Concerning the Delay of My Self-Immolation

prometheus1994-elsierussell
Concerning the Delay of My Self-Immolation

“Ich kenne nichts Ärmeres
Unter der Sonn’, als euch Götter!
_______________~ J. W. von Goethe’s “Prometheus”

when i sacrifice myself
as a gift to my fellow humans
i promise it will be for nothing
so hackneyed as to protest
some hypoxic septuagenarian
hunched on a mountaintop
mistaking every garish tendril
to wisp from his head
for a well-honed lightning bolt

not that i imagine
there’s any portion of my no-longer-
combustible flesh i might set
upon the balance    that could be
tendered for passage to Elysium

but you can believe i’d pluck my own eyes
from their conceding sockets    send
the fabrics from my padded scaffold back
to China    & traipse forever    a blind
naked-as-a-mole-rat gnome in the garden of
unscented flowers    if the stygian prophecies
were to divine any semblance of purpose
in chaining my corpse to the cliff face

& though these desiccating seasons
have yet to assemble
me into fuel for Helios’ pyre
if ever my splitting spurs should cease
to cry out dragon’s blood

i will crescendo
my twilight’s fury on the horizon—

my flames will soar
like an eagle on a Titan’s breath

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

“Concerning the Delay of My Self-Immolation” made its debut appearance in Robert Penick’s fabulous literary journal, Ristau: A Journal of Being, in January 2019. It also appears in my new chapbook, The Death’s-Head’s Testament, scheduled for release in March 2019! Please check out sample poems and early praise for this collection on my Author Page at Main Street Rag, and consider purchasing a copy at the terrific limited-time discount of $6.50! 

I wish I had words to express how much your support of my work means to me. Please just enjoy the poems, and know that I’m immensely grateful!

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8 thoughts on “Concerning the Delay of My Self-Immolation

    • I’ve always admired a sacrificial fire-giver – and the tormenter as well – since I discovered one second-grade trip to the library where my teacher banished the boisterous and obdurate question-answerer whose waving hands still I sometimes show. When I was on Crete, Timbakion Plains at the beach with a battalion landing team of U.S. Marines in 1968, I gazed on faraway Mount Tantalus and noticed either a shadow playing at a cave or a cave hiding behind a shadow and knew I would not be able to summit that peak in my two weeks under millenia-old olive trees…and I was being paid!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Many a pipedream of mine has involved scaling such peaks. Poetry is, perhaps, a pale substitute, but an arthritic, asthmatic, painfully-introverted matron has to make some concessions in this life! In any case, I’m committed to doing what’s possible! 🔥

        Liked by 2 people

      • According to the whip-master who rides behind my left ear, Pain is God’s Way of showing you still are alive, so quitcherbitchin’! But I know, Stephanie, how drama class and even The Marine Corps forcing me to accept sergeant’s stripes can not cure – only masque moderately – a dedicated introvert’s true self. Nay, lady, though I have found other ways to impede my breathing at time – and now religiously walk three miles each unfettered day (and then much more but I get well-paid then in many ways, money being mid-least of the recompense) which helps keep breath at hand. Poetry gives rise to many senses past the few I use but call it not pale or even substitute. Poetry – and reading of it and prose, especially written with a poet’s sense of placement and pacing – is seasoning which insists concessions are best left to bazzars and not us poor beggars (or is that buggers?). My arthritis reminds me too often of late I never should have been so adamantly foolish earlier this life. I had a doctor friend glee to me one beery afternoon that my brush with bronchitis one day would return to bite me on the…” So, to The Matron: keep your concessions small and your written confessions so enthralling.

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  1. Reblogged this on richwrapper and commented:
    A Stephanie L. Harper amazing’s – to quote another amazing writer – tale of feathers and fire and filial love with a sassy rejoinder as lagniappe. Other – and I am sure more famous poets – gnash their pens ‘twixt sorry teeth they did not write this. And would;st mount an expedition to that peak with pick and prybar. Go. Read. This is delicious! I blame Robert Okaji – O at the Edges – for the intruduction. He is marked up for one free felonious activity in but partial repayment thereof. J Richards

    Liked by 2 people

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