Hidden Scandals Painted in Oils

There is a river of creation,
                    and time is a violent stream.

A painter tainting my brush with
all the blood of the sainted, your
mouth is a stain filthying love’s
taste when I lay my tongue inside
its tomb, praying without saying
I hope what they say is true, that
you do what no one else does or
wants to, rumours with albatross

wings lashing pain against eyes whose
windows our souls crash through, shadows
of your œuvre’s former Muses
permeating this garden’s gate
where unsatisfied memories
demonstrate, hotheads hooded in
bad habits, patterns breaking from
picketing against nature perform

obeisances to appetite,
take from her womb everything
but the shape of their wounds, toes in
the gut turning over scalding
stones scars slither out from under,
serpentine bodies on no one’s
side even when we spoon, supine
liars inviting you on top

of us where the path forks, with you
we out our Selves, make holes of loss,
moans of mourning have torn morning’s
veil by the time we have been turned
into what you’d promised us were
gods, getting high if only we
would let you get off, abused nudes
wearing only the caul scolding

those who crawl on knees cruel winter
bruises until desire thaws, then…
drawing too close those who open
and refuse to close this door of
yours, fawns devolving into fools,
dulled thorns guarding close gardens whose
roses bloom from tears, wearing the
dust of bones, lone miserable

seekers of better fortune lost,
reaping from sewn mouths those men your
hunger devoured before throwing
them below, bones whose spines grow from
inside spineless guys who didn’t
then & don’t know now the difference
between eating & dining, living
and existing, lips trying to

untie from silence its tingle
tangling up one like me, for whom
being single once seemed the worst
sort of exile, but now reveals
itself to me simply to be
the only remedy to your
evil, bleeding onto canvas
hidden scandals painted in oils.

1Marcus Aurelius, “Book Four”, [Paragraph] 43, in Meditations: Translated and with Notes by Martin Hammond: With an Introduction by Diskin Clay, published at London by Penguin Classics in 2014; page 45.