Category Archives: Crucifixion

Evening Fog

Fog, like a China wall,

an enameled dragon, silver

slithers and crawls

toward the western horizon

swallows the mandarin sun

whole like a host

down its grey-gauze throat

burying alive all light,

all hope in its stranglehold

on the evening air.


I have seen nothing

more beautiful than this moment:

the death rattle of day;

the spasm of twilight.


by Paul Totah

August 28, 2004

The Crucifixion

(staring at a painting  by Luce di Tommè 1365)

A woman swoons in lapus lazuli,

upheld by a man in chartreuse,

a woman in tangerine.

The man’s arm supports the woman’s bent breast

covered in silk the color of cherry soda,

candy apples, field-ripe strawberries,

the same color

as the trickle down the two arms,

the gush below the right nipple

between the rib blades,

the splatter at the feet

staining the wood, running

into a fire-red pool

into a pencil-thin stream, leading out the picture,

out the frame, down the wall,

onto my shoes and through, past dark socks,

through my soles, up capillaries

mixing with my blood, mixing me up

with someone I’m not,

someone I’ll never be,

someone dangling from a cross

while another person below

dressed in red,

holds his arms out

as if to say: Fall.

I’ll catch you.


After Reading Crime and Punishment

The world is pain —

the sound like knives in the side —

the word “endure” helps me

suffer the world,

suffer myself while I

walk barefoot on tidepools

of blood coral,

sea urchins, wet, dead

kelp and closed mussels (the silent

shell lips)

— the shallows of loss —

before I sink into depths of deep blue

waters, the blue of God’s

eye, unblinking, open,

shining, wet.


The pain suffers me to endure

redeems me somehow

leaves me dry, wet,

waiting, received.


I have receipts to show for it,

wounds on my feet, blisters

of a hard journey, a

slap on my cheek

when I was 13.


It saved me. It may

save me yet.