An Elul Lie

Elul.

Twenty grinning bosses
frocked and leering
come to tame you
with horns of Gabriel
blowing incantations
you first heard fall
like silver neutron hatchets
from your mother’s mouth
to pin your heart to the cracked timbers
of your cage.

They know naught
of the power
you peel
from the night
hidden from all eyes.

They plant you in a classroom
and appoint two lieutenants
to shovel truths into your mind
but these holy men,
masters of the word,
have never met you
in the alley
where men cut out their tongues,
use them as blindfolds,
and choke on each other’s fingers
for the joy
of never being told
to stop.

They ply you
in the drink
day and night,
the burning pool against your nakedness,
the fire holding up
the wall of your liver,
but you do not move.
You were there when first the waters split,
indeed, it was your request,
and their pale descendants
cannot compel you.

As the days pass
you shall wind your way through
meta-calamity
and malformed malignancy
and they shall call it self-destruction
and that shall make it all the sweeter.
Let them recite their psalm over your grave;
you shall live all the more.

If they wanted you to love
they should have admired
your cities
and if they wanted you to fear
they should have held
with gentle gloved fingers
the musket ball
that hangs in your chest
touching the tilt ring
that has shuttered
your eyes.

The day of judgement comes
when you will hold them in contempt,
stampede into yourself,
and forget this poem.