Silences/XVI

O children of the prisonhouse, where in boxes
singular, they scurry like blinded rats
bumping into each other’s labyrinth of lust:
They who beat the gates take the prize—but what?
How pronounce love’s phonology of crime?
Gestures of emperors & clowns—letters, kisses, Asti—
are but Sicilian gambits to checkmate, zugswang—
O resolute lovers who seek each other’s arms
in circular rooms that reek of roses, shit & skulls
& from troubled sleep return to their loosening grip—
White, sweet sheets pulled close to the armpits
Marlboro, half-burnt, trembling the mindbeat
reconnaissance of pleasure & pain, distance & distress
the garden closing as they soundlessly weep—
O children of the prisonhouse, where in boxes
singular, they scurry like blinded rats
zapped out by passions of time & circumstance
this love that defines itself in the ticking of the clock.

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