If You Can’t Do It, Allegorize


Saint Methodius, 3rd century bishop-martyr,
used metaphors of spiritual ejaculation
of divine sperm, suggesting even, the pregnancy
of a trans-gendered Saint Paul, after his spiritual
homosexual copulation with Jesus Christ.
Imagine a gathering where eros is discussed,
not a party of men, as in Plato, but virgins,
extolling in turn all the virtues of chastity,
and ending by singing a hymn to continence.
First Theophilia crooning about male orgasm,
and then Thalia bursting into song over God’s
penetrating, annihilating phallus. A third
un-named one, whispering about signs too deep for words.


This poem is from a manuscript, 13(13X13)13, which consists of 169 sections, each section 13 lines of 13 syllables.


* * *


Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, Crab Orchard Review, American Poetry Review, Atticus Review, Harvard Review, and many others. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, Living in the Candy Store, and Braids & Other Sestinas. He teaches philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Owens College in Ohio and serves as fiction editor for Artful Dodge.



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