Peacock in Monochrome

          As was said of, and by, the alchemists themselves—

«[A]urum nostrum non est aurum vulgi.»1

          —“Our gold is not the gold of the vulgar.”


And I would not mind being
          the prey of your prowl,

thrown down from my pedestal
          climbed like I’m Simon

Stylites, minus his life’s
          crown of saintliness,

this desert this throne of mine
          throwing me a bone

whenever you feign a bow,
          wilderness resounds


with windswept prayers, fills moments
          of loneliness with

stone-grey echoes only your
          chaos knows follows

to where affection flowers,
          below, in shadow

of my own ego your howl
          devours, knowing then

how an hour together turns
          tomorrow around,


marathons in cycles of
          seven laps these tracks

this force scratches in the wax
          of discord each moon

lit, as if to perform for
          us what chorus Fate

plays against our intentions
          when, within each his

mansion, these lunatics’ hands
          descend from decans


hell-bent on exacting their
          vengeance, envious

enough of colour to bleed
          until monochrome

every other’s offer
          of feathers regal

peafowl, eastern visitors
          before our playful

encounter, this pitch traversed
          then less darker to


gift wealth of quills to fill my
          thought’s coffers, this,

then, too much for fallen stars
          to witness go on,

this frivolous decadence
          of prisoners who

show off exile’s profits, as
          if to remind us

of my crime, the altar-cloth
          of the night sky flies


over, as a penitent’s
          veil must, its thousand-

and-one lights, occults behind
          ambergris mists those

glowing coals constellating
          myths clouded by my

defiance of lessons each
          represents, trying

too hard as I did to find
          what Simon Magus


ended up with when tempted
          by hubris to test

the Evangelists with his
          magic, an abyss

more bottomless when hit than
          any cracked mirror’s

cold, black-souled artifice, and
          in your silvering

if only fingertips to
          wintered lips wrote gold kisses.

1This anonymous, though widely-quoted alchemical maxim, often misattributed to Basil Valentine, first appeared in print in «VI. Liber, dictus Scala Philosophorum: Septimus gradus est & dicitur Cibatio: Anima est aurum» in De Alchimia, published at Frankfurt by Cyriacus Jacob in 1550; page 124.