You went mad, they say, the companionship
Of angels grew too loud to bear.
i. Potassium Nitrate
We have acquired silver in great irony, fanning with flame • the envy of our tongues, pitying no one but our • Selves everyone else runs from ever since we forced down • their throats our swollen heads’ foreboding acquaintance, danced closeted skeletons • back into quarantine masked with gasping palms, clutches of pearls • breaking against the walls of heaving chests, quaking under the • weight of stares taking from the stars, pillaging of them • all, the appeal of the fables of their constellations, dust • in the jewelled city, how obscene were we when we • convinced them, everybody in this town, before they chickened out, • or realized our fault, that the way forward is paved • •
with gold only for those bold enough to have crossed • •
the road, not knowing our own has been hazardous, closed • since the beginning, its uncertainty certain as tricksters are self-assured, • bad actors who have had it with mediocre childhoods we • abandoned not long ago but only recently, sinking Jonahs profiting • from sneaking into whale-sized puddles, faking until what we make • up for seems real again, fallen angels taking on more • luminous forms, averse to what we were then, sweet little • nothings whose dirtiest secrets are still hiding out in our • broken homes down the street, we have fled fate and • boned tritone-fingering guitarists into believing our Faustian appeal was the • biggest deal, made them fret until they agreed to sell • •
what passion we cannot feel, premiered our egos’ altered versions • •
until fame became painful for onlookers to handle, bared the • chain-link of polished grins feigning ferocity toeing the razor’s edge • of innocence, the Golden Dawn’s blackballed candidates calculating next moves • westward, saving up the best exploitation for some Sunset Strip • better equipped to burn the unrest of this youth’s wealth • we have yet to misspend hard, talented charlatans working for • nothing but sweat, gooned-up hooligans getting foolish going all-in going • gaga, swooning over, tuning out to the tune of over-exposure • to get off wet with pleasure, colossal radial waves making • of our wrists limp antennæ, getting bent riding shotgun getaway • alleyways veining through cities of indebtedness whose acceptance we crave, • •
paved over instead of paid for, fugitive head-cases titrating doses • •
of sky-high ambitions too asocial and distant they fade down • the sides of Maslow’s pyramid, melt like mercury or ice • cream cones weeping Polaroid memories, fall insignificant and feed on • æther we breathe in weathered foul by desire, sentimental Dadaist • downers whose power consists of turning on others we only • want to resist, since nothing ever goes off without getting • hitched, and here we are wed to conflict, warring against • politics we should know better than to accept as correct, • knowing full well just how fully and how much complacency • such as this corrupts, how silly this failing society really • is for those who believe in its myth of freedom.
ii. Charcoal & Sulphur
Trace well in this hour’s glass their path, measure how • soft, softer than velvet, how much more humble and honourable, • farther than any other’s, the feat of their travels appear, • the peregrinations of absent messengers, of truant troubadours, larger in • your mind than the monsters you must face, ask not • aloud but in the shaded oratory of your inmost heart • what silence will tell, shelter from that enemy within the • skull whose toil is to trouble your head, all your • •
doubts, question instead how perpetual is this emotion you choose • always never to feel, to ignore until your fears disappear • into the abyss beyond the veil behind which your truth • waits to heal, kneeling in prayer you can only hear • if you heed for once whatever sighing sign solitude reveals, • dust in the jewelled city mirrors what heaven wilderness nears, • wears thin what expectations have been deluding you to envision, • in these fragments waits what makes of your mistakes the • •
makings of a sage, buried not to your waist, but • in degrees of salt your wounds have yet to taste, • every part of your flesh tainted with a stain your • soul regrets but never will have to contend with again, • not if you let in the warmth this desert floor • succours the chill of your internal war with, lightening up • what needs this heat to brighten up, a night in • the drawers of a lover’s arms whose jaws like the • •
doors of a vault covet what fills a kingdom’s coffers, • feeds from its cupboards those parts of you you undervalue • and let people devour, your horde your cowardice in the • face of others lonelier than you are martyrs, mourn not • this confidence you have always had but let its apparent • theft re-empower your values until your halo grows over those • scars the world’s thorns throw out in an effort to • dim its glow, re-emerge determined to turn loss into courage.
1Lawrence Durrell, “A Patch of Dust”, [Stanza 6, Lines 36–37], in Collected Poems: 1931–1974: Edited by James A. Brigham, published at New York by The Viking Press in 1980; page 338.