Authorized Superstitions


What good are you? god hangs himself
from the ropes of bells, wringing hands,
sweating shrapnel, not that he can

gather us, but so that we can
reach him to confess what we’ll tell
no one else. I don’t write this down

to remember it, but to be
remembered. Never forget it
is the exclusive privilege

of the poet to (mis)use your
grammar and not be used by it.
god is whispering to oneself

and listening at the same time,
a panting chorus of questions
answering to your name, making

anthemic revelations in
a patient place anathema
to insect minds, against whose buzz

and sputter (those machines of theirs)
subtlest faith rages outside time.
A fly on the wall in the house

of lust, Beëlzebul trusts no
one but himself, will not touch the
fruit of love, tasks decay with the

job of courting dust. Returning
at dusk to witness what flesh has
left for him to devour, his tongue

a spade digging graves into hearts
it turns upside down and empties
out, ashes instead of bread as


if he were Job. Cruci-bible
burning a pile of worthlessness
in his left hand, turning famous

last words into weapons, in the
others a thesaurus of swords,
each leg an arm, each itching wing

an angel’s not fully formed. That
hum of his a voice which makes the
white noise black, a poet who does

not suffer from, but enjoys it,
every dark moment of his
October Disorder. Colours

him oddly humorous, a pest
more Rimbaud than Verlaine, ribald
as Baudelaire, bolder then than

most men are now (than you were when,
out of nowhere, we met as if
this bedroom were your crossroads and

my whispering a burial,
our taking turns of taking life’s
force from each other some sort of

suicide ritual). So he
descends, following the scarab
rolling away the sun hidden

inside a ball of dung. Prowls and
plows what broken ground he knows he
can open up again to new

audiences attuned to his
ever-youthful mouth’s ancient sound.
Following the dripping scent of


peppermint and sandalwood all
over the cursed earth’s city of
gaslit souls, lanterned musk thirsting

after moths sick from kissing fog
(retaliating against the
kohl of a hungry world’s closed eyes),

your gluttony makes flame seem less
greedy for consuming whole those
libraries whose wisdom you things

cannot retain. Whose ink’s stains you
drink in vain (your tears cannot think).
On the authority of no

one you come in like a wind and
whistle out like a breath, the sound
of bells falling like missiles fills

my head until I open my
lips and say nothing, knowing that
is enough, according to some

who hold it to their breasts closer
than any dogma (an absurd
superstition like all others,

unreliable, faithful as
flowing water through it is). To
alleviate the pain of the

situation (that is, living
as a voice whose oracle is
breath written on leaves withering

in the winter-beating-bringing
autumn of civilization),
I have no choice but to believe.