Autoheresiography (Following the Spirit, Not the Letter)

And when Solomon bids you to call us, we will obey it.

                    For the Magi of the Domus Bordenii—


Primal, ancestral, unequivocal, annual, pell-mell their visit’s relentless panting and • the padded patter of their rugged paws prowling every direction • of the winds whose fugitive scents they follow into terrible • visions, pain’s thick coats blackening the antique crystal of ancient • stones through which seers conversant with spirits allow them to • go unnoticed except by those who know, those ravenous hell-hounds • roaming the countryside of a blown mind, wandering outlaws pining • after their absent master, inveterate invulnerable clockwork berserkers evocative of • his two estranged sons poring over my fallen father’s impenetrable • journals he kept in cipher, secret heritage rescued from the • •


flames of the fiery-eyed vulgar, magical records yet by our • efforts under-cited, indecisive if I should ascribe my powers to • genetics or something other than this inherited madness of ours, • its cause and purpose metaphysical, supernatural, eluding the scrutiny of • medical doctors, philosopher begotten by the seed of that heresiarch • whose silent art imbued my heart, weak then, strongest since, • ascending as I have the ladder of lights Jacob described, • awake in a dream forested with trees wearing the shapes • of people, going forth with intent mediated by my hand’s • talent, a game afoot to put in my mouth brazen • •


sayings my pen casts out, making of ink an exorcism • witnessed by anyone interested in the testament of a magician • incapable of saving the one man whose love no one • else can replace or emulate so well as memory demands • my work honour better than this world treated him, too • long looked down upon, mercurial pariah patriarch, black lamb whose • slaughtered wool’s darkness my own now almost overshadows, though in • a different manner, more liminal than animal, theoretical than criminal, • practicing a self-control unheard of in our line before, sinews • charging the dryness of bones my life fuses again into • •


form, their descendant ramming toward the wilderness I voluntarily enter • subtler than a goat scraping by osctracized by a tribe • we have always despised, gliding past Azazel, beyond good and • evil, villainous blend of the Estensi, Medici, and Machiavellian, at • once Byronic, Wildean, and Nietzschean, Catholic with a Protestant work • ethic and our sinister progenitors as my guide, our name • a weapon I carry with pride, this is for you, • familiar friends, the distance of centuries bridged by your river • which follows my veins to that shared source overflowing with • our fame, that graven vessel shameless words pour from unafraid.

Notate Bene:
☞ The title of the poem is derived from two lines used by Alexander Cummins in the parts “Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa: Appeal to Agrippa” and “Conclusions” of his essay “Tutelary Shades”, in “[Part] 2[.] Contexts” of An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke: The Magical Works of Humphrey Gilbert & John Davis from British Library Additional Manuscript 36674. Transcribed, Edited and Introduced by Phil Legard with Supplementary Essays by Alexander Cummins, published at London by Scarlet Imprint in 2020; pages 297 and 306.
1Adam, in the form of a spirit appearing “at the sunset[…]in the west”, evoked along with those of Solomon, Job, Roger Bacon, and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, speaking to Humphrey Gilbert through the visions of John Davis in a “crystal stone” scrying operation of February 25th, 1567, conducted by both men in attendance and recorded by Adrian Gilbert, Humphrey’s brother, in “Visions”, British Library Additional Manuscript 36674, folio 59 verso, transcribed by Phil Legard in “[Part] 1[.] Texts” of the work cited above as “Visions: Modernised transcription”; page 121.