Michael Tod Edgerton


Vitreous Hide (Orpheus Struck with Narcissus Struck with the Face of a Beautiful Boy)






sees him he burns his eyes in secret follow him beneath
his breath he sings to him he clings the more he follows
burns the more his body suffers to touch his bones to
powder suffer over his floor strewn with voice stains
flesh stains stone with flesh only now voice now only
mourning stirs the dust











The other is impenetrable          intractable

not to be


     no boy no girl can touch him how to touch









there are others others there are others she raises her
hands up Show his own loss to his face! there it hisses
through silver water shining glass no beak no snout no
falling thing has ever troubled it thirsts inside him inside
unfathomed another an Other grows









Here, then, at least
is the definition of the
image         any image

: that from which I am



two serpents in the green woods each struck one
                                                    from the other










before there was air without light substance forever
changing forever war within a single body heat fought
with cold wet fought with dry the hard the soft things
weighted against weightless things










To expend oneself          to bestir

for an impenetrable object is pure



in whose confusion discordant atoms warred








he lifts his own arms bares his chest unbodied hope to
body forth the water’s silver’s shadow face that other
face in shadow grows the surface must found substance
must find form that matters look that fascinates the eyes
that open his arms his lips are nowhere to be found
don’t turn to open toward the boy the girl you love you
take the one you love you turn








one becomes divinity
one amorous divinity

One flower falls

under such weight

light withers


       catches fire when other fire draws near










away substance any reflection only shadow comes with
you stays with you stretches on the grass in shadow he
watches from his watching has it emerged unmoors look
see it it sees







Path of want a want
on the way want

Path wanting
Love a path without

Unless immediate
sight          scattered

Look at me           place me
you never place me           look
from the place
I never see never you


                        struck them one from the other










seek any substance any place where lovers hide how
many shadows have cried broken to the trees Narcissus
cries See him how to touch him sight escape me Tiresias
Twinned Shade of Hope tell me








The other          his opacity
is not the screen
round a secret           I am then

seized with that
exaltation of loving someone unknown

Isn’t knowing someone precisely
knowing his desire


Tiresias answered: he must not know himself he must
                                             not turn back his gaze or
                                                  the gift will be in vain










tongue sharper bleeds this mouth of substance almost nothing
almost keeps us us apart my richest need my riches need me
poor escape my body take him with me to conceive my body


















away any substance any shadow turn away no vision can be
gazed beyond he gazes beyond the possible his eye
resolves to gaze resolves to reach now only reaching
only reach


















jealousies          anxieties           possessions

discourses         appetites          signs

everywhere       desire               burning


It was as if I were trying to embrace one
last time

someone about to die         someone for whom

I was about to die
















body          becoming
of bodies          a name
name          of the becoming
of bodies          in love

out of the void of love


Before ocean
Before earth
Before heaven

Air without light

















And when they seek

the body         the body there is

only that          that only

amber shaft          ambering

Now all their skin








* [Sources for “Vitreous Hide…” include: Rodolphe Humphries' translation of the Metamorphoses; Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse; Plotinus' Enneads; Julia Kristeva's Tales of Love; Jacques Lacan's Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis; and Alain Badiou's “What Is Love?”]