Worse Than Legal

Pity these jewels puddles reflect
with all the sympathy of mirrors
vagrant mouths filthy, hungry for one
more chance at clothing their vanity

in another’s flesh. Pearls worthier
of swine than wisdom, worn thin, abject
from a courtesan’s destitution,
exquisite fictions ripped from empty

hands. Each facet a theft from the breast
these diamonds’ wrecked girdles never
recover from once crushed, stone hearts sweat’s
torn open, tears that howl perversions

no one’s ever before answered as
well my pen does now in this open

letter addressed to those gutter-bred.
Weavers of secrets kept men flee their
patrons’ gilded prisons to look on,
experience in person, to see

directly what others whisper too
discreetly, as if the street cares. Yet,
beneath these sheets, there’s buried more than
this bref double’s syllables can keep

on carrying, with nine beats per breath,
per measure, even my symbolism’s
limited to counting on my dead
audience to get decadence, come-

what-may, the way Baudelaire did.
Finding in decay prayer depraved song

answers before judgment can make it
heaven’s mission to delay its grey
angels from intervening for some
sinner’s intentions before the pink

break of day. Worse than legal, we all
whore, in some form or another, let
our Selves down to drown in affection,
relishing the attention of each

other when the only thing our bled
bodies try to say is that our work
is more than effort, but an honest
way of living we make. Expressions

of sentiments more than words can bless
pages to print, ink’s what blood becomes.