i. Prohodos

Shards of sun in the sand, fire in the hands
of earth, dirt burns a meteor’s
afterbirth, purges impure filth with piles
of worse, discourages a star’s
blinking mouth, glosses over its gasping
metaphor asking nothing more
than tar-ashened tongues will ever question,
glasses in its heat’s house, taking
on a thicker skin in preparation,
as a shaman does for death’s great
transformation, in order that regrets
and attachments to the past can
vanish, flesh manifesting refreshing
perspective, the necessary
change must be radical, unexpected,
someone’s untranslatable wish
says, prayerful and plangent as a dirgeing
scarabic hymn sung Bedouin
by some father’s deserted sons nesting
around an abandoned phœnix
egg they have found and blanketed in dung,
warming it over until it
breaks open as they have, dark, forlorn, scorn
a silent song not silent for
long, palpable among palliative
princes of former-gloried, torched
empires whose only inheritance now
is having to burn out alone
while soldiering on together toward
some unknown, hopeful morning’s glow
returns reborn, a dissonant fire of
fretful desire aspiring to
far-off distances a stark chill of harsh
north wind conquers, wilful of ill
consequence, this anguished experience
transcendent yet perceptible,
somehow, even still, to those men in whom
emotional intelligence
is undetectable, its ignorance
a disease subject only to
heaven’s iridescent scrutiny of

                    ii. Escape Velocity

night eyeing horizons before
twilighting from sight all evidence of
its cobwebbed path, understanding
vaporizing full erasure of its
horrific past’s evasive last
trajectory, how it fell oath-bound to
secrecy, this artefact I
resemble, disavowed example of
revivified antiquity
I now am, so psychopompous in my
sudden descent’s emulsified
obsequy, this has become part of me,
crestfallen quandary, buried
chthonic deity reduced to this
rubble of crushed statuary,
picture of ruin doing in dozens
of frozen poses what so much
disappointment does in so perfectly,
such severity of temper
whimpering at its irony’s mildly
comedic affront as if this
misery were poetry, its lurid
depiction selling the sordid
sincerity of life’s universal
agonizing certainty, hurt
spelling out what words cannot extricate
from collective memory, no
pain expurgated when offering up
tears torn from scenes whose vivid bruise-
heavy mimicry of my suffering
the hunger pangs of emerging
individuality no back-lot
simulacrum can pass off as
well since this is one very long moment
my wanting to move beyond it
will never wash off, its costume of flame
a wearable biography,
only those of us who grow through this fame’s
strangest photogratuitous
pornography of one’s momentary
powerlessness learn to thrive from

                    iii. Apparent Magnitude

before moving on from exploitation,
being memorialized by
another man’s unkindest upper-hand
of having more unflattering,
unforgiving machinery for him
to feed into existence his
monetized eternities, we emerge
freed enough of its lucrative
perpetuity’s burning indigo
undoing to move vibrantly
through violet glimpses of our brilliant
damages lapped up and laughed at
by purple-togaed strangers disrobed of
our own bold defences against
a banging headache’s corrupt senators,
traitorous purveyors of our
worst personal troubles perverted in
public places, prostituting
in vain our misfortunes on the shaded
front porches of golden-gated
Capitalist temples for those jaded
laureates of going low who,
in the shadows of their colonnaded
neon porticoes, shout rabid,
vituperative invectives, scold hard
our loudest unwillingness to
censor or repent of our unfiltered
metamorphoses, to give in
to buying from them what outmoded moulds
we have already outgrown and
broken, what shapes we have already thrown
off, changed the geometry of
becoming our Selves, what moments we have
already laboured attentive
and relentless as a war’s embittered
memoirists at expressing, poured
out, and moved on from, chroniclers of slain
yesterdays better authors would
merely have footnoted for the scholars,
unanswerable as we are
to any bosses, losers tallying

                    iv. Dynamic Range

our casualties, those awful
opportunistic vultures who made of
our need’s vulnerability
a bleak culture they sold to foraging
scavengers and weak-willed, morose
spectators, irrepressible once made
accessible, we are obtuse
inconvenient truths nude as birds whose nests
effervescent geysers gushing
to burst boundaries tempestuously
blow through, a stark stir of echoes
flooding to their rafters heads filled with false
rumours we all crush with crashing
symbols unaware of just how real, how
literal, our power really
is, ballsy, spirited, rushing forward
to break open the swollen boils
of this world’s false modesty with the bowls
of our skulls, shattering walls with
slivers of silver wit until our work,
which we live like dolls, liberates
imprisoned Persephone from her perch,
breaks its rod, melts with molten drops
of vitriol trickling from ivory
teeth to rattle the underworld’s
cage of ribs until it rips to surface,
uproots the forgotten bones of
those heroes whose vigilance serves our own
as sustenance since we are their
pale emulations, their ghosts, impatient
imitations of titanic
blazers of trails, we are parodies of
strength surviving this shameless force
we work with, dimpled grin, impish kin of
legendary innovators
who shoulder, still, what great burden giants
before us lessened when they were
not yet mythic, enduring it to teach
us the same lesson, downtrodden
mercurial students of loss’ more
curious genius immune to

                    v. Epistrophe

their punitive paining prudishness, we
fear less now knowing what prophets
endured then, oblivious to the crowd’s
cries of curses against being
this possessed of Self, knowledge our wealth spent
astonishing them in flaunted
atonement for no other sin than this
being us which never did sit
well with them, fringe-bred outsider ethics
transfixing critics attempting
without any success to paint this long
overdue catharsis as crude,
a song which has gone on unheard again
and again, impervious to
the brutish rudeness of those unlettered,
unintuitive fools, art is
what moves true artists to illumine what
nature refuses to improve,
what heartache’s furnace does to those its heat
consumes whole from inside, as if
healing were a windowless room, runic
in its charred oracle’s cryptic
comfort sparks carve, most mysterious of
all when restoring a conquered
fortress’ ruinous walls from within,
confident that the divine light
shines only on those souls capable of
sharing its warmth, assured, for once,
that philosophy’s lone consolation
consists of knowing nothing at
all but what thoughts we take from someone else,
struggle to put up with until
we make sense of, and become better at
being, who we are, something else
other than being so scared of being
so scarred by being told we are
so unwanted, not loved by anyone
at all, someone strong not destroyed
by that, someone else on whom the perplexed
can call and be answered without
any fear of judgment or feeling worse.