was too
much trouble, too powerful
to handle, opting instead
to tumble, any foolish enough
to hold him always meet with
their eventual downfall,
but somehow, by his destruction, he
renews himself, this relic
of an eccentric rising
from the rubble, a rough sapphire whose
lapis eyes, as conniving
as they are subtle, conspire
to capture souls by convincing men
to trade them for his smile, that
devilish grin, all-knowing
and in-on-something so sinister,
its wisdom remains hidden
from ignorance, deep within
that chameleon called Jonathan.

1Latin: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death”; second responsory of the Tenebræ for Maundy Thursday, referring to Christ’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, in which he addresses his disciples. Taken from Matthew 26:38 and translated in The Complete Office of Holy Week: According to the Roman Missal and Breviary, in Latin and English: New Edition: Revised and Enlarged, by the Catholic Church, published at New York by Benziger Brothers in 1875; page 200.