Robert Whitehead

Virtue: Antinous

Perched in his brave nakedness,
he is the conundrum.
He— art of the untidy feeling,
of the chisel-because-you-must,
a study in wild abandon.
Cipher-troubled, he thrusts
at the unsettled birds
because what is transcendence?
The moment the block of marble
sweated? the smooth stepping-out?
Each ecstasy is a tired story.
Eventually we give up
and tell it anyway. We tell it louder.


Virtue: Cyparissus & Apollo

Not understanding the men's performance, the birds must have thought,
are they wild? The birds might have asked, what are these men
that will not give up? Tired as a conundrum, as a block of marble,
the birds were still. To not transcend is to be unsettled, a cipher
stepping out a cipher. And so was this night: the man over the man
like a cloud. Into each other's nakedness they searched,
defying abandonment. While the untidy birds studied.