James Allen Hall
I'm no innocent. Call me something that makes a man wince,
to mime its curves, the twinned a's and snaking s of Isaac,
a stockpiled arsenal. All my gunpowdered faces
in this Madrid, stripped down and silent, disturbed
yowling in their too-small cage. Who names them
When I was young, I carved the name Jaime next to mine,
I loved. A sapling—the name did it in.
I burn now to exhaust the future. No water from the well.
I’ll know my name by the tags I wear around my neck.
I am descended from the Wildes, the last of a purebred line.
SELF-PORTRAIT AS BOY WITH THE HEAD OF GOLIATH
There’s no one left who remembers how I was before,
I was bad at history. I confused the faces of barbaric kings.
I was bad at telling time, the big hand on top of the little hand.
But I was good at dodgeball, at stopping anything
In this light he's the man who taught me pain.
I was bad at love, he choked me awake.
I am doing my good work. The light keeps going
I am taking back what he took. His head,
I think of "James Untitled" and "Self-Portrait as Boy With the Head of Goliath" as Madrid poems. Caravaggio painted his David With the Head of Goliath around 1599, and it resides now in Museo del Prado in Madrid. He returned to paint the same story and the same scene twice more, but this first version is muted and intensely private, with the painter's characteristic chiaroscuro in full effect.
"James Untitled" came about while in Madrid as well. Marriage is available to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, in Spain, which is also a devoutly Catholic country.