the poet has burnt the pages of his heart

the poet has burnt the pages of his heart
at the stake
his gift did not kill him
in his sleep
he rolls another joint
on the thigh of the abyss
he’s growing thin
in the minds of women everywhere
he chokes without vigour
on the chains in his throat
like all true artists he has the qualities of a leader
like all true thieves he hates the beggar’s war
he has yet to come clean
on the death of a culture
look
he is blind
and barely alive
but able to sense flight and pain

those who hunger for the truth
must fear his powers of deduction
he understands that the game is run
by the manipulation of free will
he long foretold the skinned machines
dying in the cold
he solved the laws of lust and shame
bristling with amulets
he closed the book
on the most elegant
imaginary threats
the karmic veil
did not confound him
while governments devoured the sun
he knows when the slow tears will come
to ruin your mouth forever

perhaps all he needs is a good night’s rest
perhaps he should simply venture out
and save his breath among the poor
he has not forgotten the ways of the flesh
he could enter the fine halls of citizenship
he could hire money
that the banks don’t have
he could kneel behind
the prince of lies
with a blade pressed in his fist
should push somehow come to shove
he could smite the idols of mutiny
he could fear his neighbour
as himself
hoping that his work will last

his absence from the prayers of old
does not mean he’ll haunt the streets
his blood is worn
he means no harm
he will steer clear of you and yours
he only reaps
what light he needs
from the eyes of writing men
he lays no claim to what is lost