Adumbrations of the Light

Sex has no value, because it lives and dies in the present but love doesn’t.
Love is dangerous, because it looks to the future.
          —Sorrentino, et alia1

                    i. Apogee

Abel’s offering of slaughter
reeking up the altar, though, its
column of smoke rose higher than
his brother’s, extended the meat
of its middle finger longer

to reach god their father’s father,
omnipotent ancestor pleased
more by violence than by some
flowers, no wonder Cain took it
upon himself to take up man’s

first murder, ignited by fire-
speaking Hasmal, angel who breathes
wisdom and light, scent of almond
on the wind reminds every
rebel ouroboric sperm cell

since then, when eating its own tail,
how hard-as-hell it is to not
frown when kindling this kind of flame,
to chastise an open mind for
wandering so far from the heart’s

garden, exiled for following
wayward desire into the palm
lifting its aroma to some
mouth to devour, to handle well
going down hard without at all

                    ii. Perigee

getting away with it, stroking-
off hours to some internal clock’s
off-colour humour, off-guard, could
not care less or lack more caution
wanting this lesson, to get caught

red-handed roping the throat with
threads of love’s warm milk shouting fits
against only tightens the thick
silken grip of, filthy-fingered
faith in falling for some fallen,

foul-feathered, tar-wingèd creature’s
tomb of tomorrows filling up
as tears do every lonely
pillow some emptier temple’s
cavernous vestibule the way

itinerant stomachs pray the
same way all pilgrims do for some
salvation at the gate, vagrants
ungrateful if ever they get
it, even only a glimpse, but

every hungry mouth makes its
cave a grave for dusk-lorn moths lured
in by lust’s impure musk or those
thrusting uvular reflections
of syrupy dew dropping down

                    iii. Aphelion

like a stranger’s loose sweaty pants
do, sunsetting along the dark
boulevard to the back-lot bash
behind rusting mechanisms
of beckoning jaws accustomed

to swallowing larger cocks which
grow instead of crowing louder,
takes up its cross to wallow in
wanting lots but having nothing
to cover the cost, coughing up

curses no apotropaic
talismans or amulets work
against warding successfully,
killing with virile militant
amoral worms pure-bred apples

envy every last old-world
value any propaganda
or prophecy could instil in
the enemy, purging their sweet
poverty’s pretty piety

as petty in comparison,
hair-raising in its unyielding
limitations, how unfeeling
and disparaging it is when
ditch-digging tongues talk smack, when truth

                    iv. Perihelion

running long marathons from one’s
redemption damages flesh which
compensates for giving into
temptation with kisses even
Christ’s feet would reject, no spit like

this good enough to cleanse soles of
dust fugitives have trampled, to
exist is punishment this far
from suffering’s end, when love seems
dangerous instead of decent.

1Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello, and Stefano Bises, “Episode Six” of The New Pope, dialogue spoken by Attanasio’s Mother to Esther Aubry, portrayed by Lore Stefanek and Ludivine Sagnier, respectively. Created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino as an Italian-French-Spanish co-production for The Apartment, Wildside, Haut et Court TV, and Mediapro on behalf of Sky Atlantic, HBO, and Canal+, distributed worldwide by FremantleMedia, first shown in Italy and originally released on January 24, 2020; time code 34:18–34:30.