(the saint known as paul)

seeing as how the culture wars are fulminating, i figure i might as well jump into the fray (not that i haven’t been there all along) … this particular period of battles seems defined on one side by the passion of the christ and on the other by the explosion of gay marriages … so for some reason i thought of this poem … one source of inspiration was a trip to greece, but the other is lost in the increasingly shady areas of my memory: a well-argued theory that st. paul was gay … wish i could recall the actual source, but, at any rate, this is what it inspired …

i look back from eternity
and wonder
at the hatred made manifest
in his name
at the horror done in mine

alive back then
in a body prison
the morality seemed so clear
i was blinded by the light
struck down with revelation
fortified with god’s clarity
the longings for those of my sex
suddenly revealed for the craven wantonness
inherent in the flesh

my mission seemed so true
i changed my name
to mark the moment
of my embarkation
to rout those feelings from myself
and from my world

and so to greece
where the glories of perfect boys
were celebrated in games
of athletic grace and skill
where love
between mentor and his protégé
was sanctioned in custom
and even glory
(further down the pelopennese
the spartans
made an army of lovers
knowing soldiers would fight more fiercely
to show their honor
in the early light of battle
with the passion of their nights
beside them)

oh my secret yearnings
for those hellenic youth
the perfect profiles
the torsos posed for laurels
or the sculptor’s eye

and i
crushed such thoughts within myself
and eventually
within the world beyond then known

i hoped to spread
a legacy of love
“for if i speak
with the tongues of angels”
the proper kind
not those primal feelings
those stirrings down below
sent from satan’s realm
to overwhelm

and here
beyond eternity
my misguided probity
seems so pointless
the crushing of that proud culture
by my self-loathing
an act of hatred
disguised in words
espousing love

at least there was the fame
the many priests
who shout my name
but still
i now would trade
the immortality i made
for the murky
mortal joys
promised by
those grecian boys

posted by admin on March 1, 2004, at 1:00 am | filed under poetry | no comments »

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