Walking Alone in the City of the Cannibals

Time and again too, I know
The martyr’s bliss in the lion’s mouth[.]


Spit it out, Damocles, the allure
of my sword is not your
spell to sit under transfixed, my

power is a swallowed cipher barely
subsisting in the appalling squalor of
your mindless gut, a life’s worth

of meaty revelations marinating in a
singular thought basted with myriad interpretations
your tongue turns over once in

your mouth before downing it, damning
its shout not knowing how to
go about words at all, whether

this is war or worship, chewing
a martyr whole yet you’re so
devout, my silenced codex a leather-bound

book sticking like a thick-skinned apple
or a shepherd’s crook in your
throat, this is no Kodak moment

though I recall one dawn after
the flood when you still fancied
me then and lavished well my

famished vanity, presenting me with offerings
of peace the way a belligerent
does an enemy, draping on my

towel-wrapped lap a Continental breakfast of
fresh muffins and croissants, lust quenched,
followed by a lover’s brunch, the


cost of conquest filling a mouth,
now all you want is to keep
for your Self my own, to

covet my essence you touched, took
without remorse, twisting the winding-sheet of
our bed’s burial ground, crushing the

petals of its passion’s roses to
scorching ashes, a Phœnix nesting in
the crevices of our torched mattress,

rippling the reflections of our looking-glass
poses as if every last sweating
thrust were a mirror of water

and your scandalous, nimble fingertips split
lips or opened fists spilling handfuls
of kisses which were the breath

of god whispering substance back into
the abyss of nothingness, sine waves
signing the primal shape of a

final moan, singing dirges before we
went cold, leaving for those who
would seek to eat my soul

only these bones to devour, picked
clean by such ravenous, ruinous filth,
to feast on the scraps of

my flesh it once wore as
clothes, almost famous, a fairly harmless
narcissist put me up to saying


this, but I’m going to say
it the way it really is,
cashing in on truth the way

a prophet does, without giving a
shit about any of the many
possible consequences honesty has, some things

are more important than pleasing an
audience, celebrity provides us stars to
steer-by, teaches us to still buy

even when reality might otherwise require
us to pay more attention to
our own lives, instead of wasting

time dimming the shine of our
minds’ analytical light examining manufactured lies,
celebrity’s epidemic is quasi-mythic as it

divinizes what we already have within
us, catharsis it reduces to a
process we purchase with tears we

deny—while discrediting—our Selves, what
other people make of us, makes
us, this is the value of

manipulating the opinions of your audience
without apologizing—of shaping their perception
without them ever even realizing it,

mastery of such knowledge empowers the
iconoclast-artist to manifest work which challenges
convention by smashing its idols, replacing


what’s been obliterated with a new
temple built on the witness of
sages who deny all but those

who will truly listen the root
of wisdom, which is the key
to this mystery you choke on

whenever you look back on having
known me so biblically but not
so intimately, having let go of

me before what turned you on
turned on you, a secret better
than our rendezvous, what would have

blown your mind the way I
used to, reason happens upon everyone
eventually, even idiots, soon, chance blooms

into opportunity, our last session should
have been your first lesson: everything
begins at its ending, genius will

only suffer a fool for so
long until the experience is no
longer worth encountering over and over

again, even the ouroboros tires of
the humiliation of eating its own
tail, as do liars repeating their

woven tales, even moths consume flames
to make examples of their mistakes—
me? I take damage and create.

1Paul Verlaine, “Birds in the Night”, [Stanza 21, Lines 81–82], in Songs without Words: by Paul Verlaine: Translated by Donald Revell, published at Richmond, California by Omnidawn Publishing in 2013; page 73.