Magister & Discipulus

He who does not understand should either learn or be silent.


Here the vulgar eye will see nothing but Obscurity and will despair considerably.

                              i. Noscere

     The first to tell of his second
coming is last to know, once thrown from his
     whore’s, he rides her spotlight’s paleness
until the moon illumines him no more,
     then, forced to prove himself, love moves
from east to west wrapped in a shadow, he

     promises me the sun, chases

me around in his Benz like Phaëthon,
     profanes the sacred silences
of the secret treasures with loud laughter
     pleasing only to proud unseen
powers, mocking innocence, ‘Meet me at
     the crossroads,’ he says, my glare’s cold

burn running him down, ruining his game,

     rendering him dumb, reminding
him of times when laughing was a hanging
     matter, how the crowd once forbade
having fun, blind faith making of living
     a crying shame, biting the eyes
of the owl-blasted, now the weight of my

     glower falls from the evil of

mine onto them, wiping from the shields of
     unworthy men what’s mythical
until the magic of my mystical
     glance opens them up like windows,
exposing such young, impressionable
     souls to the Arbatel of the

ancients, staining their spirits with the wrath

     of the most volatile of the
planetary intelligences, sight
     saying without speaking that this
is their last chance at seeing me cheat them
     of their dignity before I
defeat them with my wizardry, these chants

     erasing all memory of

them from eternity, burying them
     balls-deep beneath the allegèd
obscenity of my poetry, verbs
     purging the impurity of
the puerile by means of obscurity,
     every word is a vigil

                              ii. Velle

light burning into minds intentions I
     send out out-of-sight, working hard
into skulls erudite fistfuls of thoughts
     not one kid realizes they
traded their milk-white souls for when they bought
     this myth of my own that I write

with bones of wisdom broken against the

     stones of their heads, it’s how I roll,
wickedest of all that I don’t even
     want to know those fools who’ve shown such
unsolicited interest in the
     things I’ve wrought, so when love’s starry
emissary infantry bombards me

     incessantly with messages,

each one of which says the same thing, to come
     hither and read aloud what he
can only whisper, I say to him, ‘No,
     man, I can’t swing it—language is
a relationship, the speaker provides
     the vowels to god’s consonants—

keep your own counsel imprinted with the

     aura of secrets, I’ll keep my
distance,’ not going down so easily,
     love takes off his crown and says, ‘Are
you the author of my misfortunes or
     their authority? Are we dear
friends hearing in pairs or impaired by this

     oracle of yours that silver

tongue’s trying to sell me? I’m not buying
     what you pour out since I know you’re
full of it, buddy’, so to love I go,
     reluctantly, ‘You know me, this
personality is the mask I wear
     to veil the loneliness of my

sanctuary, loaded-up as it is

     already like a treasury
overflowing with the spoils of my war’s
     many miseries, glittering
memorials to every conquest
     of mine which was anything but
a victory, a mausoleum where

                              iii. Audere

     few care to remember having
been, a deserted place where, before, I
     never would have let you in, now
enter by the north door, love—the Elohim
     speak so eloquently of such
cosmopolitical things,’ and he to

     me, ‘Yet pain is temporary,

fleeting—’ then I to him, ‘And suffering’s
     one very long moment, eh?—the
zeitgeist is one spirit with which I have
     no dealings and toward which I
have only harsh feelings—the vacuous
     ephemeral is the bane of

my existence, though like it, I rush in

     like a wind and go out like a
breath, blowing apart relationships; our
     edge is what we have in common
with our shadows, shades ashamed of their shapes,
     forbidding our pasts knowledge of
what is carnal, we clothe our souls in what

     flesh knows is only a bandage

for wounds more incorporeal than worth
     all the trouble of softening
with words, to somehow make appear normal
     those jaggèd hurts soothed by yet more
suffering since the pointless are the sort
     impervious to the puncture

of their own swords, lions roaring not at

     the prick of their thorns, but those who
stick around like hornets hoping to make
     homes of these holes, laughing at them
unable to hold their own, only hands,
     fakes seeking martyrdom in the
Colosseum of our unfortunate

     circumstances, the bleeding of

their hearts dirtying our desert’s sands, those
     saints deigning to pluck out of us
our fates—’ and, unconvinced, love again: ‘Through
     the dark I followed the light of
secrets that crept from the shrine of your heart,
     poet, seeking all of that pain,

                              iv. Tacere

to know it, and not in vain—a mantra
     is the epigraph of a day
and when I repeat your name, it reminds
     me of what it must be like for
mortals when they pray, of the liberty
     of such uncertainty—’ and I,

pondering all of his sayings, ‘There is

     something resembling eloquence
in your naïveté; why not leave the
     privacy of the Romantic
laboratory and join me in the
     Republic of Letters, where one’s
damage is often misread as beauty?’

     and love, relentless as envy

in convincing me to acquiesce to
     his advances, reasoned, ‘You know
well the art of prophecy; you are an
     intimate initiate of
its intricate mysteries, why not speak
     openly and plainly its secrets

and together with me dictate our shared

     destinies? I want to know you
infinitely, so let us go forth and
     multiply by the numbers we
already contain, orchestrating from
     the evil of this crush our own
delivery,’ when, awaiting then an

     answer, I told love to count to

ten, so our story’s ending would have a
     climactic moment into which
I could slip an esoteric lesson
     before its dénouement, the quick
addition of some unprecedented
     quip or axiom to survive

history’s accidents, and live on in

     the minds of men by way of its
subsequent quotation, that is, if they
     can even read betwixt the lines
of my dissimulation, this is what
     I said to him: nothing—and when
he went in for a kiss, my lips vanished.

1John Dee, cautionary motto from the frontispiece of his Monas Hieroglyphica: Ioannis Dee, Londinensis, ad Maximilianvm, Dei Gratia Romanorvm, Bohemiæ et Hvngariæ Regem Sapientissimvm [The Hieroglyphic Monad: John Dee of London to Maximilian, by the Grace of God the Most Wise King of the Romans, Bohemia, and Hungary], published at Antwerp by Willem Silvius in 1564; title page: “Qvi non intelligit, avt taceat, avt discat.” Translated from the Latin by Jim Egan, with the assistance of Scott Barker, in “A brief summary and translation of the illustrations from the Monas Hieroglyphica” of The Meaning of the Monas Hieroglyphica with regards to Geometry, published at Newport, Rhode Island by Cosmopolite Press in 2010; page 9.
2From this same cryptic work of Dee’s comes its final sentence, “Vulgaris, Hic, Oculus Caligabit, Diffidetqve plurimùm[,]” which appears at the bottom of the emblem following “Theor[ema]. XXIIII” on folio 28r in the original edition of his Monas Hieroglyphica. Translated from the Latin by Jim Egan, with the assistance of Scott Barker, in “Locus Obscura” of his book cited above, at page 191, this closing warning is rendered as “The Eye of the Vulgar will, here, be Obscured and most Distrustful[;]” and by J. W. Hamilton Jones in “Theorem XXIV” of The Hieroglyphic Monad by Dr. John Dee: Translated with a commentary by J. W. Hamilton Jones, published at London by John M. Watkins in 1947, at page 53, as quoted in this epigraph.