Pilgrimage

This is such a beautiful city
dove grey and breezy
with stained glass
over the drugstore awnings.
Tanned arms swing
designer purses
orbiting serious girls
as they return from shopping
to hillside rambling flats
built in the Spanish Mission style
heels clicking smart
as retirement planning,
their sunglasses gleaming
each a bit more beguiling
in a tanktop, a tattoo canvas,
a Prada dress that fits like sadness,
their sandaled feet, small sacraments
in strips of leather.
These scented-skin apostles
of a dreamy dogma
I’ve only read in a second-hand book
won’t take notice of a poor pilgrim
wrapped in a castoff cloak,
eyes glassy with gin,
panning for redemption.

I’ve come too late to the altar
and missed the benediction
but there’s a swig of blood left
in the chalice she keeps.
Why shouldn’t it be for me?
So I fumble into the sacristy
and the black habits are there waiting,
like I knew they’d be,
musk-scented and punishing.
I’ll take the licks,
against my gorilla knuckles,
their green-limbed
honesty cracking smart
and my knees go lamb with mint jelly.
Awoken at noon on Sunday
stiff on a slab draped in magenta muslin
to my leper whore
hands in her tangled hair
laughing softly
her red slash mouth
a gaping wound
over broken bones.

Pilgrimage

Nicholas Bond

Brooklyn, United States

  • Artist
    Notes
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