Nobody knows tenderness
like a man to whom it is a stranger.
He knows what he has never felt,
a feeling that eludes him
like the words that unbutton his silence,
the struggle to shed his mind in front of those
who misunderstand him from a far city
founded by the sages of indifference.
The tendrils of his anguish, threaded
by a refusal to play the gallery’s tunes,
bear sweetened fruits on a soil turned
to the blues of animus, a fierceness that roars.
A gentle mystery that spirals from friends
who bleed reds and roses like festering wounds
on the leg of a ghost. The plinths of an agony
for him who knows tenderness like the back of some
roughened palms, for him misbegotten
by the affections of friendly fires.