The painter’s vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
Terror shook you from those nose-bled nights
violent strangers raging inside
you fought unanswered. Angered questions
flightier than absent angels pain
seemed only to delight, until fame
fingered into dreams things paint leaves wet.
Indeterminate, unfixed, breath wet
circumambulating nostrils fame
kept impenetrable. Temples pain
drained its faithless examples from night
after waking night. Sleepless questions
guilt, aching its way out from inside
your mind, anchored against lips inside
of which languished whiplashes, questions
reddening your tongue. Punishments night
in my arms forced us to take. Sheets wet
with sweat, bed anxious enough that pain
seemed better than men to fill its fame,
how cruel the stained pillowcase fame
of our failure translated spilled pain
to a saint’s veil. Relic my tears wet
after you left so, wailing inside
my dorm room alone, I could each night
you were gone mourn lessons life questions.
Your fists’ bruises of kisses questions
your inner torment coloured flesh night
that morning, lovelorn, war from inside
your boyhood room, without warning, fame
from father to son to The One wet.
Covered my head with wounds, dressed in pain
argument ignited my skull pain
shattered. Bowl shaken, fragmented, wet
with tearful interior only fame
for being terrible feels, questions
have been spilling ever since inside
this cavernous hermitage where night
disadvantages travellers night
would rather never ask those questions
pilgrims have fed to the fires of fame.
1Robert Lowell, “Epilogue”, Lines 6–7, in “From Day by Day (1977)” of New Selected Poems: Edited by Katie Peterson, published at New York by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2017; page 229.