The Sign of Sorrow from Self-Undoing

                    For a Pisces—

[T]he thoughts of pure mind at peace
with itself as if sheltered by a wall of body.


[H]aving made this god as first product
and second after himself, it seemed beautiful to him
since it was entirely full of the goodness of everything,
and he loved it as the progeny of his own divinity.

          i. Into the Godhead

                    For once, let’s keep it simple, nothing heavy-
handed, just iron-fisted, no rules, just this—
a question for those who have a clue: Where did
     the old gods go when God came in, when he said

to banish them with their myths, throwing them in
to the cosmic mixing bowl, that crucible
of unjust love, television itself, what
     we still want we crush, old pantheons our hands

rummage through with the mortar and pestle of
history, the heart’s rush from moving forward
toward its past, making anew burning wounds
     we turn into gods who fail to deliver.

          ii. Back Out of It

                    The sorrow of self-undoing scatters its
damage, shadows attaching themselves to tents
of flesh dance against every breath, bending
     as leaves do when pressed between pages of those

books no one else can possess, secret places
whose wildernesses have not been wasted, branches
of yet untouched riverbeds whose thread silt twists
     into ribbons of dust, those thoughts that just sit

and exist, stirred up fictions tongues rust, makers
of their creations turning to mush, with red
kisses, brains vipers lick wide open, serpents
     without knees or lips to obey us, pray on.

          iii. By Means of a Little Hole

                    Barbed wire spines less inclined than fences to keep
us in line, what surrounds us now is a tired
body of what our consciousness sheds if we
     let its doors crack open minds, spill out second

Selves no one else can see or make use of, not
unless they believe in the fortress of one’s
body whose cells keep trained and ready armies
     of microcosmic soldiers who somersault

and genuflect before an unknowing world
whose hired assassins of belittling thoughts make
of knights without shields a big deal when they bow
     to him whose bullet wound head healed them to being.

1“ASCLEPIUS: To me this Asclepius is like the sun. A Holy Book of Hermes Trismegistus addressed to Asclepius [sic],”[Sections] 7 and 8, in Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a new English translation, with notes and introduction by Brian P. Copenhaver, published at Cambridge by Cambridge University Press in 2002; page 71.