On My Beggar Knees

One who does not understand how the body that a person wears came to be will perish with it.
          —The Dialogue of the Savior1


A spider on the skin of a • drum, spinning into the fabric of a • dream iridescent obscenities, choreography of ritual which • makes this dance seem less obscene, traveling • across metered distances of flesh between beatings, • beneath moonlit reams of thought-consuming cloud unravelling • their own damned downy realm to render • to pearly thread every step toward the • immanent gossamer of web which, in the • end, stitches together better than anything else • has or can, those slivers of silver • sent beyond expectations to bind in the • heavens constellations the sacred meanings of whose • dewy configurations not one sublunary head’s mundane • contemplations has yet loosened into lucid translations, • this ligament whose musical ligature fixes into • fantasy fragmented figments of imagination and enshrouds • revelations in whispered layers of imperishable spirit • no breath can shred open or unseal • enough to repeat what should not be • said, not yet, delicate melodies timed to • silent song, singing of suffering sent only • to lead us on, wisdom is in • •


the body, man, nature is the memory • of ceremony, on my beggar knees everything • I have ever sought to seek has • found its way to me, more providential • than eventual, more individual than conventual, more • heretical than conventional, only after its want • has been released, I can tell you • what I do but not what I • am, sworn to the oath of Harpocrates, • secrecy a necessary due tithed of the • few whose minds those same, shameless heavens • find worthy of what they hide, dividing, • for a second, the cloud upon the • sanctuary into two columns of smoke, the • one black, the other white, the veil • a grey haze which fades the way • fame does to decay, limelight and nitrate • film good as microwaved celluloid failing immortality • melting in the molten presence of this • flame’s explosive expansion, its endlessness of corrosive • tongues an erosion of relentless fingers which • engrave fated names time cannot erase, devastating • hubris with every lick, sending messages the • •


implications of which no sage can change, • written on the left a J and • on the right a B, passing between • them I became the person I always • wanted to meet, an enigma appealing enough • to a niche market to flood my • company’s balance sheet with onyx figures speaking • bolder volumes than any of my statements • could possibly make, no mistake, no fooling, • mate, in a word, the ambiguity of • my mysterious misery sells, appeals, against all • odds, to small crowds contented, even, to • purchase and possess, but not comprehend, this • hand’s little mementos more or less filled • with emptiness my pen has yet to • disabuse the mixed sentiments of with enough • respect to correct, if not settle, once • and for all, the truth I have • never revealed, hinting only now at how • one reader makes me feel, whose name • pains my fist from preventing its brand • burning these pages to ashes of language • only thirsting tongues can understand, filling throats • •


with what I wish I could shout, • crawling to call on a twinning of • flame breaking down both our desires, every • phœnix who ever had the audacity to • deceive us taking wing, twins meditating on • what the voice of light sounds like, • asking not for a sign but to • unite our concealed lives in sight of • Mercury’s more benevolent eyes, winking as Hermes • does at our love’s enemies, knowing more • than they could ever hope to just • how to do what only we can • do, which is why I plead to • keep fed the heat of this secret • feeding me since it seeds so well • the soil of this heart which bleeds • ink enough to write until I will • have strength to tell all, please, friend, • fellow fiend, forgive with patience the length • of how long I have been making • you wait, in the end, you are • the reason why I create and mean • more to me than I can say.

1“Coming to Understanding (133,21–134,24)” in The Dialogue of the Savior: Introduced by Madeleine Scopello: Translated by Marvin Meyer, the fifth tractate of Nag Hammadi Codex III (NHC III.5), in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition: Edited by Marvin Meyer, published at New York by HarperOne in 2018; page 306.