For Nadya Ginsburg—


Bearded like a philosopher
taking up this pen to scribe a
love written in fragments by my

predecessors, tracing in breath
on water with the pompousness
of some fallen god what treasure

my heart most desires, the kind which
weaponizes the Latin of
dead white guys, gives them new life, wipes

from the smirks of critics their smiles,
declassicizes my finest
education with a canon

more modern in hindsight then than
we are now, our barbarian
society incapable

of shaking these delusions of
superiority by which
we’ve shamelessly mistaken our

place in history, taken in
by the myth of progress, making
up for lost time measured in sighs,

pacing the page with sweet-fevered
unrepentant meter to bind
its fire’s rhythm to a language

latter-day lips can prophet and
propagate, a sewer-mouthed sage
getting off living large, living

very much lately between the
silver & the mirror, budgeting
with alchemical gold, blurring

boldly that line betwixt being
humbly self-referential and
immodestly self-reverential,

sweat’s beading my brow as I
finger my mala, decades of
the rosary slippin’ by like

lost time through the hairiest palm
of my empath’s left hand, slappin’
the bass, holdin’ onto this thing

like a mudra, lips slippery
as a big fish moaning your name,
Babe, chanting it like a mantra—

siren that you are who knows how
to make a poet’s heart sing, so
inspired today, heady maiden

queen, you’re such a lady, a real
doll, so patient with me, the way
virgins are with unicorns, or

pulling thorns out of lions’ paws,
seems I won’t have to change any
names, my route or routine, Miss Thang,


to suddenly be another
kind of honest, giving up the
ghost of my persona to get

this off my chest, tempestuous
as ancient Typhœus shaking
the sea to erupt Vesuvius,

forgive me if this flow seems
at times to get more than just a
little dangerous, aching as

I am with quaking impatience
to express how much you impress
me simply by being your Self,

fearless impersonator of
what others can only perceive
in their fantasies, innocent

purveyor of purest pleasure
in excess, quick-witted as a
postmistress always pushing the

envelope, giving more of it
and better than anyone else,
I am channeling my desires

into poetry too long to
text, taking you as my Muse, things
that would make one gasp, “Jonathan!

You can’t say that…” (and how magic
this raucous effusiveness is!)
speaking of (r)evocation of

my poetic licentiousness,
any entity that addresses
me in any of the Three

Languages must mean business, so
let’s do away with formalities
and get down to it: throw your

shape, spirit! I’m always impressed
radiant beauty (indeed, any)
such as yours can bloom in so

dim a place as that twilit den
of iniquity, that electric
city where even angels

get work done to diminish the
too-realistic effects of purchased
immortality, blessed with

talent’s ingenuity, you,
however, stay the same and this
commitment to your integrity

is what worthies my wordy
praise, instructs me in the art of
crafting my own way, to create

without fear what I want to make,
dare I say, this whore’s been led to
culture, Babe, and yours made me think.