Why don’t you cover me with words?
Write ‘BEGIN’ on my forehead
as a message to the mirror, to my kindred
and my punishers –
I am ready.
I can imagine ‘A-G-O-N-Y’
across the knuckles of my left hand,
‘E-C-S-T-A’ across the knuckles of my right
(ecstasy is always truncated). The ‘S’
delayed on to my left buttock
and the ‘Y’ given to my right,
so that at a time of my choosing, you,
while clasping my right hand behind me,
will see me abandoned
Write ‘SOUL’ somewhere on my body,
‘BODY’ somewhere on my soul…
‘COMPASS’ along my cock,
making preparations for compassion,
because desire remains
to be navigated
(our body of water).
What will you scrawl across my eyes?
Ciphers? Coordinates? Keys?
Will I ever be able to read them?
What should the inscriptions say
inside my ear –
that you could not say there?
Previous versions of this poem were published in Unusual Work #4, November 2006 (in 'abridged' form), and in POAM #309, April 2007.
You can hear a performance of this poem at the beginning of this radio interview (which is available for download as an mp3).