Palm Sunday, 2019
Down North End Road, the palmers process.
A straggler messily gelds his mule
Having heard the new podcast from Pope Emeritus.
One questions the celibate’s rationale
For stockpiling box after box of blue pill
In his memory palace, la flèche de Notre-Dame.
Now his pilos caps an ashtray’s wool
And orderlies storm a basement studio in Rome.
We had his word, the canard of the Lord,
To help us discern whether dox-deserving bodies
Feed on gaslight. They shall have their reward.
Black holes blush when photographed nude.
Duck-faced, the serio-comical sermon
Goes the way of confidence art on
A Holy Week spree of Menippean arson.
Heat without light. Gravity and all
Attraction tragedy after the Fall.
Compare the conflagration on Ludgate Hill.
Carnival sick still glazes the cobbles
The one-time primate sits on, leading a vigil.
Millennial furies ignoring their phones
Shrive the stones and feed forward fire,
Transfiguring power with generous genius,
By desire if not by water.
Trees that seemed burnt from afar reveal
A tender crêpe of foliage.
Everything we wanted is real.
The doubly sterile mule winces when asperged.
Audio: Read by the author.
Terse lately, outraged by the least work of mercy
And WebMD won’t tell me why
Digital pleasures intensify pollice verso.
Proprietary sauce, I guess, responsa Sibyllae
The paywall crops. Ira se occidit,
Opines a columnist I quote as paramedics swarm,
But to motivate or manumit? Palliate
And monitor a ludic pulse. First do no harm.
The doctor checks her watch against her phone,
An action that, like yawning, I mirror,
Having crossed a perceptual zone
Where saeculum rules through soft terror,
Non-zero-sum, with a turn of the fist,
Downvote endlessly deferred.
As yet, no response to an ancient post
On the era-dysphoria comments board:
Is Life a transcendental?
Hospital whites and postmature gray
Darkened by the shadow of an eagle
When assisted dying finally comes to Cumae.
Steven Toussaint is the author of the poetry collections The Bellfounder (The Cultural Society) and Lay Studies (Victoria). He is currently pursuing graduate study in theology at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.