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Ode to Kelley and Dee


“Here the vulgar eye will see nothing but Obscurity and will despair considerably.”
–John Dee


So your red powder failed
to turn base metals to gold.
In your balls your angels still
capered, ceding a language
vouchsafed few men. And
late at night that must have com-
forted you, as you swapped
wives, and broke through that
tricky seal, the demarcation be-
tween science and godliness.
You prayed, your dreams full of
theurgy, your heads full of squib.
I salute you here, centuries later,
from my lab where I experiment
with my own alchemy, de-
signed to turn man into bard, as
perilous as the marriage of apes.

*  *  *

Barracoon

Don’t play hob with me.
I am not your gull.
Take my hand in your claw
and tell me all the ways
you love me I’ve never
been loved before. It’s
what I need to hear in my
straw at night, when the
bars’ shadows fall across me
like an airplane going down.

*  *  *

Father Cremated

I let the ashes melt on the tongue
inside my heart. He was dead
three days and already
he tasted of paradise. Air, receive
your honored pilot. He
never flew close to the sun but I,
his son also, made wings
from the kindnesses he birthed in me.