Sapient Homo

[A]nd by the hardship of the hermits, and by their faith which never was proven wrong: may there be dissolved from your servant [Jonathan David Francis Borden, called also Jono, and in magical workings known as Aquilifer Eremita Urbanus, sive Unares] every spell, and all envy, and every evil eye, and every act of wrongdoing, whether these were done in secrecy or in public[.]
          —Prayer of Cyprian1


Deifying my father’s ghost
after his death, his murder left
me more than enough secrets to
shoulder, defiant beast of a

Borden whose family pastime
is parricide even still so
many centuries after the
first acquittal, whose legacy

is lucrative disaster, this
misery’s more marketable
mystery which sells, my biggest
fear of all has got to be self-

betrayal, of this transgression’s
evil temptation I am not
in any denial, patterns
in lineage beginning to

show, fearful not so much about
what people will think, but what they
will know, this tapestry throws out
shadow, goes beyond warp and weft


to weave justification deep
into doubts, tangles what torn mess
of moralist shreds ancestors
left unaddressed into my veins,

threads through wet sinews under yet
supple flesh guilt for their sins where
none within me should exist, one’s
compromised integrity worse

than a candle snuffed out, pinched by
those pricks, a theft of kin’s youthful
exuberance, its eternal
hurt a knife’s twisting and turning

in a spine’s course a curse upon
the road the soul travels, head to
toe burning her in effigy,
that absentee enchantress of

fools by whom my own has been whole
ensorcelled in his remorseless
perpetuity, meeting that
nameless saint in the mirror, yes,


buying what time others steal, yet
Apollo and Asklepios
both, poisoned prophet sweetening
this ordeal gunned-down father and

grieving son together wield, wealth
and heir, we melt then meld death’s bare
offerings of comprehension,
not comfort, never come when called

for, only after a scarab
heart shatters, its care’s protection
disappears and, like some whispers
uninvited, we show up for

someone else’s dumb supper with
assumed rumours as gifts, arrive
and dine in silence, deny your
millions of questions even one

of many festering answers,
obscene angels filthying with
sinister mouths family homes
until unhoused, the star which hides


behind justice blinds her, teach me
the magic of love that my heart
itself might live life, become an
amulet warding off doubt, a

talisman of muscle nestled
amongst bone to serve as a lie’s
dim mirror brightened for him whose
knowing glance works to soften its

molten stone, prayers remain without
an echo, remain deafened by
collapsing sorrow whose shadow
grows orchards for worms to canker,

unknown deeds devouring those worn
descendants who do not sleep, whose
warring agonies eat of them
the torn fruit of their peace, but in

the bruise fingers of larcenous
light penetrate, take their turns, trace
illuminations, decorate
strained vellums with characters their


flesh inhabits as if myth’s flame
warmed faith, perpetuated hope’s
persistent restlessness, performed
relentless images, crafted

variations of inked creatures
working with their creators to
establish some pretense, pen some
scorching scold resembling sense in

an age without consequence or
consciousness, for in his absence
I see my Self, his reflection,
honouring what others only

humoured, our pedigree’s ancient
establishment before their feigned
ignorance was born, bred into
flagrant existence as if to

diminish with venom dripped from
strangers’ wagging tongues our eldritch
legacy of storms’ fatalist
tempestuous eternity


he gifted me, sages, wise men
forever in my company,
surrounding me in solitude,
guarding with shrewdness my mind and

body, silencing voices of
critics whose spirits their work seeks
to illude, how in my urban
hermitage I am the one thing

by love moved, by its breath’s kiss to
something more permanent than this
world’s curse led, demiurgic in
my distress at its disrepute,

better off a wise man in my
own presence, a legend in my
own thoughts, that sapient homo
who knows his head holds too much to

lower onto another’s level
what lost answers are better not
offered up to question, their lot
destined by some sleeping gods to


being left for lying, and I’m
Simeon Stylites in my
plight’s pile of drive from atop the
lone pillar of which I refuse

to sacrifice my third eye’s gift
of second sight, tonight I riff,
spit streaming consciousness into
babbling books of lists, lingering

lyrics as if anybody
else might ever even give a
shit about how elitist this
piece of it is, thus, as ends French

films and Latin texts, this now is
the twist, this cryptic poem’s brusque,
abrupt, indifferent finis
to its treatise’s elusive,

incomprehensible thesis’
infinitesimal ramble
on being different and damned
proud of its attendant troubles.

1“The Ancient Prayer of Cyprian”, Verse 23, translated from the German of Adolf Grohmann’s 1917–1918 collated reconstruction of all then-known versions of the original Ethiopian Grimoire of Cyprian by Frater Acher in “Chapter Two: Cyprian of Two Worlds: A Priest of Good or Evil? The Oratio Cypriani: Blessing the Lineage” of his Cyprian of Antioch: A Mage of Many Faces, published at London by Quareia Publishing UK in 2017; page 85.