As Far as the World Is Wide

To a faithless former lover
     in a nameless, war-torn city
          on the aching eve of his most
               anxious heart’s liberation from
                    my darkness’ oppression: this, then—

                         i. Breadth

     Observe in your easy friendship

with infidels the shared terror
of two strangers encountering
at last a lost artifact, our

old convictions’ necessary
evidence of an integrity
which went missing around the same

time our affection did, spitting
its final trace, sputtering out
a remnant, a sparked particle

of our downfall’s original
magnetism, a spectral presence
majestic and severely lit

by the icicled ghost-light of
an Aurora calling home its
indigo children, lovelorn and

wind-worn, a stellar collision
whistling war’s holes through a fissure
in the bone, a blister in the

kiss of these lips time splintered to
weeping shards, a splitting into
two parts this story’s yarns we twist

to suit us, our knot’s hardest time
we together wintered here then
before untying it, a lie

weathered now by iridescent
spikes of midnight, milk-white clouds of
viscous emptiness scattering

     us as far as the world is wide—

                         ii. Depth

Is it distance or is it perspective,
synchronicity or coincidence,
shrewd or shameless, the extremism of this
wrist’s exorcism by which I become self-
     possessed, this interest of mine in men—

an obsession with them—I can’t find my
Self pleased by, discarding after one use
hundreds of packages? Baggage bulging,
disproportionate and documenting
     for an audience I can’t stand, in an

art-form that has all-but-died, one night I
seem—like a masochist prince, refugee
in his own kingdom—to live over and
over again, agony is not a
     democracy but a commodity,

pain a product I hawk to a plaintive
populace, winging it as I pretend
at being human, retreating within
when the quietist things society
     dictates get too populist since too much

controversy, this too-much-chaos, is
never enough, drawn as I am—like oil
to a fire or djinn to a lamp—to heat
and the incendiary gaps in my
     father’s biography, sworn by duty

to bring them to light, reborn the day he
died, a character emerging from what
conflagration of conflation torments
me, to share the name of your maker is
     to always be someone else yet somehow

the same, mud aflame with such moody and
musky genius, a seed throwing off my
bonds of clay, I am what I say but can’t
escape these roots no matter how high I
     climb the ladder of lights like a grapevine

into the wine-bowl of the sky, scion
of sacred geometers and dread war-
mongers, prodigal progeny of my
grandfathers who, in spite of the fact, thrived,
     yet were at once revered and reviled for

the steep power of their minds, cerebral
spiritualists and spies from whose deep
ashes I rise, grow the gardeners of
lost paradise who sided with our ghosts’
     primordial parents once exiled by

divine justice for having taken so
precociously, so prematurely, a
bite of knowledge, touching a match to their
graves I ensure our fate, imitate those
     measurers of the distance from life to

eternity—of an inflated sense
of importance to immortality—
this solipsist self-worship of mine must
be why I come off to some—or many—
     as a person whose damned persona has

eclipsed his personality, heir and
chronicler—survivor—of an ancient
New England family whose legacy
is an empty treasury, a lengthy
     inventory of their profitable

sorceries and other schemes, a dripping
litany of sins which in me take on
flesh, prophet liable to tragedy,
still reeling from our recent blood-letting,
     the peeling off of pavement the face of

a patriarch whose sacrifice is still
fresh and the misery your mask and mine
resemble whenever I remember
him or when we kissed, an aftermath’s slick
     transmutation of possession into

theft, of existence into death, of wealth’s
enemy promises into what poor
memory I’ve kept, his absence a debt—
the only part of him I have left—lead
     alchemising my failures into theirs,

a crucible heart working miracles
in reverse, this hurt’s the muscle of my
ancestors’ curse turning to stone what an
experience like ours couldn’t polish
     but spent, the end result’s never more than

veneer overtaking the varnish your
warmth laid there before my soulless coldness
veered into verse secrets I treasured with
fear and reverence, our lies coursing veins
     I opened wide to drop these lines for us.