1 This is how you will know to mark the young among men, for this is the prayer they pray, again and again. 2 It is these who should be marked and minted into lives worth being spent. 3 These are the words they speak in vain, "Our father who art in us, tradition be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in me as it is in him. Give us this day our lovely sins1—those of youth and innocence. And forgive us our deviance, as we forgive those who differ from us. And lead us not into similarity, but deliver us from the collective. For thine is the prison, and the scorn, aimed at abnormal men."2
1:3 1 7 Lovely Sins, Quintessence 1, New Testament 1:3 2 Hope’s Prayer, Quintessence 43, New Testament
The New TESTAMENT
The Book of Quintessence
1 Behold, these are the sins for which you shall be told to repent and labeled youthful dissidents. Embrace these with passion, for they are your roots.
LUST 2 Words and beats thump and flow through my mind like sex; a primal pulse, an insatiable impulse to untether, unleash and loose myself to this primal pull— it's this bump then grind with a run and slide, I can't decide to which I should surrender: let run through my blood and bones, then tickle nerves ‘till I stop to serve the worthy verse with every pound, inch, thought and thrust, each the embodiment of audio lust.
GLUTTONY 3 Words—knowledge—stuffed into my ears and eyes so I may marinate in ideals: eyes and ears oozing sugary sweet knowledge of the world but not OF the world; all the while I’m secretly scorned or pitied by the pitiful masses who writhe in apathy and cynicism; spew venom at anyone not like them—me—envied and scorned as the embodiment of wide-eyed gluttony.
SLOTH 4 Stuffed with knowledge of consumer's prison might I wisely dodge the yoke and slip into the Soft Slippers of Sloth. Shuffling around as the embodiment of "decaying moral fabric" just to steer clear of the chains. Working to be but not a working being, all the while sucking satisfaction out of life under guise of sloth— not quite tied to the Circle of Lies (the ones about Consumption's Prize—20 to 65 depending on what you buy).
PRIDE 5 I hear: Pride cometh before the fall of high standards. So I decide my standards and I are too young to die— too young and proud to join the crowds with shattered expectations. I think: If pride cometh before the fall— the fall should happen either way but finds in pride its one delay. I pray: for pride to dwell deep inside me. I try to swallow but find it lodged in my stomach, feeding off me; find it has grown past the point where I could shit it out—so full of pride I can't eat yet mysteriously nourished; my standards and I, somehow thriving off pride alone. All the while I’ll be vilified for having the gall not to let my dreams die, as if this mass of pride was mistaken for a second gall-bladder in a world where extra organs and too much gall both call for consequences.
ANGER 6 I'll join in with the might of youth to fly the flag of feral dissidents; spewing satire and dissatisfaction while watching the Great Inundation: 40 years of days and nights under cardboard skies raining fluorescent light. Seethe anger and disgust for "the way things are" out of some sliver of hope that these ills might subside before I dive in under glowing lights (which, by the way, are only good for growing debt and death.)
GREED 7 Sweet and innocent—still inoculated against the ways of the world: chasing the dream-job of freedom with greed and hope, too naive to realize it's all a joke—a wolf in sheep's disguise. I'm free, of course, to take responsibility and forsake the right to flee ‘till after sixty-five, when most of life has passed me by. Despite the joke, still sweet and innocent, awash in too much greed to ‘lease wants for needs— hunting freedom with hungry eyes, hoping it hides not, under guise.
ENVY 8 Green with inexperience and envy: Enough of one not to know life isn't like the movies and too much of the other not to covet the clean, happy endings that trail off to the sunset. Absolutely verdant with the youth and life implied in both the former: radiant with the crisp, rich green of all the easy money movies bring this way; pushing my publics to mirror this envy, jealous I've yet to go green with life—that specific shade we grow after the fire of youth has burned through all the passion, hope and love we care to lose, leaving the Bitter Ash of Ire loose to suck the sunshine out of life and dye its greenhorns blue.
This is a resubmission of sorts. It's changed a little, but not too horribly much, since I've had it here. I was going to send it off to some journals, despite the efforts of a few people to talk me out of it, until an unrelated suggestion sort of changed it all. Someone pointed out a metaphor they thought was cliche, I agreed and changed it and ever since I haven't been able to help but see the piece as good for what it is, but falling short of what it could be, as far as good metaphors go. Since I put a good bit of work in it and am now considering it axed, I thought I'd put it back up here.
I'm still proud of it, but I think I'd be selling the topics and situations here--which is where the real loyalty of the piece lies--short by getting this published before it's anything short of the best I can do with it, in language and the strength and structure of the ideas/metaphors/visual presentation. I'm going to be hacking it back apart and seeing where the idea really needs to end up over whatever amount of time it takes, so wish me luck. Feel free to comment as loosely or critically as you wish--but this preface is a bit of a warning that any critique will probably not be rolled into this version of the piece (so don't be disappointed, I'll still read it and if you're making good points consider those when I'm reworking things.)
*there are some formatting limitations that prevent the presentation as-intended.
***Big thanks to =JenniferStarling for suggesting this. She's wonderful. Go read some of her poems, or a few chapters from the BOOK she's working on!