A Void and a Plenitude, an Arrow and a Wound

                    Men, tired of the light, take refuge in the shadow of corporeal substance:
                    the dream of the void which God fills soon seems to them greater than God himself,
                    and hell is created.

                    i. NEQVAQVAM MORIEMINI
                                        [You shall never die]

A void and a plenitude, an arrow

                    and a wound, digging the sound of
                    that tombstone’s echo which becomes for me
                    a touchstone, refuge for our wandering
                    gods, this aching pit into which
                    the cherries of bitter lips fall, cloud and
                    mist kissing rock to find an echo for
                    my words, those who work under earth
                    to heal its impurest inhabitants,

all obscurity flees before you, you

                    sages who know how to make of
                    a name such fame that makes men quake, I want
                    you to want to know me, to lie with me
                    biblically and sell the slave
                    masses their own shadows without shame, shades
                    profaning the sanctity of their heads’
                    limited space by giving them
                    nothing taking on the shape of something,

I am the first page of the book of Thoth,

                    I am the man who does not touch
                    the ground except with my thoughts, you are hot
                    flame and evaporate like pure incense,
                    returning to where you began,
                    at the bottom of the bowl of heaven,
                    tears of ink and breath of pain painting grey
                    the ceiling of this world’s grave from
                    underneath, from upside down you write with

silver fingertips feigned innocence on

                    the bellies of clouds, thorning storms
                    of goat-bearded blackness with broken horns
                    more abundant and plentiful, even,
                    than the trembling hands of kings whose
                    crowns are bent under the crippling weight of
                    enlightenment, we are doctors who should
                    be sent to the asylum, who
                    play with fire near the gunpowder we do

not see, brilliant wandering hierophants

                    ii. SED ERITIS
                                        [but you will become]

inhaling hell to exhale it,

                    together we are twins who have bombed our
                    shells, frail, crackling filaments who act like
                    omens, throwing out sparks of what
                    love draws us above those whose hearts, harder
                    than stone, fall well below our mark, comets
                    are heroes who only visit
                    the earth to announce great changes the soul
                    makes itself new clothes to wear, terrible

revelations taking revenge

                    upon beauty by redefining it
                    with knives of words twisting from inside minds
                    unaccustomed entirely to
                    the bruised nudity of untranslated
                    lines of ancient poetry, whenever
                    I try to deny you, your eyes
                    glow like those of the audience gawping
                    at Schröpfer’s last lantern show, shooting down

my own act’s shooting down of your

                    magic’s advances by firing glimpses
                    indestructible as the threads that stitch
                    thick the webs of constellations,
                    glances indifferent to being spent
                    on conquests you menace with impatient
                    ultimatums more than men who
                    chance tasting your gaping chalice, no point
                    in waiting since lethargy is death that

has begun but never ends, and

                    magic is the therapy of the gods
                    remaking our symbolism, transforming
                    philosophy into belief
                    to popularize it, a sharp cry from
                    a mouth’s bleeding chasm asking is loving
                    me a probability or
                    a problem, knowing astrology is
                    the magical calculation of all

possible quandaries, an art

                    iii. SICVT DII
                                        [as gods]

and a skill defying superstition

                    with an underlying logic, stars are
                    the bent mouths of heaven, regrets
                    of its ancient senate jettisoning
                    opinions no century turns back to
                    mention, an old collection of
                    brittle-boned auguries burning until
                    we interpret in our own reflections
                    the fleeting shapes of fate’s pattern,

either revealing or re-veiling those

                    most sacred of our hidden thoughts, jaded
                    mysteries of faith in our Selves
                    inscribed like god’s law on the stone of our
                    hearts, profaned when crushed by the weight of deeds
                    which implicate us as thieves whose
                    greed exceeds that of Prometheus, each
                    taking what we want without consulting
                    these famed oracles whose veins of

specious metal pain turns to blood, a void

                    and a plenitude, an arrow and a
                    wound we turn to art, god is an
                    infinite man, man is a finite god,
                    and yet god can only be defined by
                    describing what he is not, god
                    is a finger tracing my path, a palm
                    of ash filthying a fist attached to
                    the mummy of a queen whose sex

has been ravaged by the kisses of asps

                    whose black skins they have shed to rebandage
                    the veil of that temple their love
                    of wisdom had damaged, a prophetess
                    enthroned in a Baphomet pose, poised on
                    the edge of ruins of destroyed
                    civilizations, a Tiresian
                    tyrannicide whose pleasing men’s only
                    consolation after life has

been the privilege of knowing at once

                    iv. SCIENTES BONVM ET MALVM
                                        [knowing good and evil.]

both the pierce and the thrust of the sword of

                    lust as it goes about making
                    victims of its sin, that variety
                    of hindsight informing the foresight of
                    minds still clothed in skin to erect
                    columns in their cities to protect them
                    from us, your fable’s reflection left an
                    imprint on my light, a newly
                    accredited legend reigning in my

imagination for a vengeance, and

                    even though in each heaven I
                    change my form, the annihilation of
                    each successive decade since my poor soul’s
                    rebirth decimates me, and I
                    know I am worth more than thirty pieces
                    of silver your memory’s ritual
                    unearths to purchase what others
                    call eternal unrest, to magnetize

my chain so that my name does not fade from

                    the lips of men is the great work
                    I accomplish well whenever my words
                    awaken them, verbs opening eyes once
                    heavily closed to second sight’s
                    indelible and uncompromising
                    light, my poetry dividing the herd
                    into those who cannot be taught,
                    and those invited to learn, what thought keeps

the whole earth turning on its axis, to

                    behold that Christ is the sun and
                    the apostles are the zodiac, to
                    lead them on the day of atonement as
                    you did, driving me off into
                    the wilderness, unable to forget
                    any of this since love is the void we
                    created in order to fill
                    it and how can shadows talk when they have

already been killed? By keeping silent.

1Eliphas Lévi, “Introduction to the Doctrine of High Magic” in “Part One: The Doctrine of High Magic” of The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic: Translated by Mark Anthony Mikituk: Introduction and Notes by John Michael Greer, published at New York by TarcherPerigee in 2017; page 17.