Rosy Cross/Thorny Crown

                                        i. Fama

From the inner lip of an ancient
     inkwell whose mouth is still wet, the last
     testament of a life lived by lamp
     light flickers, describing survival
     of a night’s massacre of lanterns,
     a legend’s chronicle encountered

by modern travelers stranded in
     history’s dustbin, from within this
     graveyard of empires digging through its
     pit, mahogany fogs of whispers
     following them, unsolicited
     offers of caution they suffer with

piqued curiosity and weakened
     bodies, speaking, ‘Let not a word fall
     to the ground, let not an aching shout
     fill a wound with its echo; colour
     leaves with the sound of weeping bled ink
     covers with black clouds, never back down

                    or ever relent; never bend or

                                        ii. Confessio

let your Self substitute acceptance
     for belief,’ workmen singing tar-tongued
     spirituals, droning hymns fit deep
     into cruel servitude’s ruthless
     and unusual timetable, myth
     stilling and stalling with whip-stung lips

its uninterrupted schedule, tongues
     of tomb-carvers digging and dirge-ing
     forth dark, far-flung liturgies no one
     before or since has sung, those songs whose
     rituals no thick missal intends
     for indentured souls to take-up, let

alone comprehend, perpetual
     slaves extending to distant heavens
     back-breaking prayers of desperation,
     expressions of pain even as ghosts
     they still make with patience, their unchained
     minds forever in flight, tearful sight

                    set always above-and-beyond what

                                        iii. Chymische

long-lost/impossible offerings
     they cannot, with hands below, profit
     from, finding comfort in knowing that,
     in palms of scorched earth, every last
     martyr’s bones are enthroned, both revered
     and yet unknown, that wild honey binds

a prophet’s throat until its moaning
     beads of sweet sweat grind closed what needs most
     to escape his mouth, that words do more
     than what deeds won’t, filling heads with seeds
     that cause a heart to explode, to grow
     up when its heat burns out, seditious

manifestos to sprout where restless
     civilizations in their old kings
     cultivate doubt, shadows to gather
     where, together, pious pilgrims and
     defiant heretics work hard to
     uncover that part of him which made

                    of the son a father, of smut art.