Caught Between the Tongue and the Taste

                                                                      What should I be but a prophet and a liar[.]


We become our own needs, without tenacity
                                                                      of tooth to bite through ferocious

memories asleep in peaceful days, we reduce
                                                                      our howl to that ignored whimper

of limp-wristed princes who, chased by desire, choose
                                                                      to prowl with proudest of step and

crouching integrity, in the nudity of
                                                                      their wounds’ darkness, an untruth of

fragrant forests crowding thoughts with a stench of lies
                                                                      loud enough to rouse the garden

behind the house where life ends, waking a legend
                                                                      to tell the beauty of our bones

to deny us its warmth, to exhume splinters of
                                                                      our inhibition’s endless and

splendid crucifixions, to chew hard on the long-
                                                                      winded and wintered roots of a

half-hearted promise broken by the plow of a
                                                                      father’s hand into virgin ground,

ripping up fictions, spitting out webs of coughing
                                                                      dew dropping doubts to petal with

hints of last breath the humid path underneath the
                                                                      rotted rafters of the lost rose

poisoning us and pointing us toward unrest,
                                                                      to follow self-imposed laws in

bold pursuit of a soft movement, to trust instead
                                                                      in the sultry italics of

another climate’s more savage mouths, to revolt
                                                                      against sunset, reject the gift

of the relentlessly unending present, and


                                                                      kiss until the bluntness of its

knife’s edges rusts our ego’s bruises or blushes
                                                                      omnipotent a bleeding heart’s

indifference of coincidence, since without
                                                                      ever accepting nostalgia’s

just a longing for something we have never had,
                                                                      merely existing instead of

living out loud mythologies intended for
                                                                      another failed generation’s

generals to war on and ravage, is to trust
                                                                      in the bent shadow of our Selves,

what shade perverts greater interests in the face
                                                                      of which our own pale, rising up

and running because heat’s noise can be so much more
                                                                      frightening than the taste of feigned

venom, a friend’s molestation of moist silence
                                                                      putting in our mouths coins of time

brazen moments trivialize with martyred bones
                                                                      mourning with reverent sorrow

the commodification of their marrow, scraped
                                                                      meat prayerfully witness to and

separate from the shame of being incomplete,
                                                                      ‘I invite you to take your life—’

unannounced guests of cryptic speakers and bitter
                                                                      thinkers reprise, ‘—and divide it

among your Selves, poor as they all are, starving for
                                                                      what else but to be acknowledged,’

those neglected parts wandering undetected
                                                                      under the surface of seeking,


flesh appealing to thunder for another form
                                                                      of torture, to be pleasured by

the world until it bleeds or ends, weeping, sealing
                                                                      fate in canopic jars to which

we return only if we learn no one has the
                                                                      key to us but those Selves we shape

from scalding water, pouring pleas
                                                                      against a cruelty of walled-

up divinities whose truth wounds by wearing out
                                                                      what health lets us live with, something

resembling sanity, an unwellness of dust
                                                                      candying deep and trashing sweet

an annihilation of those flavours fiendish
                                                                      languages take before what holds

us together holds us to blame, shaming those brutes
                                                                      among us men who leer then jet,

pressing hearts through the window of a stare, shapes of
                                                                      bodies fitting into the (s)low

p(l)aces of souls as chocolates do, those boxes
                                                                      compartmentalizing enough

anecdotes of existence until a concept
                                                                      can be found, until we swallow

the tallow of the taper out of whose light, thrown
                                                                      into the shadow of which, we

faded and fade and fade again, falling for the
                                                                      same trick, mages decadent and

degenerate until governed and forgiven,
                                                                      following full-tilt ’round our mouths

indecision caught between the tongue and the taste.

1Edna St. Vincent Millay, “The Singing-Woman from the Wood’s Edge”, [Stanza 1, Line 1], from her collection A Few Figs from Thistles, in Edna St. Vincent Millay: Poems, published at New York by Everyman’s Library in 2010; page 69.