from A Dearth of Prose

The rosary week licked beads off celibate forehead,
compounded with Tetzel's black grace
and Mary's intercession;
and a litany of angelic tongues unknown
left Pimm a stone's throw from the Rock
whom democracy hailed Vicar on March Thirteenth.
A Year of Mercy and smiles drank dry
the panacea of Christ's recurring sacrifice,
and the engaged cross is a vacant shrine.
Every shoe in Rome pontificates
the Argentine father,
and the lowly Catholic blesses
a mass of Roman souls;
fecundates a vial for the vile.

Tomorrow's perambulation halted in the eye
of Wall Street cross Vatican Drive
where a cabbie named Brandy Scotch
plays zebra on the crossing
with Pimm's skull and a yellow scythe.
Taxi! Taxi!
Yellow horns and beetlebug blues
the windscreen song of a failed matador.
Whiskied away in a 60mph divine unction,
Pimm's will in screen glass bent
to gamble all on Council Trent.

January in pyjamas, and February's ward
troubles the visage of the Lord
where St. Paul dares to all-defile
the white raiment
and sell the virgin papacy
at every corner
so every Silas
shuns the Roman visitation
and comes alone to God.

The freckled frame of Silas free from jail
spends its blistered remains in the shadow
of an empty cross.
Pimm and proper parsonage
of a small adult orphanage
of Roman Catholic arsonage,
invisible the image.
The Sunday wine shatters Pimm's ashtoreth
and snaps the papal grief with one small
wafer moon.
Transsubstantiation only of stone heart with flesh,
and Rosary tears with sweet wine.
There is no dead Christ here.
And Mark briefs the Romans
on Luke's doctorate of
Matthew's Jewish discourse
on the disciple Jesus loved.
The stale fundamentals
by next door eschewed,
but Pimm's tiny spire
from Petra hewed.

Glass is a fragment of crystalling vein
that bleeds yellow, blue, and red in the light
of vicarage windows that disdain
cardinal acquisitions, and, fast holding to Romans,
diffuse each specter of gospel by blood
signed in submission to the pyre:
and there, remaining true to the Word,
in death perform God's iconoclasm
of the heart's Pieta
which has elevated another mediator
above the limp Christ;
and in the windscreen fragment of an automobile
has God sanctified once and for all
dead men by the wry hand of Providence.

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