[D]ying, men struggle over scraps of wood,
and are cremated with a stranger’s flame.


slave-angel bound by a black ribbon of
my own tying to the perspective of
someone else outside of my self, how did
it come to this? fragrant prayer, suspended
animation, how can i save myself
without compromising the rich gift of
solitude which nourishes with strange fruit
this wound of mine the size of an ego
outlined in neon sighs emphasizing
a fate of my own choosing, were i to

deny outright the splintering christ of
another world’s ignorant eye, then this
retreat inside the athanor of my
plight might outperform even the storied
alchemists of history’s footnotes, those
alternative heroes, those oft-disgraced
mages of previous ages hanging
out at the bottom of far more modern
chroniclers’ pages, whose pursuit of the
great work i know now is the uncaging

of my raging heart, taming this ever
tempestuous, ill-weather chamber which
boils lead on which my troubled head for too
long stewed until what simmered erupted
into a nugget of truth this muscle
no bigger than a fist entombs in its
thick vault, this prison which only opens
itself just enough for the world’s wildest
misinterpretation whenever i
derive from disappointment the courage

to divide thought from what is felt, for once
without so much guilt refining what i
really do feel until, “#nofilter,” no
longer refusing to heal, i relent
and let up the portcullis defining
with haughty arbitrariness this blind
contrarian’s boundary betwixt what
for so long i let deceive me into
believing were opposite sentiments:
wanting to be wanted and being haunted

by someone you want to forget go so
damned swell together like jonathan and
david (raised within no faith tradition
to speak of, other than my mother’s vast
and eclectic collection of classic
but not classical records, i know my
bible well, yes, though obviously my
parents didn’t when they named me after
its two gayest characters, explaining
perhaps why i so often feel like shit),


in pursuit of this balm soothing as sliced
tomato on so brazen a tongue worse
spices have wizened, you must wonder why
i am criticizing the process of
becoming, artist as i am always
in a state of transformation, asking
myself if any of this is true or
am i just someone no one should trust, just
fucking faking it for all the views and
ratings? smooth, how oil runs from tabbouleh

between teeth, rubbing gums until its grit
of more than a hint of lemon, parsley,
mint, and seeds bleeds from singed flesh every
illusion of taste, buds into blossom,
blooming fullest the bitterness of my
impending doom, returns again to the
sultriest mediterranean of
a hothead’s mouth, pillaging its throat of
breath enough to burn the portents of good-
intentioned soothsayers challenging my

discontent, wintering it, i am yet
so curiously blessed, i am getting
a little nearer to light within, nails
digging a little nest for what now i
live and love a little more, the self i
have always tended to neglect, this strange
inner existence i have rejected
exposing before, lest the unwashed hordes
filthy it all the more with words my pen
cannot control, carving toward it like

a fresh spring watering the earth at the
bottom of a ne’er-do-well, diligent
as a starving fish evading ev’ry
thunderbolt’s bullet heaven sends into
this emptiest barrel the efforts of
my restlessness deprives of oxygen,
more elegant in french, la petite mort
is their parlance for an orgasm, meaning
“the little death,” finally i have come
to terms with being imperfect, a mere

mortal organism emerging reborn,
resurrected from the coffin of my
own cult, a veritable poet, if
not one of questionable morals and
negligible net worth, knowing success
is in one’s origin myth, every-
one becomes orpheus after this long,
loneliest descent into the hidden
depths of lyrics awaiting acceptance,
singing this song until my work is done.

1Ovid, “The plague at Aegina”, [Lines 867–868], in “Book VII: Of the Ties That Bind” of Metamorphoses: Translated and with Notes by Charles Martin: Introduction by Bernard Knox, published at New York by W. W. Norton & Company in 2005; page 249.