Vengeance Performed in Stone


Grimace broken, the poetry in
my mouth bleeds as it leaves, quicksilver
tasting of my mind’s coiled copper an
offer of an idea’s lightning
strikes whenever I open its wire
to the invitation, take part not
in, but of, the competition, make
off with sparks falling from fists of nine
Muses playing at being beyond
Olympian, more Titan than mere
Apollonian daughters kissing
into existence these lyrics my
pen receives in an instance of blind
voyeurism, of seeing in the skull
beneath the skin what innocence sinks
hidden desires to be filthied by
ink into sinful works requiring
as penance singing this act of mine
mimicking contrition, fulfillment,


this feigning of affliction my fame’s
ennui seems only to be, how sick
can I be, really, of being so
privileged as to get paid for this,
filling pages with mistakes, my pain’s
artistry breaking like pottery
teeter-tottering together those
edgy fragments into some flagrant
compilation of fractured urges,
of bone-brittle incomplete records
accounting for desires tendered at
no discernible cost, in getting
off accomplishing what else but this
iconoclassicism’s palimpsest
score, my ire’s vengeance performed in stone,
fluting through hollowed-out bone aching
hieroglyphic inscriptions of blown
victories gotten scot-free, each break’s
imperfection recollecting some


trapped darkness, this untapped transgression
of my overtaxed dynasty, mess
of men ancestral, then, this massive
paternal burden of being such
a beast of a Borden only some
strangers want to meet, braving night boats
wandering seas with dead seeking shores
where each might finally greet sleep, breathe
reeking inklings of breathy T. B.
query, too bold retching request, cough
interrogative infectious as
‘How would you like to be treated, treat
me as a king would treat another
king,’ no monuments but our thrown bones
remain, after our brief reign blazes
trail, scorches path, memories breath of
water in beads of glass, transference
vampiric as a shadow falling
on a corpse, peace quiet as a grave


strangers disturb making their weight’s way
toward earth footsteps purge of purpose
paying for something we do not keep,
amplifying this complication
of building an illusion we can
live in when finally, maybe, I
think before I can believe I found
a smile in my tragedy, seed takes,
perceiving if you talk about, then
you become closer to it, death’s truth
corrosive, its blue’s bombing salve, loss
itself, moves, is the most inclusive
devastation to ever happen
to us, balmy psalm chalk following
the sun settling into night, bedsheets
connecting the tissue of swallowed
work the way solitude blooms fugue through
ruin to consume what space silence
begs ash of bridges burned to replace.