Iconographer Contemplating a Nimbus

          For Nadya Ginsburg—

My shadow was moving on
its own to a neon kingdom lying
long-faced beyond my throne, sunbathing in
pastel bones Kodachromed by

unseen hands an army of
faux-tographers would have wanted so damned
bad to exploit long ago, those upstart
paparazzi partisans

gone rogue fighting art’s war on
criticism some place nigh my heart, near to
its beating, not far from its beginning,
same soundstage, I’m told, where we

both rehearsed its ending, oh,
to be so bold as I was then (tell me,
Jono, have you met Jonathan?), to go
back again and be reborn,

to be filmed in the dawn of
all my brilliance, portraying the sundown
of my innocence, lost in that bitter
wilderness, conviction chased


by hungry commercialism,
unchastened quixotic beasts and fiends
coexisting simultaneously
in the same scene which, once it’s


hazardous has-been’s evil’s
been retooled, rewritten right-now hero-
material, will test better among
an edited picture’s more

conservative audience
(can you picture it, friends? Me no longer
upsetting them, upstanding citizens
each eager to receive my

sweetened fictions they pay to
misperceive as reality), on that
same lot, in fact, (yes!) adjacent to where
a manufactured virgin

opened gaping-wide her not-
so-sacred womb to spill secrets and speak
The Word™, blonde-bombshelled apart its aching
chastity’s locks and leaked hard

a miracle (I’m told), filth
fingering a hole in wisdom’s wellspring
where my morals and my wealth sparred, one part
forsaking the world yet more


perverse parts of me wanted
to conquer, to explore, this internal
dialogue pouring out with such fury
and ferocious force its heat


argued a blue-streak green-screened
(chroma-keyed, technically!) by teamster
onlookers, gaffers, and focus-pullers,
to seem more exotic than

it really even was, false
modesty caught off-guard, assaulted by
my box office returns, indecency’s
gross a cancerous growth on

the soul, or so one dickhead
hemisphere of my brain said, quipped quickly
to the other, back when they spoke to one
another, when in dripped an

airlift of black-ops dropped like
molasses into my dark thoughts, hell-bent
on a mission to make it stop, all this
leaking from my own lips of

another’s thoughts I whisper
softly into the ear, even still, of
the quiet guy someone else’s worse god
sent here to paint my portrait.