The Euphemystics

And the stars are an army that spits on us in the name of an exalted lord.
          —Adonis1

Symptomatic of my decline,
economy’s bleak inevitability

intervenes with cruel shrewdness
to divide the flickering spark inside me, pleads

that I need to parse these lines, fights
with fire—“lit’rally!”—bickering brimstone, spitting

vitriol expounding hidden
benefits of building in a poem’s pending

obsolescence, of pruning ’til
it’s exposed the skeleton of this song, edits

exposing its bones in the hope
that a hit will explode to surface through the fat

of my antiquated verbiage,
annihilating with it the hate of my heart’s

furnace, winning over & warming
up to a new audience, disobedient,

reckless yet reticent, spending
too much time deciding, dickering hard with my

bazaar mind, double-speaking with
sparse eloquence, pithily politicking my

dim-witted inner critic, strip-
mining its provinces of rhymes my pen hides from

those lions of literature
whose princes descend like lettered predators to

stealthily colonize this sick,
filthy mouth’s unwashed paradise, can’t find, won’t buy,

what purpose this version of these
verses serves, forces me to perceive as deserved

this drowning beneath a sea of
jewels, a worthy punishment for someone so

degenerate, decadent words
purchase for their authors luxury’s worst torment,

I should not seem so damned surprised,
damned, as I have my Self, for prizing much such a

reprehensible way of life,
brazen enough to describe what no one else’s

eyes these crass works of mine assault
should have to survive, that I thrive on confusing

them, but the masses don’t get my
message, I’m so peripheral, a ribald fringe

artist preaching an uneasy
gospel to a niche following of over-schooled

apostles, like-minded and long-
suffering martyrs of my Midas touch keeping

alive the Promethean torch
of the least popular form of literature

treasured everywhere else in
the world but here, my fellow euphemystics are

my dispersed tribe I speak so loud
for, seeking nothing other than to express truths

which make others uncomfortable,
waking up the complacent with raucous phrases

challenging prevailing opinion,
transgression castigating Capitalism’s

congregation for having strayed
so willfully into being so mistaken,

liberating its vociferous
adherents enslaved by their devotion to

a symbol worse than any of
my own design, the Mark of the Beast, more often

than not, is a dollar sign: the
Chi-Rho of a falser god whose lies I deny.

__________
1Adonis, “Elegy for the First Century”, [Section 2, Stanza 2, Line 12], in “Death Reborn” of Songs of Mihyar the Damascene: Introduction by Robyn Creswell: Translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Ivan Eubanks, published at New York by New Directions in 2019; page 206.