Between Cruelty and Pity

’Been measuring this goddamned garden
     all day long, for what feels like
all of my lives, squaring off a plot
where I can build us a Temple of
     Love, a little diamond
I’ve got to pull through rough stone, polish
     it just enough, I know it’s
hard, but try and understand or try
     it under-hand, embracing
the reach-around, if you were starved, I’d
     give you my meat to eat but
I know you’d just beat it, even if
masters will provide table-service
     for their slaves, when we gamble
with our lives and celebrate, snakes’ fangs

opening old wounds like saints’ graves, when
     seven demons pause in pain
for a brief moment halting bringing
about their chaos, claws curled in and
     eyes closed to ponder that stars
and their constellations are god’s great
     library, the flickering
literature of the sky, silent
     books of infinite wisdom
bound only by the minds of those who
     glance on them and draw the lines
if they can, why is it that we can’t?
and my guy, he’s the kind who greets me
     with a bloody nose, casting
shadows he throws out in a goat-horned

Baphomet pose, before he knows it
     we’re looking at a man who
doesn’t want to look at himself or
deserve to be talked about, a burned
     candle with no reflection
his memory demanding that I
     dedicate this poem to
him, knowing it’s only a hand’s breadth
     between cruelty and pity
only a breath that separates you
     from me in this story, its
moral buried in symbols lonely
without their key, meanings he who reads
     heaven, who seeks its treasure
with pure heart, opens its doors to him.