Flame & Æther


‘Neither opened nor closed,
can’t be figured out or pinned down,
I’m not an equation or a specimen,
I’m a book you can only read about,
not order around town,’
coded to act like this, of course,
doubts and dashes like Morse
without remorse, vanishes before


his lovers can pour forth professions
of everlasting devotion, extinguishes
their torch before mourning
can creep in unannounced,
every exit a silent performance
opening up like trap doors
parts of his heart like a slab
of beef not yet blessed and unlikely


to be touched kosher by any rabbi
worth his pillar of salt, ravenously
fingered by would-be priests
peering through a ritual of plastic
film, an exorcism visceral
for just long enough that you can see
his soul behind the scars and sores,
bares it in glimpses but bars all


access, retreats back into shadow,
stages his own adaptation of being
forgotten by the ones he acted like
he wanted, subjective allegations
of subtext hinting at cowardice
critics insist is exhibited by its
distancing of this crowd
haunted by his absence, no one can


ignore, no matter how hard
the force of their efforts to forget
the damage to which they were
attracted, how much they once cared
about that figment of their loneliest
imaginations they called Jonathan,
visionary prophet now poeting
as a more outspoken version


he calls Jono, self-promoting/
self-immolating Phœnix of free
speech known for the bawdiness
of his boldest work, a heretic worker
of miraculous hoaxes who is every bit
in on his own joke, offering no
apology on the altar of his ego
everybody knows only blows out


of proportion his already warped
sense of self-importance,
baffled as to how someone so meek
in youth could have become this
preposterous mouthpiece now
worshipped by strangers devoted
to his cult no one from his past was
consulted to avouch or invited to


attend when, trickster creator
that he is, he authored a success
without recourse to his origins,
which pisses off, ever since, those
jettisoned artifacts of renounced
experiences who believe themselves
victims to whom he should be
indebted, but will not acknowledge,


dedicated to the press and entirely
uninterested in anyone he passed
his time with then, they should have
taken a hint from the beginning:
this is what happens when
you mistake for friendship a brand
of companionship intended for
consumption only by those aware


of the consequences, even the label
says caution should be exercised
in experiments of which you are
the subject, what did you really
expect from him? An exceptional
ruler of his own nature is always
in control, an indefatigable creature
capable of composing with such


relentless composure the chaos
which informs his work,
a magician in his element whenever
he turns from what bores him
and moves on, turning what hurts
into a form others can learn from,
consider this your lesson, his silence
is your final warning: you were only


ever a moment and not the only one
of which he is made, it was over
before you noticed the change,
now what he became cannot even
remember your name, a feat for
a man who never forgets anything,
forgive him, please, for being what he
always has been and always will be.