Whose Elusive Truth Bruises Through This Flesh?

You desire truth in the inward being;
     therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
          —Ps 51:61


Be the cause, not the effect—
that’s Hermetic (if you
give a shit about such
things)—if you’re going to

use words as weapons, you
can’t be surprised, my friend,
when they’re used against you.
Sing (Byron did) ‘Hail, Muse,

et cetera,’ kick it—
this habit of yours, that
addiction to morbid
affliction so eldritch

Hamlet’s misfortunes melt
into visions childish


and insignificant.
Slings and arrows nothing
if you can handle what
hare-brained opinions

too often confused, crude,
crass, misled, and inept
strangers harass their so-
called heroes with (fools!)

and phone in hot-headed—
mistaken, mistaking
your inbox for some wrecked
bone-yard torn up, to shreds,

for their aborted thoughts
you never wanted much


to do with (them or it)
to begin with. Flaunt what
you can’t shake off, this crutch
fame makes of us fiends who

bleed more heart than our sleeves
can keep seen, this secret
need of ours (and not so
secret when no one who’s

creative can keep it
concealed) to be needed
by others whose windswept,
broken spirits we touch

and come clean for but just
can’t keep from dreaming of


us sweeping them full-tilt
off their abject feet—faint,
attributing to us
(anything but saints) new

miraculous feats these
myths perpetuate. Yes,
even weakened knees quake
when we poets take too

sincerely the weakest
plots our conceit dictates,
making the mistake, yet
again, even when love

begs pride relent its death-
grip on flesh lust bruises.

1“Psalm 51”, [Verse] 6, in “Book II” of “The Psalms” in “The Hebrew Scriptures Commonly Called the Old Testament: New Revised Standard Version” of The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, published at New York by Oxford University Press in 1989; page 575.