Stephen Todd Booker

A Heresy Sublime
August 9, 2014 Booker Stephen Todd

A Heresy Sublime


An artist whom I’ve met is Dürer,

Whose hands are oh-so busy,

In a word, beaverish.  Poemed,


He gnaws himself to splinters,

Though I have it on good authority,

Saintly Jerome materialized there


Before his dim gaze, sat for portraiture

While also astride a crisp log in Tartarus,

And at that very moment still wanted


For company, to see them reincarnated,

Roasting (peace, to him, eternal anathema).

The sorcerer was of course immortalized.


He became a religion.  But Dürer is yet

Beyond confessing to biting his nails

And saving them to blissfully eat alone.


Weep, weep, for the famished who have

No hands, Dürer teaches; for prayerful hands,

Fettered in cuffs, even with chains broken


Upon wheels inside of wheels of slavers

Rolling like sizzling bacon, are doomed,

Smokes a pack a day of fake faith healers,


Reclining at poolside with St. Jerome—

Boys in virginal white thongs, their angels.

Angels’ feathered wings are what, synthetic?


—Made like Purgatory, eraseable?—

Like Mithra’s birthday, not to be discussed?

Immortality, you deserve a rest.

Stephen Todd Booker, born in 1953is originally from Brooklyn, and has spent 38 years in prison, 34 on Death Row in Florida, where he started writing poetry. His work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, most recently in the new renaissance, Mudlark, andWatershed. He’s the author of four collections: Waves and License (Greenfield Review Press); Tug (Wesleyan U. Press); & Swiftly, Deeper (Mandrake Poetry Press).  THE REHARKENING is his new book from Black Mountain Press, published this past spring (2014).