Waiting for you under the moon
Sagittarian sarabandes
caravanning through abandoned
forests prove to those who discourse
with fools that magic truly works

choruses of dewdrops entrust
to silence soft footsteps falling
on dust, fluid voices brushing
against branches grinning with teeth
of twigs between which needles and

leaves bend to let in passages
of scripture carried on the breeze
relying on whispers of prayers
to resist being picked clean by
scavengers whose hardest hearts have

built wildernesses around them
anticipation’s ritual
slowing pulses to trickles no
longer palpable above ground
or wrists whose horizons of flesh

quicksilver discreetly into
moribund rivers death itself
would mistake for stilled molasses
crevices of dried creeks folding
open palms with lines that read like

pages from the Picatrix,1 kings
pretending to be mystics pose
pharaonic, offering with two
right hands2 what rest nightfall collects
as its toll, opening the path

on its left, a royal road’s guards
unfurling a silk carpet for
those whose souls travel both sides of
consciousness, dreams what divide worlds
throwing wide perception’s doors when

thirst after neither knowledge nor
wealth but companionship’s quest sends
here ev’ry lonely magician
slaughtering a lamb in front of
fifteen trees, repeating before

each five times ‘Harmum Harmum,’3 men
awaiting the handsome one who
comes to them resplendent as gold
answering only to the name
of his new lord, hard as a sword.

1The widely influential treatise on magic translated from Arabic into Latin by order of Alfonso X the Wise, King of Castile in 1256. A tenth-century compilation of two hundred books on the occult written by various sages in the Middle East, its very intricate operations concern methods of astrological magic, such as how to address and work with planetary spirits at their requisite hours on their corresponding days. In addition to comprising a catalogue of sigils, magical names, words, phrases, and spells by which the practitioner can summon celestial beings to aid their craft, it details how to make magic rings empowering their wearer with potent supernatural abilities, and is the source work for many subsequent grimoires. Rediscovered during the Renaissance, the Picatrix (originally titled Gâyat al-Hakîm, “The Goal of the Wise”) found favour and frequent use among such esoteric luminaries as Peter d’Abano, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, and Marsilio Ficino.
2At the temple complex of Luxor, Pharaoh Ramesses II the Great is depicted in several festival friezes as having two right hands, with which he is making offerings to various gods, emphasizing, if not exaggerating, his gift of physical and spiritual sustenance to the deities whose protection and blessing nourishes him. In Ancient Egyptian symbolism, the right hand gave and the left received. The very contrived posturing of this audacious gesture implies not only the abundance of the king’s wealth, resources, generosity, and devotion, but likewise his power over the supernatural instead of it over him.
3According to Claude Lecouteux in his Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells, translated by Jon E. Graham and published at Rochester, Vermont by Inner Traditions in 2015, pages 152–153: “These words are used in a very long spell during which the caster must, while the moon is in Sagittarius, sacrifice a lamb in front of fifteen trees. These words are repeated five times before each of these trees. A man of fine and handsome appearance shall come forth to take the caster where he wishes to go. The corresponding chapter in the Ġāyat al-Hakîm [sic] does not offer this spell[, which is taken from] Picatrix IV, 10.