Brian J. Alvarado

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the altar ego

i was born to
a mother devout and
a father to be born again—
this alone could not
salvage their union.

i worshipped the lyre
with my brother in soul
as musicians divine—
this could not nullify
his untimely cadenza.

i sat this year submerged
in a world of plagues
with my own bleeding eyes
and a throat of locusts,
unemployed, alone, and
searching earnestly for the
lessons in day-long slumbers

i could sit in hundreds
of pews across multiple
dialects and denominations
as i already have, and will,
chanting your lessons and
voicing your Passions
from the corners of altars,
or from above and out of sight
like temporary seraphim,
where we as musical vessels
of the word are instructed to
put aside our egos and paychecks,
to lead both clergy and congregant
in perfectly human harmony,
lessening the sheer inertia
in enacting these invocations
and therefore bringing them
closer to their own salvations
for that morning hour at least,
and yet i may never truly
understand these mysteries,
whether we’re even meant to,
and whether we are to be
taught or tested through
these plights before it’s
all no longer temporary

an open pew awaits
until then.

the 20s are about learning

how not to just find the
milk and honey, but how
not to drown in its excess,
losing much more than yourself,
but most importantly, yourself,

how to kick and weave your
once trendy longboard through
unforgiving potholes and detours,
receiving tailwinds gracefully
from the inevitable gusts of change,

how to break bread with the
husk of a host you were given
and will ultimately depart,
in time to celebrate this
insoluble blessing with others,

that angels are both beautiful
and utterly terrifying to behold,
their presence made in the very
overtones and suboctave bellows
generated by our own terrors,

and that every enduring day may be
another plank forward to building
down the walls of a battered heart
and bridging up to healthy love free
of condition nor (mid-life) crisis

Brian (@wrdsrch) writes and sings. Recent work is featured and/or forthcoming in Thimble, FERAL, SHIFT, MONO., Sledgehammer, and Versification, among others. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University.

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