No Fires Burned on Altars

                    i. The Unspeakable

Hidden since the beginning of the world behind
closed temple doors, no incense on the
altar, no fire in the hearth, gag spiteful tongues and
muzzle unfriendly mouths, I will not

let you in until after a year, a day, and
a fire have gone out, this is the house
of boiling water, the desert souls wander in
search of drought instead of each other,

saints peering into my pores know not to believe
what seeing seeks to teach them, its lies
deceive them as visions do all men, those shallow
shadows working wonders and selling

signs, peddlers of miracles in grave danger of
becoming respectable or—worse
yet—conventional, we are those fiends whose names are
unmentionable, things whose very

being is questionable, whose every deed
is unthinkable, those deranged priests
whose powerful abuse of this weak ritual
thieves from innocence its scruples, we

                    ii. Silence

are trouble, strangers whose strangeness makes mayhem on
superstitious towns, idiots of
villagers, mayors & mothers uncomfortable,
to the anger of common people

unaccountable, unmentionable are names
whose friends those are, we shapes throwing shade
against the wall—our darkest oracles—pillars
of smoke trying to fit into the

wrong angles, a soft toss of profane toes making
sacred the places they touch, handsome
skeletons cutting quite a swath with scorched bones, moss-
bearded images of analects

kicked into the wind, autumn-frosted and unwashed
marble rusting the crescent blades of
smiles with just a glance, broken mirrors taking as
merely token one’s own unspoken

promises since we owe nothing to our laughing
reflections, blackened faces feigning
ignorance, enacting violence, fated to
paint over our pain so that we can

                    iii. Fathers

perform over & over & over again, for small
audiences of no one at all,
the One Thing whose Great Work is a Royal Art, the
breaking out of our cage wielding the

weapon of who we really are, scarred by the age-
old sharpening of our Selves until
life’s point is no longer discernible, fooling
flawed philosophers following the

ancient laws of fallen gods, grinding down jaws to
swallow whole softened blows few know how
to cure so the many hold onto them with awe,
seasoned sages fearless as demons

finding demeaning and beneath us what worldling
minds search so hard for, igniting to
full blaze dormant enlightenment by force of will,
we guide with no need of guard or torch

neophyte ibises whose throats are swords, toward
whom wisdom’s piercing cries fly like a
curse of wingèd words exiled from their church by its
north door, effort rewarding them with

                    iv. Truth

the refined adornment of new skill, those wild and
whining hyperboles of hyper-
boreal night birds, that deftly defiant choir
of chortles for whose hyper-real quills

cavalier plumassiers kill, my movement’s blind
disciples whose eyes I open, those
nubile and fragile but willing apostles in
whom I instil what passes through them

until they get it, the key whose secret lifts all
portals, no going through doors or walls
unless they notice for themselves there is more than
one way to know this, that no ashes

in the fire does not always mean no one has asked
it before the path forward, that all
knowledge worth having never washes off once it
fills heads who give it well, those prophets

who know when to kneel, offering more than a prayer
if they want to go where the great went,
if they want to get in here, then they need to be
initiated by an elder.