Jacob and Esau

Jacob and Esau / Thomas Barton

I burnt my inheritance
with the men of Athens.
I neither mourned nor wept.
I turned the flames, stirred
the embers and watched
until parchment succumbed
to char and smoke.

The voice which called and
sought its answer
raged on
to something more.

I did not dance
as in the past
singing to the blaze,
and neither mourned
nor wept
as all at last
was finally stripped away.

Naked in city street
it crept, the first
fingerings of doubt.
My tongue knotted
cloven to mouth,
bereft of all knowledge
it once possessed.

I walked my back
a pillar straight,
man without a home,
past old temples
now empty at dawn,
the voices once raised
in ecstasy, whispered,
catacomb led.

A priestess bare upon
the altar
awaits the offered coin,
as all now left to her
revealed as leprous,
and the rite crumbles
from the page.

The old gods in our minds
await, still, the redemption
they refused,
and name themselves
beyond dishonor:
complex, symptom, delirium,
archetype, fantasy, and myth.
Their lost supplicants now
rest upon the therapist’s
couch, devotees
straight-jacketed insane, as
we hoard the light
within the light,
never to be shone nor shed.

I burnt my inheritance
with the men of Athens,
my gift this broken bread,
this poured out wine,
this moan of voice.
Mysteries not lost
but transfigured. Held
before the blinded eyes
of those who seek to
understand. The flesh
once naked
rests now clothed, stained
and held by glass.

The broken corpse
upon the Cross, the
nymph still hid
within the grove,
they both call
and tare and beg
and rend
and call to choice
each trembling hand,
towards curves revealed
or truth laid black
in the folds of the celebrant’s

I hold onto whispers,
etymologies of atonement,
the Song of Songs and
a woman
clothed with the sun.
Her image draped in
stars and heaven
leads the blood along
to all the beyond which
lies in keeping
for the denial of flesh
and its crippled scores.
To look and seek beyond
our wanting
and all the venereal wish
which came before.

I burnt my inheritance
with the men of Athens
but I did not weep. And
if flesh must die to flesh
then let me prepare its
grave, here and now,
upon this bed
where the body breaks.
This bed of scarlet
now washed white,
where offering once
was made. This bed,
this bed,
bought with a price,
where life now seeks
a way.

Where life now seeks
a way.

Jacob and Esau: Copyright 2022 byThomas Barton. All rights reserved.

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