The Sinless Paradise of Stolen Joys

Où tout ce que l’on aime est digne d’être aimé[!]

                    *

Where what one loves is worthy to be loved!
          —Baudelaire1

          Salt craving

                    *

light, this is what it’s like to deny
my Self a poem for you, depriving the
knife of my barber-surgeon’s pen its bloodlust for
shaving off what’s been hanging on for too
long, making of a failed relationship a statement,
doing away with the strange religion you were
then, carving into the opportunistic night you left
an auspicious breath in the pollution of our
warfare, finding there my archive of dark eyes
widening its expansive collection of sighs, what I’ll
never have catastrophizing on my behalf, a skeleton
with a beard wearing a Faraday cage of
a skull to shield my mind from outside
interference, finding inside enough reasons to despise what
others might like about me since you redefined
doubt, hiding behind the preponderence of a name
no craving to change can blind, I’m overactive
foresight protective and proactive, classifying without reason this
needing of mine to be understood, not yet
but in time, leaving behind a redacted bibliography
for scholars of my life inclined to adduce
the few whose influence I might cite, acknowledging
the passionate authors of my crimes repeating themselves
through the pretension of this precociousness I rip
off, heroes whose wounds are pedestals off of
which I fall, the altared egos of those
brutes on whom I call to bring back
the names of angels from Babylon, unvarnishing the
truth of my pathless ways, tarnishing its route
so that I might unmute what my gut
says, led by instinct again, returning someday to
the sinless paradise of stolen joys the ageless
faces of those babes I ate like Moloch
on a rampage, torn by my hunger from
their cribs, born when blessed with time to
reflect, genocide or a gin and tonic, I
can’t decide, is this enough or should I

                    *

do another line? poetry’s only the literary form
of accounting, anyway, and every poem’s a lie,
maybe we should cut our losses now, call
it a daïs and perform for audiences of
empty chairs this masochist ventriloquism of talking heads
indebted to misspent youth, imperious imposters too used
to getting it without paying our dues, let’s
call on the Muses of our lost art,
host an Enron party and shred our statements
with only the gods as our witnesses, getting
rid of all evidence of our sin, sacrificial
victims whose bruises carry into exile otiose fruit
we plucked unripe, scented by a crushing of
incense clenched tight in calfskin hanging at our
breasts from thick necks, mezuzahs sticking like satchels
of apples into the doorposts of our throats,
totemic artworks diffusing throughout us renewed fetishes for
concealed knowledge, heart-shaped parchments rolled like Persian carpets
into watchtowers no bigger than our fists, accessorized
with compartments in which we hide these unfulfilled
yearnings, these warnings of unflinching prophets de(s)crying the
conduct of unrepentant degenerate sinners such as us,
unsightly Sodomites mocking Moses as Isrælites accuse us
of sacrilege, blaspheming with full, flaming lips pressed
hard against dusky bushes pulled like virgin wool
from wandering hands lifting desecrations of sacramental caftans
burning under their bad influence, worsened since this
isn’t a kiss but, according to some learnèd
men more versed in shame’s indoctrination than I
am, revictimization, a forsaking of circumcision, a slaking
of the sluice with tempestuous-wet sparks of spilled
spirit, juicing them of their ætherous quintessence, jacking
until they jump from its coursing through them
what tastes like heaven, a devouring of one’s
manhood by another who shouldn’t have his fingers
down his own pants as he takes from
someone’s brother, some son of some father, what

                    *

          gets both of them off, strangers together lost

                    *

in the sinless paradise of stolen joys, just
us boys and all of this awful noise,
static above which we rise every time we
zip-up our flies, wipe-off our smiles, size-up with
vagrant eyes what sends a fire on the
wall and writes on the tablets a new
law allowing us to swallow hard in sacred
places what meant a lot more to our
ancestors before than it does to us now,
this going down in the sight of a
lord whose very lore was revered for no
purpose apart from instilling fear in those people
who needed god to control the order they
imposed on themselves, the very conformity we don’t
condone and confront whenever, for the repair of
scandals, our mouths feed on the one part
no one calls by its proper name, eating
flame our tongues tease with the copper corruption
they offer voltages of horses fleeing the reigns
of their chariots naked into the forsaken heat
of noonday, we are rapiers denuded of our
sheaths, ready to pierce and adamant to please,
apocalyptic riders whose thrust into storms relents only
once flight perishes from this swift current stirring
us to commit these heresies, adherents to abhorrent
controversies letting carry us into perdition this affliction
of ours curing leather with the asperity of
its attendant predilection for indecency, this preference for
eating, and being eaten by, what at once
nourishes and destroys, fair-skinned shepherds fouling without apology
innocence we weather until we can no longer
hide this imp(ropr)iety tanning the milkwhiteness of lilies
to blushing experience, drooping under the weight of
appled cheeks filled amply with seed dripping cyanide,
this gushing we spit in the face of
naïve confrontation, a conflagration of missals seeking defeat
beneath the bonfire wager of self-immolation those defamers

                    *

count on when they pit us against those
famous pages of scripture we can bet on
none of them ever having fully read before,
in context or in their original languages, not
only are we dangerous but we’re better at
this game than our critics, why be punished
for having already savoured what they’ve only tasted?
truth has no place in the pursuit of
pleasure, righteousness publishes its undoing, broadcasting for unimpressed
masses what’s not new: that freedom of choice
matters less than what you choose when choosing
between the medium or the message determines for
you what you lose in translation, the manufactured
sanctity of your morals’ relics or the cachet
of your antiquated reputation, it all comes down
to ethics, Nicomachean and promiscuous, a stolen glance’s
invitation’s more persuasive than the liberty taken by
a hypocrite whose condescending condemnation of his brethren
makes him less Christ-like than any of them
he says are sinners, the messianic are always
miserable, Stephen the first martyr should’ve known the
first stone would be thrown by one of
his own brothers, a betrayal worse than that
of scorned lovers, a scorned woman’s a daughter
who finds in the face of every man
she encounters the absence of her father, such
is the kingdom we enter whenever we let
down our guard and relent to the wonder
that’s this garden, lush and fragrant with pavement
painted brazen by the panting amazement of flush-faced
angels who rush in, laced-up not in corsets
but anticipation, bursting with passion as its door
closes, inhibitions concealing from those who’ve yet to
do away with them what goes on in
this modern Eden, you just aren’t living the
good life unless it’s a professionally-catered event with
a heavy-petting zoo and moustache rides, that’s all

                    *

          I’m saying.

__________
1Charles Baudelaire, «[Poème (Poem)] 62. Mœsta et errabunda» [Latin, “Sorrowful and Wandering”, Stanza 4, Line 18 (in the original French); Stanza 4, Line 19 (in the English translation)], in «Spleen et idéal» [“Spleen and the Ideal”] of The Flowers of Evil: Translated with Notes by James McGowan: With an Introduction by Jonathan Culler, published at New York by Oxford University Press in 2008; pages 130 and 131 (parallel text in French and English).