George Frideric Handel: Messiah, HWV 56. Autograph manuscript; British Library

the good, the glory, the gory, rules
the kingdoms of childhood, authored
using cabals of voices that won’t break,
as Zion’s raisons d’être are held up by props
in all their plasticity & fleshiness

testosterone’d eyes wetten with arias
operating on the commandments
of his works, while the temptations of who
to convert to which other
sect of love (?)
is a dilemma or libretto
dreamed up for the redemption of combative windpipes
of orphan souls a few scenes away
from lyrics made from precious metals & thunderbolts
shown off as idols of the feelings
sung by barbarians among us, backed
by masterpiece organs imperfectly tempered
to drown out archons declaiming in narcissism’s dead language
in theaters whose acoustics are re-carved onstage
into performing blood-cousins of the marionettes,
backed by woodwinds

practicing Hanseatic tremolos by heart
grounded in Mosaic continuo, sciatic burdens,
& doctoral oratory of Luther:
heard along with hautbois trying to articulate empathy,
later viol’d in prophetic solo over freakshow violence

an irreproachable chorus negotiates
an alto/countertenor rapprochement
approaching perilous unison
militating neither for nor against burgher goals

oligarchic autistics are undermined by tickles
of the rebel sex, guilt
is a castrato singing nature’s tyranny
that caresses fragile minds with
long-limbed spectacular whims

war is the craziest unreciprocated unprovoked loves,
pagany sacrifices everything but fear
to danceable moods of the western modes

wigged Atlantis is deistically resurrected
from the hairless busts of emperors
whose wives were turned into wine,
whose subjects were turned into stones
as if music like a martyr still half-sensual
could actually begin to roll them away?
to their place on the risers,
dying vicariously for a second,
mating with melodies undressing their part

protestant & catholic demilitarized by amore,
patrons of raw buffa
(hilarious in dissent against seria tears)
confabulate conspiracies compensating for unrevived plots
while a rosy hidden birthmark of a cross
is ghostwritten into baroque key signatures

despite the father’s denial of the son’s keyboards,
they’re fingered flawlessly in performance
as by an adept Muse prima donna
who was orchestrated in the son
from the time of his first hummed theme:
Seductress of variations of his affections
as they proceeded through capitals & wildernesses
of paternal neediness & sacrifice
(She in accompaniment)
of his groping for or letting go
of lifetimes of scriptured & scriptureless acts & their actors,
as all along, the vision was slowly being rescinded

voice has no object & can’t stop in coloratura
as the sexes are turned outside in
& by another sleight of genesis
in a conjunction costumed as duet
trilling they decompose into their Creator