by Jake Street
I was never one for the pomp of church,
though my mother often took me to mass;
I said my amens and hallelujahs
but it always felt a lie,
so crass in my heathen mouth,
my Judas tongue hung
for thirty pieces of silver a kiss.
But I still need confession;
let me tell my acts of broken bedsprings,
my witness, not a priest but a clock;
because time is the only god I see
and it watches me condemned
to pleasure, a phallus my cross
to bear beneath a motel light,
a prophylactic, my shroud of Turin,
the silent desire of men in the darkness –
their whore of Babylon, their temptation.
They don’t see the face in their beds,
only the empty space between
where my thighs lie parted
like the Red sea.
My crime is in the lie
that I fear the touches, hate the holes they use.
I accept the agony of Gethsemane
where away from our commandments
we fuse our bodies, conduits of bread and wine;
this is my body, broken for you.
Jake Street is a London and Lancaster based poet who describes himself as a cynical romantic. He won the Simon Powell prize in 2016 and has been published in Paper Swans’ Press’ ‘Anthology of Young Poets’ and in the 2018 Tower Poets Anthology ‘Hatch a Blue Sky.’ He runs Lancaster University’s Poetry Cafe.