Sex & Sandalwood

They, the light of that Sun, turn back again,
like the stars, from these bodily walls.


Speaking of conspiracies, truly,
the only fringe theory
in which I don’t believe is that
myth I might possibly be loved,
that somehow one can overcome
feeling so unwanted, being
discarded, once the transaction’s
done, the illusion ends when we
come, everything unwinds in
that moment of knowing the addiction’s
won, how can I conquer
the indefatigable Me-
Against-Me? That beast within who counsels
that denial so extreme it
might eventually meet its
opposite, polarities of
grief and for once seeming so pleased
greeting, that something between these
even exists and such a balanced
life can, indeed, be lived, and well,
while burning through pages as
if tears were ink, poetry the
myrrh to sage my head of thoughts I

no longer want to think, angels
tell me this is enough, to give
it up, this doubt in my Self crippling
from inside those vibrating
foundations quaking in time with
a landslide, breaking the battlements
of the cracked bastion of my
stolid appearance behind
which hides my crumbling countenance,
this falling apart to break up
what ignoring what the heart wants
constructs but forging toward it
head-on debunks, that I’m terrified
of not living up to what
others perceive me to be, that
things will only ever be what
they seem, that what I seek to show
will never be seen, that it’s from
weakness I settle, instead, for
a parable’s dreadful parade
of one-dimensional lovers,
caricatures of discarded
parts of me, smudged sketches bereft

of any comedy or
ability to complete me, ill-
fitting pieces puzzled by my
witty mystery whose only
consistency is their constant
anonymity, jokers I
play with a “downtown name,” telling
them to call me “Jake,” since pseudonyms
are so damned becoming to
someone whose every experience
is field research for some
forthcoming work, my
black book too little to list all
the shit I took then and take still,
making look so seamless how being
so easy weaves into one
big jizz-soiled quilt every midnight
moonlit meander’s men of
convenience I bedded with comfort,
confidence, and not an ounce
of any guilt, seeking to get
my fill of what I already
possess and conceal from healers,


knowing things don’t end in retreat
but begin there, this seclusion
is my crucible from which I’ll
emerge, if not whole, transformed by
everyone by whom I was
burned before, every weak-kneed
blistering experience an
ingredient in the making
of this fragrance which perfumes the
storm taking its toll on me, a
transmutation of disappointment

into columns of incense
rising above past situations,
in choice there’s power, and this
time I’m choosing not to be consumed
by the conflagration of
my hesitation to yield to
this heart’s aching, following its
pain sensing that even feeling
something after being numbed for
so long’s an indication I’m
going in the right direction.

1Rumi, “Borrowed Clothes[: Selections from] Mathnawi V, [Lines] 981–91”, [Lines 12–13], in “[Chapter] 3[.] Selections from the Mathnawi[: Translated by] Kabir and Camille Helminski” of The Pocket Rumi: Edited by Kabir Helminski, published at Boulder by Shambhala in 2008; page 236.