‘A disgraced scribe becomes a man of spells.’ […]Finally, proverb 2.54 tells us that the scribe who has become disgraced within his profession sinks to the level of writing magical spells, perhaps much as the unsuccessful writer of today is frequently compelled to write doggerel[.]
          —Sumerian Proverb, in Gordon1

                    i. Occultus

That I might master the empire of my life, enact • anathemas against anachronology, pen then render incendiary a polemic necrology, • an edict list, a prohibitive litany, of my past forms, • former inhabited worlds, perversions of exiled memories too often performed • I wish once and for all to burn in total, • since ended, worthy of nothing but a solemn and sudden • moving on from, a sending off singeing them illegible, a • going forth toward the dawn their twilight charms, an acrobatic • descent, a dispirited chewing of ash down to its blackest • essence, relegation of reminiséances upon removal to that expansive abyss • •

                    ii. Oculus

dependent on no man’s conception of distance, space infinite, limitless, • lacunar, zodiacal how teeth constellate around hemispheres of jaws, tongue • equivocating, halo of pomegranates rimming a cup secrets fill, a • radiating skull swallowing in rays of setting suns, a geometry • of blades sacrilegeing their way through the velvet of a • saintly face, faint halo haze blackening to full daze, polishing • monoliths down to whittled myths, wilting grins fragrant from kisses • fisted in, even a lie is revealing, opening of the • mouth opening eyes, ritualizing resurrection of an ideal which dies • every time something honest conjures up its penitence, its pensiveness, • •

                    iii. Cultus

its pestilence, a plague, a pox of lips traced by • burning fingers tipped with raging flame, ferocity when faced with • this mask of its groaning antithesis, pervasive, persuasive, perversions which • twist shards of mirrors into silver threads, weaving webs through • which loom corridor treading boots needing to believe in being • seen as the arbiters of belief, fated feat after inflated • speech eager to leap, to keep on stomping until each • illusion wants nothing but to be forgotten, written on or • off, truth has a way of saying something which, when • spelled, melds indelible hidden intents inked by hands chains link.


1From Sumerian Proverbs: Glimpses of Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia by Edmund I. Gordon, with a chapter by Thorkild Jacobsen, published at Philadelphia by The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, in 1959; pages 211 and 312.