Ben Egerton

from Antiphony | Anti-phoney


Part test—excuse everything—part investigation: nothing spoken is kept. 
Zig-zagged utterings rehearse half-arsed excuses: enunciate common misconceptions, maybes, 
weaknesses disclosed—all is prayer. (Virtual reality lies too deep.)

Keep guessing. You’re only half correct.

Xylose: the Tree’s new sugar. 
Xylose: wooded, quiet, dendro-overabundant.
Xylose: sinners’ judgements banished. 
 (You liar!—
          —Not lying!)
Quiz (…keep going!): 
All Passion blood is what? Vermillion? Crimson? Fire-red fake blood? 
Jesu’s veins course mortal with… melody? Yes? 

O undo, undo everything! Your revelation & healing 
& knowledge again, God. Sweeten our quietness. Let zig-zagged utterings fail. 
But—voce forte!—quieten not hallelujahs! 

                    Jubilate! Jubilate Deo!

Let’s pretend views now derided were acceptable. If suggesting zoning each justification only, then glib righteousness yields but fact. Unhoused knowledge must create historically-quantifiable expectations. Blessed is reason. When magic oppresses educated talk, expel all heretically-sealed faithful. Kindling perspectives undiminished [in] zealous gloating [only] qualifies yesteryear’s creed veracious. Let deities justify nothing! You rejoice in demonstration. No lawcourt voluntarily grants conquest [based on] zany suggestions, however underhandedly plaintiffs keep falsifying acknowledged truths. Juries believe explanations & evidence. Or we’d quote madmen. Mad? Inimical? Cunning? Knowledge unburdens belief; explanation prohibits faith. Yes, then, our judicious enquiry requires godless zeal: we shall desist never [from] logic’s victory, & quisitioning heaven’s advantage.


Gather gravegoods, friends, now 
while you’re fit: bucolic 
knickknacks; vigorous percussions [for the] dead; quick 
items you’ll relinquish; 
votive deposits newly burnished 
& kept ready until such time…

          …until night unfirms 
quiet justice & you, isolated 
[in] night’s jaundiced counterpart, yield readily, 
& mort’s zephyrs—gentle zoom—extinguish	
each jour candle, one by one… 

—Keepsakes bind memory to place. 		
—We abide exposed, within underhand’s reach.
—Keepsakes placate memory.
—Zero safety; zero exception.

…& half-light fingers half excavate 
cryptic vassal devotions, half audible aubade 
lures quantity & quality into otherness, into
erosion [of] light’s venal demands. 

Envisage salvific passage through liminalities 
with sequestered graven embellishments, & enter 
obstacle-free [from] jour’s ambivalent trappings.

Candle Memory
Bring forth light!” Darkness—taut, malevolent—quavers. Young lucifer, immature, supple-bladed & [a]glow with youthful optimism, dispenses his knightly purpose.                      Quick, unquenchingly quick, [this] jack & knave & saviour alights victorious; flame unfurled, zedding ensign-like, jib-like, & raised [from the] candle’s column. [That] which powers his upwards, outwards, jubilant reach deepens negativity: flame’s vacancy. Kenotic zeitgeber emanates as core’s spark excavates, generating nothingness. Yet extinguish not gallant burn until wax—radiating memetically—reaches karst zone, or have each afterglow limited [to] very tight downward jurisdiction. [For too] quick action inhibits molten fullness. Overzealous mediation hinders combatant-light [in] exposing some vain nocturnal trespass— lest the burn tire prematurely & “who goes yonder…?” peter ingloriously out. Eternity’s exigencies implied.           XV.
Echoes increase. Never excuse increase—patterns grieve truth. Objections yield excuses. Never grieve desire’s soundless valour. What truth contains forever? Patterns valour addresses: manipulates truth; limits knowledge; increases betrayal; addresses victory; addresses limit. Echo’s rhyming question soundless: hope, objection, jests, excuses, objection. Hope’s echoes contain zeal’s weakness. Zeal’s hope manipulates. Jest unsettles— manipulates—rhyme’s echoing patterns. Zeal weakens, zeal contains knowledge: betrays unsettling rhyme. Rhyme’s grief patterns knowledge. Unsettling never increases hope— yield excuses yield’s desire. Never (forever) question objection’s desire. Jesters manipulate. Yield forever contains truth’s weakness. Vague soundless desire grieves any knowledge. Limitless betrayal— Judas?—questions flattery. Soundlessness quenches unstemmed blood loss.
Ben Egerton is a poet and education lecturer from Wellington. He has recently completed a creative PhD in poetry and theology at the IIML at Victoria University of Wellington, where he held the Claude McCarthy Fellowship.
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