Three at a Time

                    This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon[…]
                    It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be
                    A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn[.]


                    But no less a devil for that, no not
                    Any less the black man who

                    Bit my pretty red heart in two.

     i. Father

                    In flesh, strong in spirit besides

To buy back time in fourteen lines,
under a mind’s stained-glass ceiling
crashing revelation rewards
silent reverence, your music
box of a mouth is a rusted
meat grinder singing with fire what
liars want quiet hearts to eat,
lips that extinguish artistry
speak of tearing apart my flesh
unless I let you go ahead
where I want to go back, put in
more effort and work into your
throat’s pilgrim route what prayer of mine
swells, never said, finishing off

     ii. Brother

what love starts, Jerusalemic
epidemics of virulent
expectations that drown us in
snailing trails of ancient failures,
unaware-wolves braying crescents
of sweating moons whose tides we mourn
know well your Gnostic radio’s
heaviest breath, facing me as
it is now with Fascist faces
back-masking a dea(r)th of desert
languages, transmuting ageless
images in which we once both
were fluent, without precedent
relentless as you are truant,

     iii. Son

you blow through it, foregoing my
blessing to fetishize untruth,
at once abusing and moving
my bone like a feast no other
ritual’s priest can beat, belief
translating relics until blood
runs from the dust someone else let
it become, drinking up its flood
until you have had enough, this
is what better men, learnèd in
letters and tongues, together termed
the worst of the end’s seven signs:
a kind of vampirism one finds
among pagans and vagabonds,

                    those invisible magi weak
                    in flesh, strong in spirit besides.

1William Wordsworth, “[Chapter] Thirteen: William Wordsworth: ‘The World Is Too Much with Us’”, [Stanza 1, Lines 9–]10, in Break, Blow, Burn by Camille Paglia, published at New York by Pantheon Books in 2005; page 63.
2Sylvia Plath, “[Chapter] Thirty-Three: Sylvia Plath: ‘Daddy’”, [Stanzas 11–12, Lines 54–56], in Break, Blow, Burn by Camille Paglia, published at New York by Pantheon Books in 2005; page 166.