Burn Now or Flower Only in Shadow


Burn now or flower
only in shadow, hold
out, brow furrowed, powerful
knowing no tomorrow, no
matter how doleful its
afterglow, from whirlwinding undertow
flows what current within
as without bends the
swords of our thoughts
into coins we can
spend like time wasted
together in moments whenever
we’re thrown like oracles—


whether incongruous, your ignorance
conspicuous as it is
not fluent enough in
irreverence to attempt transgressive
expression, for instance, how
you didn’t want it
when Madonna got down
and got erotic, now
you talk about it
as though time’s passage
makes it ironic, your
hypocrite snub of sizzling
wit’s naked brilliance this


exposure of our crude
nudity wishes had any
resemblance to the beauty
of her boldness, however
that’s what happens when
thinking too forward inexperienced
masses can’t afford to
source what theft that
borrowed sex manifests, write
it in the book
of the chronicles as
a scribe feverish before
his king, brazen, Babylonian


when we go what
happens to everything we
know, questioning a weakening
in the knees, a
fevering with blisters lips
bent on kissing strangers
after kneeling revelling in
revealing with a tongue
to tangle grammar what
colour glittering song drips
and lingers long after
all comfort of language
diminishes, this never disappears,


this ivory of smiling
pixels against obsidian mirrors
of screens volcanic milk
spilling white-wet sweat spelling
explosive messages, portentous omens,
worse splashes of another
version’s worst sins’ bitter
better eaters, opening mouths
of letters out of
blackness from which backlit
limits drove any sentiments
of ever getting close,
revivifying corpses of coming


meaning, since every syllable
is a blown load
licked into puddles where
words foam and coagulate
to form brilliance only
such depravity as this
experience performed by an
idiot upon the desiring
body of a genius
can ensure others will
ignore and tempt with
threatened erasure until after
our funerals, when dignity


swoops to return laurels
in which nested misperceptions
phœnixes restless as they
were relentless burned in
crucibles of unutterable scorn,
feathers warmed by such
utter contempt for another’s
world that to whisper
it into existence again
blemishes throats with scorch,
implores poetry is deathless
art, the wisdom of
which is that death


comes no matter what,
only poetry remembers to
live since memory itself
is a gift which
privileges poets to have
for a moment some
owing of past futures
foregoing no one among
them will ever be
owning, indebted, in bed
with borrowed touch, so
that those going forward
craving a knowing of


what will come for
them can be read
and heard in what
words came before them,
visions through fictions filtered
just enough, imagined crimes’
convictions to get my
pearls clutched, my rocks
off, touching two thumbprints
against one set of
numb lips pressed, sealed
in cruciform blush this
messianic secret of ours


the sacred absurdity of
our profane love hushed
up, things unsaid become
things unsayable, fucked, to
add new flesh on
long bones, crushed, to
fold into cushions threads
of tales gone no
one mentions but let
blur like some worn
out song, flushed, water
wearing a cauldron like
a collar of black


leather jacketing around a
throat of gurgling fire
choirs incensed as a
spider climbing smoke, tendrils
going out of their
way to embrace legs
they choke, enraged you
know my alphabet displaces
apocalyptic operas, makes operational
operatics less gothic devastation
than dissipation, arias choosing
what to abandon, sings
the most well-composed mess,


abusive to my Self
and men, expect more
pain than pleasure when
we get together and
give in to giving
either to each other,
resist our wrong-writing’s droning
undertone has always been
loveless sex, bodies pressed
like scratches in the
wax, their weakening song
intersects with references fetishists
more than fanatics undress


and dissect, request, California
as the backdrop sweats
in on the joke
bicoastal coral vocals drowning
us in our choke,
hold close those language
takes over, makes more
difficult the persona pissing
off the photographers who
fight for the right
to iconograph me with
their technology, spies, I’ll
teach you to keep


pride in humiliating times
by giving a fuck
about something more enduring
than a cigarette, light
in the youth of
my grief, both irrigating
scorched earth with tears
of verse, our teeth
blackened by candied violets,
purges the way smoke
carries prayers, toward a
sight in hollowed eyes
of what fills them


when nothing’s there, it’s
not what you did
for the culture, it’s
what the culture did
to you, abused to
honour what impulse made
me first want to
write, not to cite
influences but influence those
combing my lines to
identify what sources they
think I hide, amplified
shaman for the tribe.