No Shadow to Throw

My hour is almost come
When I to sulph’rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.

Alas, poor ghost!

Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.

Speak, I am bound to hear.


I am thy father’s spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away.


As a tongue leeching a sea to a desert,
          black against the night tilts thick whispers

effervescent as fingers of spilled crystal
          scattering their shatter, dust of crushed

pearl stitching laughter through seams of blackened glass
          a joke silvers, a mirrored jester

this mere gesture inhabits mimics vivid
          disaster, picturing better its

detachment from what happened, this accident
          of perspective becoming instead


what matters, inactive until an act of
          contrition captured in a vacuum

where exhaled prayer gathers catches flame breathing
          æther, however asked for, how this

miracle of purpled inertia turned to
          ruinous bruises of confusing

answer transfers what apocalypses thoughts
          project onto a fight to find my

choir, this blind comedy of melancholy
          deaf to its lies’ Sisyphusical


attraction obviating black centuries,
          that humour of the disposessed which

appeals to us as what appears to save us
          in those blown moments of cold stone when,

with no shadow to throw, as though through fractured
          windows of stained glass light breaking out

enacts our faith’s aching emancipation,
          this taking of risk making my heart

break from its addiction to being taken
          being shaken while no longer faking


an incrœdipal Freudian agony,
          beneath commodified bawdiness

more provocative to not talk of it
          left unarticulated only

gives artfulness to my darknesses many
          painters of this face have artificed,

not feeling like the sex symbol I perceive
          my Self to seem, every father

these lips kiss another authorless cipher
          for him whose legacy never sleeps.

1William Shakespeare, Ghost of Hamlet, the late King of Denmark, to his son, Prince Hamlet, son of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude, in Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 4–10, 13–17 of Hamlet: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in William Shakespeare: The Complete Works: Compact Edition: General Editors Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor: Editors Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, John Jowett, and William Montgomery: With Introductions by Stanley Wells, published at Oxford by Clarendon Press in 1989; page 661.