When Wolves Swam Among the Flocks

          In Pardes [Hebrew, “Garden” or, “Paradise”], which is, of course, the Jewish tradition of exegesis—itself an acronym by which to remember them—every text can be read and interpreted on four different, though interconnected, levels. Is it possible, then, to apply the same technique of analysis to one’s life, as well?

          פ · Peshat [“Literal”]

Asymmetrical, the way paternal absence gives rise to genius, progressing
in tandem with the expansion of my ancestral roots, insignificant
son of a terrifying father, projects himself into other Selves,
do I sound like a man trying to convince my

          ר · Remez [“Allegorical”]

No children, not even illegitimate little-ones, a local luminary
haggling with the villagers over the price of chandeliers, is
this confession inflected with self-interest, delivered indifferent to custom like
a Catholic living in a Protestant country, the degrading self-criticism
of my feigned contrition making a demon out of proportion
or a statement, my dénouement blanketing in layers of ritual
and ceremony my loneliness, an obsession which I won’t address?

          ד · Derash [“Ethical”]

Memory is a brilliant mercenary, killing us with what we
want to forget, a forceful paramour descended, perhaps, from a
king or a philosopher, a well-hung hunter lonelier than the
heart, hell-bent on rocking shut wet mouths his heavy weapon
shells, an amorist of a masochist who stalks my thoughts,
enamoured of my efforts to knock them off, silence with
neglect what I refuse to regret, his leverage against me
of which I’ll never talk, not yet, when despondency’s more
than one of a mentally unstable man’s talismans, is the
preternatural arithmetic of parental instinct enough to instruct one how
to fight what such love inflicts?

          ס · Sod [“Secret”]

Why am I easier
to experience than define, do I fall from my eminence
by my own dominance, entice by its romanticization my own
demise, distress old wounds to new damage by intensifying the
foolishness I entertain to make more luminous the inspiration received
from intuition, is callousness really cowardice, am I a fraud
who’s not yet been accused of being untrue, does this
adroit command of dead and dying languages deface Messerschmidt’s sixty-four
varieties of grimace, this brusque tongue in its abrupt thrust
wipe from mine the unkindness behind which I hide my
smile, from under its rug sweep up dust quickening in
the cool night what I can’t trust or explain, dusk
clouding moonlight my pride roams by, sclerotic neurosis robbing of
my apparatchik audience a semiotic apparatus for making sense of
what I dissimulate when I disseminate these things, when I
ruminate into immortal memorializations all of this bullshit, who can
even disambiguate any of this without falling into the same
precipice of shame about which I write trying to escape
it, this fate whose prophecy my pen fulfills when I
write and never shut up about that time when wolves
swam among the flocks, can I ever live down how
it took more than one visit to the local jihadist
for me to learn that anatomists are awful lovers, that
an artist’s worth more than being known for having birthed
some explosive parts of his cocksure work which shock?