Shameless Faithlessness

[H]e was a being of no common order, and one who, whatever pains he might take to avoid remark, would still be remarkable. I had cultivated his acquaintance subsequently, and endeavoured to obtain his friendship; but this last appeared to be unattainable.

          ☞ Cantus ad Introitum: Oremus…


     What could you possibly offer
me that I can’t already provide my Self? When

     it comes to art, to legacy,
its worth, your wealth, your understanding of success,

     your concept of accomplishment,
think not as the executives do, in dollars,

     but act with deeper-rooted shrewd-
ness, much more ancient ruthlessness, after the man-


     ner of the Catholic Church, the
bishops of which deal in centuries, instead, fill-

     ing marble coffers gilded with
echoes of immortality’s breathlessness tax-

     ing emptiness offered up in
pale grey penitence by fading sinners increas-

     ingly faceless, pedigreed pet-
ty greed capitalizing on their anonym-


     ity and the misery of
sore losers, convert-winning ministry soaring

     toward rafters, what heaven they
raffle as they rattle cages of ribs with in-

     sipid laughter the answer to
a spiritual debt, enough dramaturgy,

     performative poverty, to
hold-off creditors until Judgment’s final no-


     tice comes around armed in chain-mail
astride four horses to burn down everything,

     until then, liven things up by
living it up the way every one of god’s

     temporal secretaries does,
exquisitely and without apology, wri-

     ting his own history…now, that’s
rich! Simony simplified, really. (Confession:


     I haven’t yet met anybod-
y I want to be in my life for its entire-

     ty, knowing I’ll never be an-
yone’s priority, this selfishness which nour-

     ishes me also destroys me…
but not entirely.) To add another story

     to the Tower of Babble let’s
desire together flowers that come after floods.

          ☞ On Bent Knee at the Foot of the Altared Ego: Let us prey…


     Told by fingers from inside, these
     lies would linger even after
     life, would these eyes of mine were big
     saucers of bone-white bled past their
     prime to sky-blue so bright that each
     secret bore through alabaster,
shattered flesh the way rainfall patters glass until
flattery fails to hold-off tongues wet with little


     kisses, gifts unsolicited,
     not what was wished-for, companion
     discomfort to flood and visit
     upon one already panging
     to be less miserable its
     drowning drench of torment sent when
unaccustomed to this masochism, and always
flowing, isn’t family such a burden? traced


     to its origin, it’s often
     when we’re born that blood spoiled before
     resurfaces, if only sent
     as punishment to perform porn
     upon us for them, not penance
     for their sins our passions rehearse,
indifferent inheritance of storms, tempest
uselessness of lessons lust unlearns as unrest


     tempts us in our torment to turn
     toward men we father, attempt
     to mend, further than another
     spurned by this torture how each ends
     up worse, yes, even when bettered
     by burdensome culture, hell-bent
on turning out something somehow impervious
to succumbing to this curse nature, furious


     with our ancestors, in our flesh
     nurtures, and here I am wrestling
     against what within has been left
     by them to fester, restless wings
     aching to stretch their angst and lift
     away from beneath its weight, things
this canvas of skin cannot contain, songs only
words can paint, poetry blown through bones when pens bleed.

1Lord Byron, Augustus Darvell, “Appendix C” in John Polidori’s The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre: Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Robert Morrison and Chris Baldick, published at New York by Oxford University Press in 2008; page 247.