Into the Prison-House of Flesh


Focused thought fixes the volatile, stitches the gross into something
more subtle, the way the devil himself transfixes with a
single glimpse and a smile, how one man beguiles another
in an instant which lasts for awhile, a life if


he’s lucky, convinces him to languish no longer as a
husband but to wander together every alley of every village
Sodom’s pestilence sends them to ravage, transfigured, shadowy as Gehenna
as they darken the untrammelled doorsteps of angels and empty


chaste valleys of their oases, wasting them, thirsty as Goëtic
spirits wandering waterless places, hanging their heads and hiding their
faces as they trace the pathless edges of ancient formations,
trampling symbols which were never sacred, begging shamelessly to taste


of strangers flavours they only sweat in secret, in oppressive
darkness, brusque traders spent at the cost of musk, determined
enough to turn the gamble of one night of ripping
into each other—riding tides until morning lightens their loads


with dawn’s glow coming wordless to comfort those wayward patriarchs
of ours who laboured for love and lost—into something
more profitable, more worthwhile, worth all the trouble of wagering
sin in a war impossible to win, how taking a


bite opens an apple to desire, fills a mouth with
flesh it barters for lips to press against until tongues
turn kisses to cider, water to wine, inside our hunger
a song lingers from the time a serpent tricked our


mother into committing the first crime, convincing her to try
this experiment, in her drunkenness to climb the limbs of
the Tree of Life, to confront the wisdom of god
and survive, to become confident, to find in an appetite


a longing other than the pangs of wanting to be
filled, to acknowledge the divine whole within and live in
truth, his breath’s whisper as fragrant then as it has
been since, scent of pomegranate spilling deep into pockets of


silence one wish the pursuit of which is often catastrophic,
at a loss to talk of this gift, this descending
itch crawling like a stalk of hemlock macerated and drunk
by a guilty ear, this call crushing the hearts of


philosophers with its drone—this going down without a fighting
chance or a diving bell, a stone falling into a
well, a fly trying to rise from a bowl of
oil, a throat scorching ’round the helix of a drop


of vinegar swallowed in the hope of healing an ill-will
which no kind word can heal, these things are similar
to how this urge sounds, feels, and tastes—no sense
can claim to know better than him what utter nonsense


this temptation brings to an otherwise level head, if every
man aspired to be an alchemist, then never again would
he mix business with pleasure or make public the intimate,
for to keep silent about these things is to treasure


what no other fire brings, burning to purest gold what
fantasies the furnace of the mind tests by heat, to
hold close without accruing undue interest unspeakable wealth meeting in
secret makes worthy of keeping, in hedonism discretion is key.