Noct—The Threshold of Madness

Garden-pathing, it was recently explained to me, is a grammatical sentence that lures readers into one meaning, only to be misled, whether through syntactical arrangement or flat-out lexical deception. Isn’t this, I wondered, what poetry is? Joey De Jesus writes early on in Noct—The Threshold of Madness, “I shatter the expected / to access the page” and I think of garden-pathing, the lexical arrangement and its access. Who is left out of the page when we expect any system? Noct—The Threshold of Madness is an erasure poem based on a popular how-to book in black magic. In this chapbook, De Jesus chronicles identity disrepair by internalizing the homology of blackness with the demonic. He writes, “I—I / trick of my mind / Goal and motive coming to me / As the I speaks forth.” There is a possession to his disrepair, one that throttles intended meaning into a spatiotemporal sphere of one. The language is at once devastating as it is curated by a mastermind. Here, agency is pushed under the lens as with everything else. The “I” is void as it is also muscle. It sings without epiphany. It thrives on the splintering explanation.

from Noct—The Threshold of Madness

 analyze the simplest glyph

because it came from automatic writing

the dark you walk blazing is truly your own

keep out of sight

quiet of powder


from Noct—The Threshold of Madness

I uncover the palm of your hand

remembering you gently until nightfall

(re)verse—white on black

retina: a ritual opens around

black alarm you alarm black practice

dim you dark on the bed black

power overcomes you, shocks you.


good boy meets good

boy paradigm

what a wonderful accomplishment


polarizes bodies

be nightkind

prowl now

your goal is germinating sentence fragments

your Sex is small redundant letters

rearranged pronounceable

in your chest becoming

your spine

little electricity, Feel

your swollen size your core

phrase of power

your thighs your belly

phrase with intensity your genitals’

charm and gamble routine

you are ho-hum

you’re a fool wish for untimely death with a lowercase d,

humdrum to a longterm partner

smoke feels mystical but notorious

just the orgasm, the excitement of


you cheat

mystic odd numbers befits threesomes

you and your partner suffice

something special is happening

I encounter time

and really care

go bareback, speak fiction

ritual to fuel sinister contact

a reddish nothing

you can be handy

you slip away as if keeping one secret

phrase of power phrase mental drift

the heart dark sphere

your cheating is never foolproof


mating dance

with all its pitfalls

you accustom to the chest echoing in perfect time

onto paper that hides your gulf, burning:

sorry overspirit unfettered by flesh and shambling


unseen, let us disquiet

let us suppose

a state of burning

the fear of being:         Accused



the phantoms see you dabble in specters

abuse the elder entheogens and ill-fate

good god righteous all enraged

we’re taking a stance

we’re a shock warning politic

for those who describe nowhere


from Noct—The Threshold of Madness


unlucky you low-grade something race

in the past, glimpsing an amazing crystal

mighta been a boon — exotic

anise-flavored wormwood narcotic

what herb ratio of euphoria and nervous disorder

prevents legal trouble?

we’ll be outlawed

most people are victims:

hope is a credit card

loophole you’re allowed to buy the law

transactions the tricky you bastard price letdown

caution the fortunate

the water

the surf will destroy you

out of nowhere


the sea, access to the sea

—a natural body

you waterside spot in the dark

obviously trespassing

body: a manmade chemicaljourney

dear mythology of sinister tone

what resembles fright?

what comes from elsewhere

and appears to be you

out-of-body? the unsaid

forms a pathway to the low world

seeing with the soul’s way of seeing

What do you suppose it means?

the hellish vision? A man both me

and not


from Noct—The Threshold of Madness

Speak the Names

I call you out using long barb and lit sigil

you want to burn the moonless horizon

you are the dark arm of stellar matter

If a crashing of waves mix whispers

feel confident that you stand within the strongest you

You have a decision to make

Use them use them your arsenal walks