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Tonight, I have no heart for facts,
No wit to tout unto the King
(Dull-witted, sprawled beneath his fans),
The famines of my mind that spring.

Tonight, the leanest beggar's drought
Of dreams could well transfix the land
Beneath the stars, yet markets blaze
With attar lamps that beg, misbrand.

I hear the clerks close for the night--
Down there, watched by their scrolls and vials,
By fly-loud lanterns, grating throats
Of perfect lust and twisted smiles.

Why mock? Are not the vaults brass-bright,
Gnomes loitering the jeweled hall,
And schooling priests their modes of wit?
'Tis only there, beyond the wall,

Good jails will house the jailor starved,
That life will file the lion's teeth,
Gold tumblers fade on shelves of years
Till traded for surrender's wreath.

There, cronies squat, would lisp me more
Of love, and of true worth, in their
Rags stained of all life's colors, more
Than I have guts to rightly bear.

How long shall fools as we yet thrive,
Who from our counting-house of days
Do dalliance with brothel night,
Perfecting lies but shame allays?

The world cries rape at us who leer,
Oh, from behind our lives rehearsed
Before clay gods: men who first mock,
Then empty wholly from our purse

The bloody coins torn flesh gives up
To limn our graves against the rust
God-granted, shared by each but we
Who wear to ruin the painted trust!

(c) 10-11-96 Charles Sielert