Damnatio Memoriæ

Damnant quod non intelligunt—
          —they condemn what they do not understand.

          i. OB

His pain isn’t even everything
I don’t want to have to deface, not now,
or tomorrow. Three slowing hands strangling
angular ages less angelic, less

courageous, in my presence, time wastes no
breath, haloes in to blow to dust bones cleaned
from his portrait’s face gone thin. Undefined
patrilinear border lines depress

fertile soil whose fecundity his weak-
kneed need for filth wilts to dirt. Tramples down
to brown earth his transgressive footsteps deep
along the sides of which walls are built. Think

of him ever again and memory
dances before vanishing, gravity

          ii. SCV

unrepentant. Criminal conviction
that all life suffers the same stranded on
the liminal until framed, labouring
for hours to erect minute second-glimpse

reminders telling hurt to learn our lies
before what we believe divides us in
two. How love like this, fugitive and high,
fuelling fires its passion ignites, engulfs,

before flying off, never dies but bleeds
light whose heat heals while it runs hard
from those hearts its dark art steals. Just hides in
carved jaws of tombs from injustice what kings

we used to think our Selves to be. How thieves
humble us by keeping silent, but dreams

          iii. RARI

are astral troubles with weightless bodies,
impatient oddities that need to be
reined in before their novelty fades. Things
which could have been, feathers and wax which pass

for wings, fathers with tragic endings and
honest sons who sing songs for a living.
His one last crime that what he envisioned
envenomed the sweet illusions of his

enemies he thought were friends. How heaven
lets down those for whom the sky’s the limit,
imprisons in hell those who pretend these
things only happen to fools. Faustian

men embittered by its call, wanting
above all else to be wanted, falling.