A Crack in the Chalice

                    ~

Striations of sobriety
defy my myth

when they split li(n)es
my weathered palm’s

tirade of tides
cotton-mouths

down to spent gin
grinning while siphoning

from fame
its exhausting whim

tempestuous tracks
trafficking in vain

when, like dying neon
riding a farewell wave

halfway through
the underworld’s

abandoned tubes
they scar and sp(l)it

superlatives too infinite
for truth to contend with

scattered like
whiplashed spines

                    ~

they define the parameters
and the perimeter

of my island existence
marooned shores

echoing with sighs
whitewashing bones

no bed will welcome
to writhe in its linen

unwed and unforgiven
a naked landscape’s

ignored canvas
a pittance

to pay for this
insular g(r)ift’s

glacial shift in opinion
bottle-necked revelations

drunken and profiting
strangling my silence

withering its vintage
by referencing

what deep from within
pores through to surface

                    ~

reality scratching
at my heart

with its pale
splintered fingers

pointing out
evidence, contending

with legend to apprehend
my vagrant eyes

kaleidoscoping what
shards of a soul

hide inside
this coal that within

a web of choked veins
resides, walled behind

a chimney throat
weeping hot ash

obscuring strides
urban hermits sine

sandaled feet
wading freely

in the secrets of
a mosaic mind

                    ~

scorched leaves
an oracle reads

without remorse
a whispered name

sweeping from the autumn
of my solitude

what for too long
has fed its flame

starving wounds
calling forth what Marks

portend their cure
one an intercessor

the other my love’s
interpreter, translating with a kiss

what relic his
mouth reverences

each lick a crack
in the chalice

tongues so devious
as this with such

fatal language
somehow manage

                    ~

to lure and lavish
those whose taste

for pathos makes
not martyrs of

my suitors but
perfect matches

inscribing on this
vessel how silence

itself is a sort of
drunkenness when

together we glimpse
within and instead

of the end or
emptiness we sip

from one glance
some vintage with

its tenderness
so abundant

it replenishes what words
rob of literary men:

something truly worth
expressing.