i. Khat (Physical Body)

You live for as long as your name
is spoken, but only exist
when spoken to, don’t do for fame
what changes you, no alchemist
anonymous Jacob Boehme
would ever entertain deist
ambitions of becoming someone else
other than his one true Self, nothing false

                    ii. Ka (Astral Double)

can sustain the Whitman within,
those multitudes you contain choose
when, and by what means, the chosen
few for whom these prophecies you
speak fill with wind their Zeppelin
heads, explode what myth misconstrues
your intent, transmute being screwed over
to feeling blessed, never relent, no sir,

                    iii. Ba (Soul)

go for irreverence, after
he falls an angel does what he
must, estranged from her an actor
performs the miraculous deed
of reviving the dead father
his mother’s greed had killed, succeeds
as often as she always failed, denies
no one again a glimpse of his birthright,

                    iv. Sekhem (Etheric Life Force)

murders with provocative wit
evocative of much laughter,
mouth electric enough to lift
suppressed spirits, what passes for
an act is, in fact, magic, this
talent which unbandages hurt,
as the touch of Isis did Osiris,
kisses into existence, challenges

                    v. Ab (Moral Consciousness)

to think, to let themselves be healed,
those boastful unfeeling fools too
precocious to acknowledge real
beliefs underpin and imbue
messages cautionary tales
undervalued by that crew prove,
inconvenient truths you need as much as
they to heed, for how a thing’s perceived has

                    vi. Sahu (Intellect and Will)

power, volatile in the hands,
sown in the heart perception stills
minds blown wide open by what sends
down weakened spines those shivers wills
weaker than theirs others, brigands
big on being seen as evils
bigger than compromised integrity,
compromise, so believe and keep steady

                    vii. Khabit (Shadow Self)

what balances, lest gets wasted
these sage pages, these strange fragments
of segmented papyrus, let
master you slowly the broken
secrets, the lonely words, the breath,
of these sacred rolls, gods’ ancient
promises your effort fulfills, ending
up vapid, vacuous, and languishing

                    viii. Akh (Divine Essence)

ageless among the scandalous
lost in the duotone Duat
of Los Angeles, which scorches
flesh as it walks on sun too hot
for soles & stands in too often as
heaven’s bawdy double, crude huts
propped on top of rubble populated
with tasteless, disgraceful, ruthless, Rated

                    ix. Ren (Name)

X devils, agnostics dealing
dissonance to an audience
singing fits of praise while duelling
two evils, their regrets and tense
egos, abusive fiends, even
elusive Cupid hates this town’s
love of fates this egregious, he whose reach
is just below his neon halo needs

                    x. Heka (Magical Power)

no one else, starry-eyed sinners
pretending to be principled
messengers costumed in layers
of quicksilver address liquid
screens the miasmic plasma swirl
of which gases them senseless, tricked
into trusting pleasure to ensure an
endeavour’s justified, more impure when

                    xi. Hezut (Self-Favour)

running mercurial empires,
blurring fetishes with brushes
of recurring madness when fired
lust is just another lie, hushed
after hired, paid in goodbyes, mire
the last refuge of the famous,
martyrdom the result of success bought
without knowledge, acquired by those who sought

                    xii. Ma’at (Right Order)

its touch when too rich to persuade
Asclepius they’re too poor to cure their
selfishness, how shallow goals make
ghouls of those who go there, to where
they feel so low, yet unashamed,
as to sell away their own bared
souls, so go on now and show the world by
your example how well you handle life’s

                    xiii. Merut (Life)

pressure, reassure the crowd you
will have that the cloud around all
is the body whose walls entomb
us, that what consumes whole the soul
isn’t a sarcophagus too
eager to eat those its gut holds,
but an emptiness caring too little
for inner wisdom dishes out wisftul.

Notate Bene:
☞ The title of the poem is derived from a line in Plato’s dialogue Cratylus, in which a pun is made of the Greek words it comprises, namely soma, meaning body (specifically, a corpse, as the Greeks did not view the body as a unified form as we do now, but rather an agglomeration of sundry independently functioning, conscious parts; only a cadaver, the physical form of former life no longer functional, was viewed as possessing any manner of corporeal unity; in other words, dead parts coming together as a useless whole, as it were), and sema, referring, more fittingly, to a tomb. As quoted by Gary Lachman in “[Chapter] 2. Out of Egypt: Practise dying” of The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus: From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World, published at Edinburgh by Floris Books in 2018; page 63: “[T]he body (soma) ‘is the tomb (sema) of the soul, which may be thought to be buried in our present life’.” ¶ The thirteen sections of the poem are named for the nine parts or entities of which, according to the Egyptians, every human being is made, as explained by Lachman in “[Chapter] 2. Out of Egypt: Body and soul” of the same book mentioned before, at pages 60–61; and the four concepts governing existence, as detailed by Stephen Edred Flowers in “Hermetic Anthropology: Egyptian Anthropology” of “Part II: Theory” in Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris, published at Boston by Weiser Books in 2003; pages 75–77.