To Walk Soundlessly Over Loose Boards

And we are magic talking to itself,
          noisy and alone.


Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
          He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
                    —Mk 5:92


I won’t accept the prison of this bed
the way a spider wears its web, hungry
and alone, the way a hollow bone settles
into vacant flesh as if it were a

home, hoping to find in the openings there
something of a soul among old wounds, or
the way an infant lies there, tolerating its
crib, tormenting the coldness of night with warm

cries no one can hold or own, a
comet is just a star with a beard,
you said that to me once, a constellation
of crookèd teeth, your meat’s pearlescent bones, coruscating

like moonlit tombstones behind which your tongue hid
its mysterious language. sighing smiles, non sequiturs darting
forth to startle me with your celestial command
of uttered nonsense, words unfolding their astral map

depicting distant concepts I could not yet connect,
oracular as a midsummer sunset, escorting me when
we met part way between one of my
attempted deaths and its bandages, before our parting

of ways cast us indifferent to its myth,
before its end set us against the horizon
of my Libran indecisiveness, my Aries rising, boiling
a feverish intolerance once you called me out

on it and realized I was imbalanced, before
then, when your hands held mine and had
yet to transform into the claws of a
scorpion, we were something almost golden, alchemical in

our reversal of fortunes, our recital of some
perverted catechism, I was nothing then, dust of
a mummy, wrapped up in introspection, torn apart
at remembering how beautiful I had been before

becoming my Self, I was carnage whose wreckage
your carnal touch resurrected, a hot mess revived by
the vibe I got whenever you went down
on me searching like a scourge for the

origin of the world, for a spring to
quench your thirst in the flames of my
forest, or to gouge forth with the force
of an army of fingers forming one fist,

you promised what no one wanted, I panted
at the sound of those whispers as you
resurfaced, exhausted as I was sated, crumpled together
like two sheets of paper, wasted, too eager


for more, we could not explain its danger,
tomorrow was always waiting and living in the
moment necessitated ignorance, the flickering of your solstice
mouth’s singing embers which spoke to me with

a smoky voice like a burning city, emptying
every noise hiding within me, a flood choking
silence every time you spent the night, pity
ripening to pretty much hooked, my nurse addicted

like a worm to an apple, graduating from
the orchard to a library of forbidden books,
bitten by a look, smitten by a pithy
little plea to please, please, please put it

in me, to let me poison your seed,
every one of my bawdiest scars a cigar-box opening
through which light passed to have its fill
of darkness, matchless as the willingness of our

obvious differences to coalesce and kiss, hostile witnesses
osculating without audience or consequence, sybaritic if only
for a season shared in secret, when we
teased each other with offers of one another’s

ears nibbled in exchange for the caressing of
pardoned necks, a bargain, just to hear both
of us speak with one voice the way
a lover possesses another’s wife, for a moment

in our minds to forever live over-and-over, if
never for-life in-real-life, to commit the crime of
committing our Selves to this void, filling its
emptiness, its vast expanse, with a common lie

defying truth by denying its evidence that we
were already through, insistent since the beginning of
the existence of something which never was, the
shadow of Us blanketing Them in our illusion

that somehow we could pull it off, wedding
against all odds the chaos of your confusion
with my appetite for destruction, too consumed by
being used up like a drug calming down

the damned, love is an opiate hard-won and
when we got hold of its stone we
drowned, too stupid in the stubbornness of our
stupor to let go, not knowing those who

suffer most pour out more tears than the
ocean, two ghosts shrugging off the significance of
lust’s lasting effects, choosing not to feel its
needles pinning us into place, harpooning past devastating


truth, this piece of real estate that distances
me from you, this madness of mine surrounding
us, crowding us as it filled the room
with black clouds of corrosive fire, my wolf,

my blue-eyed devil climbing from his pedestal to
the pinnacle of my mind whose temple’s doors
are bullet holes through which angels pour merciful
handfuls of balms they drop to soften the

blow of my harsh words, to walk soundlessly
over loose boards is itself a miracle not
without its own sordid fallout, its merit in
the curling of the toes, the worth of

my rhymes found by those toeing these lines,
my beadsmen sweating for me, following glowing coals
calling to them like an urge, to leave
the comfort of their homes, to burn them

and wait for me on the shore
as I row toward or away from them,
none can be sure, there is an art
to this, of that I am certain, the

neurotic is the new erotic, faith is a
costume, belief is an apostle thieving the words
of his master who accosts him, to form
a heaven of what I stole from the

abyss I had to learn this the hard
way, that the hardest thing is to say
of oneself what everyone else already thinks, and
that I should be ashamed, that I am

what you always thought I was and that
this is what it is, a cock-and-balls story,
a parable told like a cautionary tale with
revisionary flair, whose characters’ names have been changed,

you are Sweet and I am Strange, ours
was a creed in which even we did not
believe, what must be learned has to be
written, it cannot be read, and so I

present what I never could give, honesty from
the pen of a pseudonymous hand, driven by
those greedy demons of which I cannot rid
my fishbowl head, those needy spirits feeding on

this unfulfilled wish of mine to finally meet
and be possessed by one of my own
kind, tipping the scales so that I might
spill all these secrets for you to drink.

1Anne Sexton, “You, Doctor Martin”, [Stanza 6, Lines 37–38], from “[Part] I” of “To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960)” in The Complete Poems: With a foreword by Maxine Kumin, published at Boston by Mariner Books in 1999; page 4.
2“The Gospel According to Mark”, [Chapter] 5[, Verse] 9, in “The New Covenant Commonly Called the New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: New Revised Standard Version” of The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, published at New York by Oxford University Press in 1989; page 40.