Prayer in Reverse

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
[…]Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
[…]Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.

               i. Introit

When moved by a work of art, that
means we have discovered an artist who
thinks and feels like us, inherent
colloquy leading us

out of society’s view between two
opposing interpretations
into abnormal points of you, on past
carnival reflections of mortal flesh

dressed down like animal meat laughing at
us, to that twilit sanctuary a
snuffed candle’s silent light makes of
our speechless tongues, those crimson ca(r)pe(t)s

billowing like blood running into tired
water after it tries to cross
over the flames of hell’s rivers,
smokeless fire ill-prepared to say

just how it was a stranger saved
us by praying in reverse, a
liar playing a poet, a
little shit-disturber turning

family secrets and magic
and myth into profits, sheltering from
war’s plunder far under its star-littered
canopy this treasury of

words never uttered, a maker
taking from destroyers their poison, with
voice fashioning from the city’s
walls a prison for victims of

Fascism too smitten by complacency
to trace in a fading vision
of their feigned liberty the circular
murder conformity performs,

blinds of blond(e) banging against windows their
fringes resist opening for,
truth but a storm torches rehearse
blowing out for, ignorance the

warmth her inmates clamour to hold,
a bureaucracy is a womb
no one outgrows except we whose
fists and fingers know how to throw

open wide the creaking doors of
its cavernous berths, turning inside out
the burial shroud of this world’s
tomb, we neophytes who burn to

behold in the filth of the painter’s brush
an artwork’s true worth, in the dust
of a whore’s degenerate thrust
the very ash tears of come which,

by some mystery of alchemy, a
moan stirs into a masterpiece,
nothing into someone, that great
unnamed transformative property we

who fight to feel it know is real,
initiates hereby warned not
to ever recite this, our sacred prayer,
in reverse (esrever ni esrever).

               ii. Oratio

Make my enemies ridiculous, take
side with their adversary, shame
those whose breath hesitates to say
the things that shape their future, bring

about their demise by laughter,
trample them as the elephant
tramples the adder, scatter them
as the sower showers seed where

flowers will gather, extinguish
their torches with fingertips of
whispers, trouble them as the wolves
trouble the shepherd, never relinquish

your power or acquiesce to
petitions and requests to constrict me
against using my own in moments I
scorn their arrows and send forth misfortune

instead of assistance to them,
burning their encampments with intentions,
using thoughts as weapons, destroying them
with smiles whose fences’ confidence

never relents, O Master, piece
together again this tattered
banner whose distant kingdom your
ancient covenant promised my

ancestors, destroy the might of
princes by swallowing what shine
your shadows rob of their riches,
vindicate my years of martyrdom with

venom, bury deep in them some
unforgiving ill no repentance can
ever heal, give life to hell and
command its claws to run rampant

on the ramparts of their broken
hearts, make my enemies believe
not in me but the truth of magic, say
to them each from within what they

cannot admit to themselves, like
the noontide heat wither through to
its roots the creeping vine of their
hope, cut down every throat which

in desperation attempts to
shout out seeking to speak of faith every
god doubts, O Master, by these words
cover the desert in a death of snow.

1William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell: Plates 7–10” in “The text of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: with an Introduction and Commentary by Sir Geoffrey Keynes, published at Oxford by Oxford University Press in 1992; pages xviii–xix.