The Frailty and the Decay


The plangent breath of an ideal’s
filth & decay permeates everything,
eats at the gas-lit streets & misted
paths of unrepentant back-alleys of

any nefarious sinner’s
oh-so-very Baudelairean
spleen until its eventual
defeat of deafening pangs feel normal,

reddening the ribs’ bowl of crushed
faith with kisses of incense singing foul
choruses lost souls know so well,
a pox of lips blistering to blushing

overflowing rust, punishing
drips of musk, ceremonial stings of
arrowtips which free-thought drops from
angels’ wings, pulling from one’s convict chest

a torment, twisting violent
strings of condemned sinew on which vultures
& eagles play-out the punishment
of bad liars, sent from heaven like bent

bolts of thundering fire are those
divine surgeons foregoing more formal
instruments to heal the mortal
race of its ills one giant failure at

a time, such gargantuan fates
as these touch all, befall the great as they
do the nameless, everything
changes yet somehow does not change, things since

the beginning, since creation
have always been the same, from the blameless
way the vastest cosmos uses
eccentrics to move successfully through

its successive epicycles,
to the way they take scent of each other
like two dogs, too human not to
attach themselves, to say what they want up-

front, men become what they are not
to get what they should shun, hunt passion with
heaviest hearts lonelier than
the cloak of their losses’ humid damask

hanging on like a cold fog, soft
whispers like creeping streaks of dew haunting
with the heat of his memory
walk over my hot flesh the cool truth which

unglued me fast from my truant
husband, indenture my solitude to
serve as due for the debt I choose
ever since our expensive parting not

to acknowledge, that only I
can forgive my Self for having left to
the last minute this obsequy,
an epiphany cautions me against


moving on too quickly, asking
am I now no longer a son without
a father, æther wandering
forever whichever sphere Ptolemy

wrote its place into long ago,
belonging like a cog to a machine’s
internal order, whose obscene
juggernaut bowls over my own? Perforce,

terrifying that blind chance is
far more widespread than pure significance
in the rage and chaos of this
dying world, in the salient, silent

self-emptying of an orphan’s
contemplation, endless self-expression
feels like release from its onion-
skin layers of containment, this concealed

demon driving those who have long
suffered its void into an anything-
but-rewarding, and often short,
career in exitainment, more worth such

striving is to write before time
relinquishes its patient place watching
you fade in the apse of its church
of shadows and with unforgiving wrists

wrung from the awful ritual
of prayerful appetite extinguishes
your life, what gives voice to what so
often paralyzing doubt hides, to put

into the earth work reminding
those whose hands and minds cannot create that
merely surviving is only
a weak surrogate for actually

living, this hard-sell ripening
to swelling shreds of a pomegranate’s
aching shell its haste’s raison d’être
before shedding its inhibition and

meeting its vaguest potential,
a self-actuating withering of
freed, unfulfilled seed grenading
into the great deep-sleep of another

æon’s bittersweet and sweeping
oblivion, perpetuating self-
limiting eventual non-
existence awaiting detonation,

having to leave unfinished this
piece against the release date of which I
race, publishing what pages will
otherwise perish since genius hands no

one a talent whose strained laurel
the fragile praise of strangers can sustain,
replacing every season
fleeting fame peeling like paint from the fray.