11-8 Altar Ego

(The spelling is not a typo.)

Altar Ego


“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze!”

—Luke 12:49


And the people bowed and prayed

To the Ego gods they made


The idol of I grins in the temple of Self,

Paces on the altar and parades through halls of mirrors,

shaded by shadows, and sunning in lies.


Who meanders behind this façade of skin?

This veneer of muscles? This edifice of licensures

displayed like phylacteries on I’s office wall?


I’s stack of poems—icons of metaphor—

worth their weight in dusty, narcissistic lore.


And the people bowed and prayed

To the Ego gods they made


.           .


I clean the temple, smash the altar,

sweep the floor, scrub surfaces

and bask in empty, tidy order.


The temple abhors a vacuum.

The temple commands a shrine.


A shadow returns, shining light

with seven more, and erects the altar.

I sits on the right hand of Self,

surrounded kingdoms of diorama.


.           .


Ignite I’s temple with fire.

Volcanic breath. Pyroclastic purge.

Pitch stars through the roof.

Incinerate the altar.

Scorch all shades and shadows.

A white flag raises from I’s hand

And sweeps ash from my eyes.

A cosmic wind blasts all outside—

wisps and fragments of I.


You come in and consume me.