Hadrian and Antinous

A:            My king: you might have kept me, as a bird,

Plumed in Doric gold, in duty caged.

 

H:             My God: whose statued beauty never aged,

Who stirred in all my kingdoms mystery…

 

A:             Our lusts outshone them all, the empire’s sun:

Our love, alas, might threaten history.

Must I drink the pity of the Nile,

To drown us out? To silence everyone?

 

H:             Yet even as you float, a song so silent,

Lily, tender-white, I’ll weep that river

Raw with tears. I’ll keep a God of you,

For my body’s yearning praises to deliver.

 

A:             They’ll worship me no more than morning dew.

 

H:             You are my morning sun. A slave divine,

The boy’s whose body’s temple once was mine.

 

A:             I drown, then: and bow to you, who once was mine.

 

 

Requested by a friend and follower. 

 

 

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No Monsters Left

 

 

What happened in the days once all

The monsters dark had died;

The final dragon fell in fire,

And smote the mountainside?

What’s Evil to the warrior kings,

When Good itself has won?

And in whose glory raise a sword,

Once glory’s war is done?

 

And here I sit, my strength unchecked,

No wanton fear I feel:

No riddle has out-sphinxed me yet.

I have no fragile heel.

Where is my sword of burnished fire?

And where the enemy?

There are no monsters left to make

A hero out of me.

 

Where is the god who whispers inspiration from the sea?

Where is my road: did with the monsters die my destiny?

 

 

 

28th December

 

 

In the living room, the tree now makes darkness:

Around, a loose patina of bulbs, gone black.

It is a sorry thing, this winter break,

Its unfinished edges like a turkey carcass.

 

How dull, the tree that once took pride of place:

The candy-striped delights once underneath

Are now but crumb-trails of a needled earth.

The promise, once realised, leaves only space.

 

An old friend, whom we so wanted to be here,

Invited to stay – but not, I fear, this long.

Time to call it a night perhaps, old thing.

Maybe we’ll see you again, sometime, next year.

 

 

 

Coals

 

I used to long for fire. Golden towers

Rising, recklessly: a fearful height,

Bonfire of the heart, in burning showers,

Cascades of the lust for ravished night.

 

When younger, majesty was all I missed.

But now, I seek for subtlety in fire,

Coals raked, ravaged, burning where we kissed –

Deeper than those dances of desire.

 

The wild fire is fun: I knew it well.

But now I stoke the white heat, molten core

To burn beneath, its own romance to tell:

The tender yearning-out for something more.

 

I brace my slender body to its spell,

Turning over tales of our galore.

 

 

The crazed passions of the fire flicker, dance, and are gone forever. The stoked heat of the coals smoulders on through the night. 

Brother Lucifer

 

 

A thing of beauty is not criminal:

Your only crime was that you knew it well.

Narcissus, mirrorless, sought no ovation.

You looked, reflected in your adoration.

Yours is a different love: a selfish cause.

But humans have no greater love than yours.

I envied you, because you envied them,

More human than the humans you condemn.

You were the wink, the casual epithet

Drawn from a lusting lover’s cigarette,

The sweetest pillow-talk, the softest song;

The morning silence, after all’s gone wrong.

The best among us, brother, evening star:

Bested by the beauty that you bear.

 

 

A request from a German follower of mine. He asked that I write an alternative narrative regarding Lucifer. I decided to write from the heartbroken, yet envious, perspective of his dutiful brother Michael. 

This Itch

This itch, once rouge yet restful ache,

Inflicts me as I writhe awake.

Your welts have risen in their reckless surge.

I lie, insomniac.

 

I long to scratch, yet cannot purge

My writhings of this reckless urge.

My sheets are ropes and chains, my bed a rack,

My red-raw muscles quake.

 

I cannot reach the itch, my back

Is arched as tigers to attack,

Scored by talon-trails you scorned to make:

Your monster to emerge.

 

This sore shall be my saviour, or my scourge:

The itch that sets my very soul to shake.

 

 

Another request from a follower of mine. He wanted something metaphysical, and by George, I gave it. 

Axe

 

We buried the hatchet: as though it never lived,

Cold steel, heart unbeating, in the soil.

 

I nursed in my hand a hurt: a phantom limb,

Its shaft now air. Round tight, my fingers coil.

 

You wanted an unmarked grave. Just let it die.

Lost in worried woods like a missing child.

 

You never did carry it in your hands, as I –

Never felt motherly, furious, in its hold.

 

I wanted a monument over – a weeping angel,

Stuck by chiseled lightning, petrified.

 

You tried to forget, like a passer-by: a stranger.

We buried the hatchet – but I know it never died.