Headlong to Madness or Glory


Misty-eyed mystified, stars rise
in the east but set into place
in the west, beneath a stage of
clouded spheres, twisted crystal-scryed
glasses raised night-live above the
lowered brow, harassed stems twined with
fingerprints, evidence wrested
from hustling wrists, passing goblets
as if success were not so sea-
fleeting as pharaohs’ plague-swallowed
chariots, but possible as
torches lifted to glance this tomb’s
ceiling’s antique hieroglyphic
revelations, flawed idols caught
impostering, translating false
gods’ graven inscriptions without
meaning before being thrown down
again, relics relishing spit
curses tongued without cure, their self-


assured victims winning a pox
of lips whispering shit rushing
over hushed applause, rumour’s wings
brusque, extinguishing in nestled
caresses collapsing over
and over under-rehearsed toasts
poured from mouths agape with praise which
fail and fall now, as then, into
an obscenity of coded
gestures groping hand-blown heavens
coloured unjust until and not
unless useless becomes used up,
grappling with an obscurity
of secrets the truth of which is
a worth they cannot grip, cannot
grasp, we never will get it, this
respect being at once so loose
and so obtuse and so famous
it’s just so disastrous ourselves


deserves, twinned contradictions oiled
with disservice full lips whisper
onto unfulfilling flesh as
if nudes were the canvas and truth’s
exposure an art, not crass, crude
exploitation, as if our tooled
exploits were truly an œuvre’s proof,
removing every old wound’s
bandage a newfound advantage,
confession not so much lewd and
lucrative as it is useful,
a profession whose conviction
cracked varnish preserving ruin,
pursuing decomposition
back to expression’s origin,
an idea of who we were
leading onlookers to linger
on a surface too long adored
by anonymous glimpses, to


seek us in our best costumes at
our worst, a crowd sourcing meaning
in curated appearances,
to be validated by pained
choruses they scream in vainest
unison not realizing it’s
them being condemned when we sing
of getting revenge, sycophants
and phantasmagoric fans pant,
experiencing dissonance
until chanting its illusion’s
repetition silences canned
criticism, to look over them
instead of learn from our verses,
ignoring all merit, poets
catering to perverts, fools who
prefer to be ignored for what
we don’t say and heard like birds for
being lured to destruction by


the sweetness of song, pull on this
thread and it doesn’t take long to
unravel what wasn’t so strong
to begin with, how what bitter
end begins with a hit, some
sugar-fisted kiss, is a death
commenced, and we are this boneyard’s
glittering gatekeepers, gaslit
emperors with scars preventing
from entering our guilt-littered
crypt anyone ill-equipped to
handle the journey through glamour’s
underworld, headlong to madness
or glory, souls lamenting for
untold eternities the worse
torment of informing our worst
story, never earning any
royalties, only memories
anathema and enemy.