i. Styx (Drink of Death)
Ripples in lead, how slate flakes from
this rock’s bed. Annihilating
persuasion of angels who, for
ages, toward this cave fled. Ache
an accent inflecting this pain’s
language when taking from split lips
its advantage over talking shit.
From tongues walking dead over grins
an immediate collapse asks
beneath cracks from what mouth comes this
accident of truth against teeth
pressed. A bird burning its own nest
whose sweat phœnixes in jest wet
ii. Phlegethon (Drink to Cleanse)
connective tissue, torn sinews
neglect ingests. Next this effort
wrecks to resurrect what Self such
self-interest mimics in death.
Immolating rest that curses
tablets across which sprawl furtive
wings tipped in oil caresses worth
spilling secrets as if shadow
birthed what heals regrets. For too slick
are these pseudepigraphies far
too esoteric for clues to drip
from onto what altars egos
confuse for mattresses big heads
iii. Cocytus (Drink to Lament)
need when worshipped by idiots.
Metamorphosis invests flesh
with renewed interest gods bless.
Yet fools pursue, less gratitude,
that wealth which accrues as it tempts.
What loss is it, really, to fuck
and perhaps, even then, to like,
a demon whose bargain some sin
promises, when, beneath someone’s
artifice, emerges from skin
what envy inks in those moments
those jealous of us covet what
is only an image’s lust?
iv. Lethe (Drink to Forget)
Neon in a mirror combusts
as it does before doubled. Thus,
pastel gas colours just as much
whether glimpsed or truly touched. Bled,
it was, that sacrificial bird
whose sacrifice yours it was to
believe what only in words your
voice, reading this, conjured through speech.
And yet, needing no witness, an
agreement now exists. A pact
your eyes negotiate, this page
and its litter of pixels trashed
bricks zeroes or ones manifest.