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.
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
whereby the Ghost, for intercession
shall cast down the Queen of Heaven.
The freckled frame of Silas free from jail
spends its blistered remains in the shadow
of an empty cross.
Invisible the Image,
the Sunday wine shatters Pimm's ashtoreth
and snaps the papal grief with one small
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.
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.