The Pornographer’s Apprentice


     Critics delight in misreading
your body, bruised by the patchwork kisses
     of sculptors and poets whose fists
and tongues have licked to gushing purple, globes

     of flesh better men have filled more
expensive goblets with, hands gripping coins
     eager for more than a glimpse, thighs
like dirty magazine pages one burst

stuck together after some vigorous
     flipping, glistening with the gloss
of patent leather, images of lost
     innocence pasted over with

gritty photographs making explicit
     what words only illustrated
before mouths tore open what modesty
     obscured your allure, tiger-striped

columns smiling with the same lines as that
     pillar against which Christ was whipped
a scourge of raspberry whimpers wrinkling
     them as salt does wounds, puckering


     lips, hastening tighter to fend
off another fair-weather lover’s foul
     breath, a visitor who’s never
been a friend, in one very long moment’s

     torment suffering sends him, pain
at once a vandal and a conqueror
     flying through your cunt’s trees, dawn’s dew
throwing darts, hard until it falls into

deflating drops, a crowing cock
     whose velvet-throated voice crushes
to falling feathers (and knees) the bitten
     pillows of reluctant brothers

     two men, suspicious of the trust
they offer each other, one prick of his
     claw and all portals open, clicks
and crawls tickling negative pixels to

     positive, loading you down with
flashes of panic, sloshing flourishes
     of anything-but -love awash
with truth and consequences lust wrestles


     viscous light poring in its flood
of virus his propping you up against
     the window dropped in, face pressed like
a gag of linen into a scream, one

     helluva fuck filling up from
inside what you had no luck locking out
     your loft not so much a best-kept
secret, but a lot more like a club that

never closed, the anguished avarice of
     your impoverished hole drawing
awareness to an infamous vice’s
     rawness, rotting into minds just

     where to find it, your apartment
sizzling into a hot spot, you’d said you
     were a bachelor who’d lived in
a studio, but it was set up more

     like a seraglio, guys going
and coming, how you got off on being
     withholding then, suave until you
shot to shit your own myth, dispelling it


felling its forest of appeal when you
     finally unzipped and let in
a wilderness of frothing mouths and cold
     hands, playing the fawn for hungry

hunters, surrogate fathers healing what
     you hid from your mother, knowing
each one was not the doctor, and yet at
     the drop of a pin dropping your

pants, the knife-like frankness of nakedness
     complicit with the eagerness
of strangers, revealing your willingness
     its nude honesty earnest and

     permissive, grinning as you let
in the world’s underside of existence
     inviting them to feel how both
testicles and reptile eggs resemble

     leather, having then the balls to
shiver out with shaking wrist what squirt of
     venomous immodesty still
slithers less-than-stealthily through ev’ry


bush of this minority’s nocturnal
     community, your grin a scythe
the slyness of your smile undying, still
     winnowing from your sin’s willing

     victims their lives, still swallowing
the sun on its night’s journey, fuelling
     yearning loins with desire which burns
for eternity, oiling lamps with cheap

     napalm fantasy rubs against
until every oasis in this
     city’s bleak back-country bears your
fury and consumes itself with screaming

     ecstasy, if only your cult’s
initiates understood fully your
     temple’s mysteries, instead of
burying their heads in the ditch of your

delta where deserts relent, the scorch of
     its heat foretelling the end of
them who forget you were only ever
     the pornographer’s apprentice.