Passing From the Familiar Room


With a profound disregard for fear,
how we survived improvising love.
Learning our performance taught us by
truant soothsayers whose thoughts we read
one winter laid up in each other’s
arms. Enamoured of another warm
era’s golden-boughed, oracular
vernacular the barbarous jazz

of which was a dance imperfectly
timed to sizzle the gristle of our
tongues until pain twined its thorny vine
with a climax, reminding us why
the French call it the little death. How
frantic, frantic the trickle of loss
wept itself off into a froth of
abandon. Hair standing on end on

blush-purpled flesh bruised deep with a rush
of kisses whining through us this life’s
pining for some elixir’s comfort
which never comes. No, not so much, not
once one suddenly realizes
just how poorly its forced, amateur
alchemy ruins its work’s fabled
allure. Failing cure, this thirsting so

hard, and always, for something more tends
far too often to turn intention
into motive, murders our souls as
through my lips yours burns, pouring out what
failure purges of the conqueror.
Vertiginous virgin whores by lust
conquered until we could scourge and
colonize no more what wilderness


inside of us aches hard until we
return to that worse world, passing from
the familiar room, we glimpse as hosts
do guests our parting in a mirror.
Before its verses digress and all
meaning blinds itself obscured, one more
attempt at answering its call, to
interpret for our folly’s scholars

the meaning of these perverse poses
our shadows pour forth as if cast to
divine, before strangers’ eyes, what type
of unkindest pagan ritual
sacrifice agonizing lovers
otherwise keep confined behind closed
doors. This pen a weapon, a sword, some
knife, every thrust of a quill down

into the bowels of an inkwell
bleeds ink from its entrails for a sign,
a shot in the barrel of a heart.
Every body a temple of
flesh where nature throbs and asks to be
reverenced, as much by the mouth as
by one’s hand, this effort of ours to
divine by night the reason why for

so long we have denied the light’s call,
perhaps our ruin has become less
ruinous through this transmutation
of passion’s cooling ashes into
a cruel rationalism. Schools us
in a new, less scandalous brand of
metaphysics, strange as it is, and
strangest, that as a phœnix rises,


its memory feels no pain, perceives
no crisis, as it falls from the gauze
of an opaque horizon bandaged
with mirages. Falling to dust yet
again, but not so soon vanquished by
more masochistic situations,
instances of self-immolation,
no our desire rises only to

descend as the fiendish head of some
peacock does. Replete with a brimming
grin when it eyes in the dust shards of
brilliance, such are our itching wings of
reminiscences we would rather
have flee from us eventually
shed. A dusting over of this mind’s
desert with hypnotic-hued feathers

whose truths make seem less accidental
this asceticism we tended in
the past to run from, fast and into
the broken arms of unrelenting
escapism. Its ebony abyss
cracking under the black heat of my
needing to be needed by you who
never seemed so severely to need

me as I so, so, desperately
wanted you to then. So it goes, friend.
An eyelid of providence lifts up
a corner of its scarlet, sky-lit
curtain to permit us a glimpse, an
encore, of the soul’s return to its
chamber hidden like a bullet-hole
in the chiselled stillness of its rock’s


cavernous vastness filling, as murk
does a well only lost buckets have
ever visited, some pyramid
tomb. A sacred vestibule or shrine’s
anteroom sacrileged with fragrant
scent of what we did passing from the
familiar room of our devouring
desire by which we were each consumed.

Triggering an applause of stars whose
sated constellations our oral
fixation strings with webs of song, smiles
through teeth of pearls, gobs of things wept and
sweated, silkened into thread, taut-pulled
gossamer gilt with slivers of fine
silver, no ill omen’s illusion
of this ever being over can

ever rip open. Forever it
holds, connecting us to what kept us
up in our beds, two kings holding hands
between two obelisks we gripped and
rubbed until their only message which
could be read was an inscription our
venomous envy poisoning our
love of one another’s flesh spit then,

and will again, until we split. Both
exasperated from each attempt
to recreate its myth, to be wed
as deathless gods who do not ever
get exhausted, nor ever even
sigh, getting off so much from sunset
to sunrise, in every attempt
the climax we climbed redefined us.