Halfway to a Metaphysics

[T]ime’s left its remnants and qualities for me to use—my words piled up, my texts, my manuscripts, my loves.


A parting of its curtains imparts
to any given abyss the fired-neuron,
iron-pokered, sticky-fingered forgiveness
of an audience eager to part

with its innocence, conflagrant saints
itching in their rented tuxedo skins of
flame, a brusque brush with purgatorial blush
painting them with sin’s feeling for its

own sake, not to be outdone, doing
absolutely nothing to earn it as if
an outpouring of grace’s hieroglyphic
æsthetic sentiment waits behind

limelight, frozen in such penitent
poses, as if everything’s lost meaning
awaited them beyond a box office, god’s
executives taking half the gate

while he debates mortal fate with half-
witted secretaries whose scripture my words
ape, so much for self-assured impurity,
which works miracles but never cures

itself of its impunity, yet
even with cited sources this amount of
courage defies its miserable story’s
endless origin, for the reborn

scourges to scorching ash every
question asked, not one sweet answer offered in
warm concession to account for this staged war’s
perpetual expression’s eerie

indefatigable confidence,
unfounded, really, so embattled by such
puzzled bafflement at how charged my artwork’s
batteries remain, no matter how

heady my argument, ready to
fulfill what seems will finally be my deep
secret’s big reveal (which is existence’s
as well: we’re each here simply to feel),

halfway to a metaphysics they
all sit transfixed as eels, diamond-eyed and
dying to eat-in this vision, to prise live
what videoed lies can only half-


heartedly replicate, this mirror’s
imitation for one night of what it’s like
to survive, to hear spoken what shortcomings
I write, to see in my suffering

something of themselves justified, smiles
fisting cold dollars they cough-up in fevered
offering for my silver-tongued sermon, holed-
up in doubt yearning with lip-licking

anticipation of bed-breaking,
soul-saving, faith-validating, love-making
enlightenment or something just like it, but
without all the commitment, and, yes,

every bit of the hype, fine with
my faking it, since they’ve already come, jaws
lusting to look upon cocks of flawed lightning
thrusting electric trouble into

their depths, to have their emptiness filled
with a character’s shallowness when I do
finally arrive, and just-in-time, bringing
a fresh shipment of deliverance

in short supply, bright cinematic
projections of choreographed sin even
they will never learn from, since Lord knows too well
I haven’t since beginning so long

ago, earning a prince’s ransom
from spilling my guts, never once giving-in
to telling them what they want to know, although
always the truth, living over-and-

over again dim-lit jettisoned
moments for those timid scavenger schools whose
only thought is how to thrust themselves into
these movements, those slick, vicarious

Friday fish this fiery Saturday
matinée idol finds out of his natal
element, wild Aries ascendant, dusky
Libran son mooning over what’s not

worth mentioning after conquering,
degenerate third decanate decadent
cusping on the Scorpion, one secretive
seductive freak crushing hardest on


every man no good for me, blue
Uranian ascetic in every
Venusian temple supplicant, reminded
how alone I am whenever I

go among them, I’ve never been of
them, crude people antithetical to my
Muse’s lucrative solitude, it’s in my
chart to thwart doom with wit and sooner-

or-later get-over-it, Christing
my splinters into a twisted crown I’ve out-
grown, compelled now to throw it onto the ground,
giving face to a crowd who came here

only for the frown, to have handed
down to them without admitting in its grim
inheritance the conceit of my speech’s
condescension, what life’s shown me no

one can know without trying on this
fraying coat of outmoded winter, this old,
allayed melancholy’s feigned pain I put on
when I poet and profit from what

loss I’ve already shaken off, this
performance for-the-first-time every time
a former acquaintance of mine already
antiquated by the time it’s played

its public, deprived them of their dimes,
lived, experienced, consecrated to verse,
edited, signed-off on, and packaged before
its title’s made its rounds, ancient by

the time critics excavate its bones
only to desecrate its memory’s lone
remains, this throwing open and showing of
a closed tomb somehow only silence

comprehends, overworking wonders
with skeletal hands filth too much understands,
perhaps now I can move on from proving my
Self and get to the business of

living, finally, for once giving
my mind something else, other than giving up
so much of what’s already been done, to chew
on since becoming whole consumes one.

1Allen Ginsberg, “Transcription of Organ Music”, [Stanza 6, Line 13], in Howl and Other Poems, published at San Francisco by City Lights Books in 1959; page 32.