In a bordello in Burgundy, I finally find god.
Mary Magdalene, would you believe, painted
by some dead French painter in some
dead French dialect. Forgiveness won’t cut
it tonight so I pray for happiness instead—
that sweet-licked fruit which makes rivers
part and delivers me from the evil I so
desperately seek. I saw an old, faded poster
of Bardot in an unhip Parisienne street.
Wept for over an hour, soul knelt in front
of it, palms folded like an expectant child,
lips pursed in some ancient prayer. Now you
can draw blood or you can draw wine,
truth is, in the thick of things, they both
taste pretty much the same. I taste song
in the air, just as well, songs of desire
and faith and learning to spell departure
in a few different ways. In the portrait, Mary
feels alive—bereft of sanctity, sans Jesus,
freed from the weight of a gnawing memoir.
The song prospers again, filling my throat
with the truth that no loneliness is the same
as my loneliness. Kiss me with wine.
Repeat desire as an incantation. Affirm
faith at the altar of a haunting gouache.
You mouth your prayers and step into
the starriness of a Van Gogh night.
The title is from ‘Hallelujah’, written by Leonard Cohen
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