A Rebours by Adam Steiner

Logic’s brusque abrasion
Wears away at beauty’s gaze
Naturalised terrors,
The suspected sublime
Idle on,
A crept-for smile.

Afternoon regress is swallowed up
by guarded swoon
The penile colony
Who dwell in spite
And suspended applause.

Sham pain bubbling over
Deeper platitudes and acidic smiles
If only they could see themselves
The harrowed discontents
Eagerly satisfied.

But still my flesh is yours
To swim deep
Against other tides
Between brutish waves
Of jealous tongue
To our cradled cave of scapula.

Each thing must be made to look unlike itself
Love comes second best
Better the neglected shadow lies
Struck at spare agony
A pose that cannot last.

Each death-bent motion
Must stake its claim
Or be lost in secession
To withered layers’ slow reveal
The inevitable sagging frame.

Cheekbone worn to rust
With deeper age
Blow upon a bruise
Where sensation is diffused
What is forgotten must fade.

Another cruel inflection
Parity loss by some indifferent caress
How was I to tell?
Rolled shoulder unwinds
Without redress
An indelible mark is made
It can only unmake itself.

Lapsed into easy stain
Beyond bone it scrapes
Our surface spent
Uncovers the sleep of deep decay.

Adam Steiner writes about the NHS, the British condition and death of affect. His poetry and stories appear in The Literateur, Nostrovia! SquawkBack, Black Wire, NOUS, Erotic Review, 3:AM and The Cadaverine, also The Dance Is New, Poems Underwater and Stepaway – Voicewalks anthologies. He is Deputy Editor of Here Comes Everyone magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @BurndtOutWard

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