Attuned to Majesty

O, never
Shall sun that morrow see.
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters.


With lyrical step, I walk like a myth
emerging from my own self-conception, spare me your
tears, I am writing an endorsement of our
own shortcomings, translated into breath written on eyelids,
eyes reading these moments like eulogies, together we
scavenge the ruins for the fruit of resurrection,
picking through debris to eat of promises not
yet broken by a crumbling society, feeling more

anatopistic than usual today, took it to heart
when Auden taught us that poetry creates private
spheres out of public chaos, knowing too much,
if we go Dutch, we’ll end up going
French and at some point our tongues will
touch, feasting on scraps of a load fed
to me like a name I won’t divulge
falling like water whenever another man acknowledges me,


doom-eager teller of the day, sweep into queer
archæology these pieces of us, were we not
so attuned to majesty to wed salvation to
my sorrow, petty as pistols firing at each
other as if strangers tasted the same as
the danger we crave, never quite the same,
never satisfied by this game, empty vessels full
of longing, vandals of our love’s history, erasing

even our own names, fading until we spill
laughter mocking the shame we don’t have, until
the pain of a new day breaks and
I wake from three decades of sleeping in
my own arms, dissolution of this disillusion crowns
the mistake with gold which flakes fingers of
waste pointing at me like thorns, opposite of
Midas, everything I touch scrapes of its lustre,


takes off its veils, initiates me in what
I lost when I sacrificed us to what
I thought I was, the strangest if not
the strongest god, the assessment of the assassin
was that I should not have asked him
about the cost of killing off what I
wanted to last, this fame clashing with my
anonymity’s cachet, got what I was billed for,

hiding from the light an echo I mistook
for a wife, a shadow my pen’s knife
bent until it split paradise like a pomegranate
whose flesh I let my pride bite, seed
falling from my mouth the way genius wastes
itself away, a spendthrift dissipation of a life
drifting like wood awaiting a spark to ignite
this barge of baggage I wish I had


dealt with before burning out at thirty-one with
no survivors in the morning-after to describe how
we got through the night, a kerosene king
not appalled at the sight of my mismatch’s
rage, or its fire, but how the scene will read when committed to the page, I
am the phœnix born for the flames eating
me, from the sweating inevitability of which I

take my ink and make this myth my
immortality sustains, can you forgive a character his
regrettable place in the canon of your disgrace?
Can you read in the lines of my face
any other reason for this farce, or am
I so bad an actor truth wears me
the way a costume of flesh tears at
one’s interior, eating a soul, bleeding cruel theatre?

1William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”, [Act] I[, Scene] 5, [Lines 59–62], dialogue spoken by Lady Macbeth to Macbeth, in Macbeth: Edited by Stephen Orgel, published at New York by Penguin Books in 2016; page 18.