And Into Ashes All My Lust


And into ashes all my lust
unsettles itself. Nourishes
still air with disturbed dust its fed
memory stirs to believe peace

deserves this mess. Miserable
stuff, substance of what’s left after
pleasure vanishes. Vanity’s
decrepit sand no hour behind

any glass can vanquish or press
its prism of splintered fingers deep
down into. Deflowered, how now
gardens wither, dried, like lovers

mummified, by exposure to
some sin coming into its own
fountain-spurt of vicious, viscous
delight’s burst. Neither day nor night


sanctified, neither martyr nor
confessor revived by prayer, not
unless my desire attires its
thirst in what tepid moisture by

another’s wept tears this pent-up
power acquires. Then might my plight
be met with what next conquest my
contested chastity’s jest now

invites. True, cowardice-ridden,
outwardly confident knights who’ve
abandoned their vows, making new
oaths to go rogue. Those gentlemen

degenerates astride my tomb’s
cold stone who writhe until the blue
shadows hewn under their grinding,
grey thighs weep unutterable


alchemies warm and wet with some
necromantic honey! Untamed
stallions unable to translate
my shamed epitaph’s profaned name’s

refined Latin, how it happens
to them, unlettered yet strapping,
attractive men uncertain of
my appetite’s size, or its taste’s

reputation. That my words are
curses with barbed wit enough built-
in to bite and take from each their
life! How humiliating, then…

How nothing thrown ever even
really vanishes. Echoes in,
repeats again repetitions
of buried bad habits need knows.

Notate Bene:
☞ The title of the poem is derived from Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”, Stanza 1, Line 30, reprinted as “[Chapter] Ten[:] Andrew Marvell, ‘To His Coy Mistress’” in Camille Paglia’s Break, Blow, Burn, published at New York by Pantheon Books in 2005; page 48.