“He had written about the way newspaper used to be, and the way organized crime in Philadelphia used to be, before somebody put a shotgun in Angelo Bruno’s ear and blew away all the order and dignity and discipline organized crime had. That was when the drugs came into it—the old man never allowed it—and the next thing you knew, motorcycle gangs and guys like Charlie Piscoli were doing family business.” –Pete Dexter, God’s Pocket
What I was saying
was the cold is more our friend
The cold preserves what we are
where the fire destroys—
no, not destroys, transforms—us.
You said, for the third time,
that we had been preserved
for too long, It has been years,
you said, eons, even. Transformation
would be a joy. Even reformation
would be welcome. Would be preferable
And you did it again, sold your autobiography to Golgotha Press
for a quarter-mil and royalties,
nailed yourself up for the world
to see. And when the review
came out, exposing
the pieces you’d conveniently woven
from motley fabric and skin thread,
you laughed and reveled
in the increased sales.
When they came to look at you,
naked and scourged,
when they paid the $18.95 admission charge
and gawked upon your red nudity,
you smiled and posed for pictures.
It wasn’t until later
that you felt the freeze begin
and work its inevitable way
through your extremities.
From your cross
you can only watch
as I set fire
to my robes.