Northern Soul

Make of me an indestructible star in your body.
          —The Pyramid Texts, Utterance 4321


Heartbeat in the dark, silence
the wailing of the singer’s
wandering shadow mourning
the loss of what it wants but
never will have, emerge full,
reborn to turn this bedroom
burial ground into the
dining room of the divine.
Tongue, without making a sound,
work wonders with signs, symbols
denying hunger’s sighs with
an unsated desire’s swift
rolling by as of boulders
from the hands of Sisyphus,
or the tantrum-thrown tears of
intemperate eyes, be like
the turning of tides to rise
twice: first as Osiris then
as Christ, blindness cured by lured
moonlight. Lick into a thick
lather of crimson-lipped, lust-
spittled submission all these
temptations the denial


of which imprisons one in
the disgraceful embrace of
perpetual strife. Say to
disappointment, ‘Such is life.’
Never forlorn, though, is the
northern soul who, in his flight,
knows well how he will flee the
jaws of dawn to return home
each day with the heart of the
man he devoured the night
before, drowning its cries in
his own song’s sound. Millions of
tomorrows borrow from the
treasury of hope, poor fools
devoted to its ideal
not knowing that love’s only
possible outcome is hurt,
but never once doubting its
power over death. A myth
which outlives an echoed pout
resounding in the deepest
depths of loneliness, swollen
as a scorpion’s tail with


venom to spit against its
own unworthiness to feel
like this, stricken love serves its
practitioners well. Weavers
of silk-fringed tales whose nimble,
sinewy fingers feel whole
every enemy’s wounds
in another’s flesh and fill
in emptiness with absence
their own inhabits the way
hermit crabs do abandoned
shells for awhile, to possess
and empower, connecting
with silver, spiritual
thread every moment spent
edging, balancing on the
precipitous, liminal
tether between the astral
and temporal, consoling
the broken constellating
like an astrologer or
correspondences among


every last disparate
letter left over from a
heart’s shattering to spell in
breath what connects and spans dead
memories’ distances. By
the skill of his mouth, this priest
of the darkened room opens
the portals of the pilgrim
victim through whom he passes,
becoming what he consumes.
‘I am Yesterday. I know
Tomorrow,’ he says, goes forth
by day by way of showing
us no remorse for having
swallowed all of our darkness.
This is the northern soul’s proud
prowess, its power awesome,
this is why his monument
of fire towers above the
horizon as heaven’s bright
ornament: reminding you
of your role in his rising
before letting you down hard.

1“The Pyramid Texts”, Utterance 432, translated by Normandi Ellis in “Articulating the Portals between Death and Life” of “Part Three: The Secret of Coming into Light” in Imagining the World into Existence: An Ancient Egyptian Manual of Consciousness, published at Rochester, Vermont by Bear & Company in 2012; page 229. Ellis notes that her translation is based on that of Alexandre Piankoff in The Pyramid of Unas, published at Princeton, N. J. by Princeton University Press in 1968.