Rex Babulonis

The earth quakes before them,
     the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
     and the stars withdraw their shining.
          —Joel 2:101


Experience has made a husband of my youth and I have divorced him, hindsight’s empowerment piercing a coward’s armour with blind flame, a sword sweating in its sheath like a pen spilling onto sheets an author’s hand leaves stained, a torch passing our last night together into ashes, turning over in their mortar grave

matter an unrepentant pestle breaks into a song of burning ink, the way an alchemist’s tears macerate herbs into a plant stone’s cure, that sinful thing snakes circle and philosophers seek, spagyric and endearing in my quest to accomplish the great work this is, getting over and on with it, fading light

cooling passion fighting with words torn from pillows scattered on whispers of wind, like seeds of pomegranates whipped by the fugitive hands of a growing conscience into fragrant fruit bruising ego until it tastes its own identity crisis, poisoning one Self to revive one’s being which true living is, truth’s increasing pain soothing as incense when it transgresses convention and passes every heaven before vanishing into infinite sadness, sadness whose weeping diminishes the stoic glances of monuments, burdens the branches of ancestral willows with damask tendrils swallowing tears carving from the


stone of nameless faces every illusion of greatness, depictions wasted by waiting too long to say this, millennia weighting on centuries to fade it into shadows, to fold a legend into a fable, to make of my mythic undoing an example, a new garment to hold in woolen arms

reality’s cold birth, dawn as it was before dusk devoured the sun, a king knowing war with his own past glories as he opens every eye like a bolted door he closed to the expanse of its path, forcing himself to question what he never before asked, only after being confronted by its force first,

‘Who rules over this kingdom?’ A battle between a man and his shadow allows them both a crown of clay to dispute, to wander scorched earth barefoot, meeting to duel where Eden’s distant orchard once stood, to throw down my gauntlet and mask in full view of my lie’s assassin and, looking him in his jaws, refuse to allow sin, with its promise of a kiss which transmutes filth into jewels, to enter for another moment more, too used to being used by now to consent to it yet again, to fall for that trick, to break the cycle of its ring like a habit, there is no greater satisfaction than tempting, then rejecting, temptation.

1“Joel”, [Chapter] 2, [Verse] 10, in “The Hebrew Scriptures Commonly Called the Old Testament: 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 Univrrsity Press in 1989; page 944.