Friday, November 11, 2016

The Mirror and the Mask

"Crucifixion 22" © 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

A Song Of Lupus

He smiles at me contemptuously
   from the far side of the mask
      in too much of a hurry
         to receive this coin
            with which I pay him tribute
holding his hand out not to ask
   nor beg
      but simply to shake a resolute

Armoured to the very loin
   like a beast of the apocalypse
      unburdened by the load he bears
his face is the gaunt face
   of a criminal
      eyes and lips
         of a horned serpent
                  impermeable shell

A creature who has made his choices
   his own way
      at the unredeeming crossroads
who knows what he has earned
   what spent
      what he must pay
what lose

For he is now the master of his vices
   just as he has always been
      the master of his virtues

O he will refuse the invisible
      and refute it
denounce the abstract
            (or at least dispute it)
his kingdom crownless
   devoid of subjects
      his empire empirical
a pure phenomenon of Earth
            (only his authority is beyond question)

Sound then the alarum of his birth
   recite the blessing of his majesty
      praise praise his holiness
            on bended knee

Already his hands tense to wield the axe
   he hoists unmercifully
      and raises or lets fall
            according to his whim

(Nor are these mere gestures but acts
   performed remorselessly
         from age to age)

Then do not raise your hand nor call
   There is no stopping him
         The uncoiled serpent has acquired plumage

Already he goes before me
   with his smile of contemptuous glee
      laughing at mere prophecies
impaled on a dead tree

Already he has breached the labyrinth
   of which he is the centre
      already he has closed the door
which only he can enter

Already he has thrown aside the mask
   that wears the images of you and me
      casting his likeness on a silver coin
immaculate incipit for a century

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Copyright © 2016 David Prashker

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The Argaman Press

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