Bishop Accountability
  An Invocation
----for Paul Shanley, my abuser

By Arthur Austin

You grew old in my silence, you grew safe.
But my silence did not grow old.
It enfolded your secrets like a chrysalis,
Slow-growing the words and sounds
To summon my freedoms
And the truths I would need to tell.
Your secrets became my voice--
And now I have told them all.
My voice emerges in
Irridescences of loss and knowledge,
From the dark thing you spun
Around me. My voice glows.
Beware of shiny things, old man.
You cannot hurt me anymore.

These are your secrets.
You are the lie in the smiling face.
You are the calculating hard-on
Stiffening behind the gentle questions.
You are the filth of your own mind.
You are every obscene thing
You made me do.
You are garbage.
You are a piece of shit.
You are nothing, nothing.
You are a worthless faggot:
You are all these names
I called myself for 30 years,
When you had breathed on me.

Now, my voice says:
May you die in agony and terror.
May it be long and lingering.
May you be alone.
May you be haunted by the faces of each one of us
You conjured and corrupted.
May our sufferings enter you like fire.
May you remember all our names.
May our names close in on you, as fatal as panthers.

I hope your heart explodes.
I hope your veins run with blades of ice.
I hope you scream for my forgiveness
So that I can come bend over you and whisper
I am summoning my freedoms.

Now I am the one breathing the names
And I am naming you.
I blame you with every blame.
You living darkness.
You walking death.
You night terror.
Cemetery gate.
Apothecary of sin.
Eater of souls.
Strangler of hopes.
Poisoner of dreams.
Forger of Christ's signature.
Even my hatred is a mercy too good for you:
Priest !

© Arthur Austin





Original material copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.