Gematria, poetry written by Ethan Lesley at



written by: Ethan Lesley



I have always held myself in contrast to such
impossible standards
none of this is fair to me

but knowing oneself full well doesn’t
equate well to

we all have our crosses to carry; horses, monsters, tapirs to bury,
I am well-aware but I’m just
watching, watching, watching

but if I cannot be the me held up to my
impossible standards
then I’d never be the me who is happy

I’m a slave to my ideas and my
are working against, protesting against

the bitter lake
the truthful water
the kindness rain

as misfits, we traversed through jungles and ordinary cities and tunnels and paraiso

thoughts running, etched in sulfuric acid,
cackling corrosive, callousing contaminant,
nobody backs off ’til it becomes another one of those

tape situations

corrupt me, five foot five, and dense in all confrontations
and conversations converted
into nothing but razor-sharp palates of plates, scheming schematics

bit by bit, I will be tried an angry little man jostled by the pigsty and ethologized by the heretofores,
surrender now, O’ dear dendrochronologist, and bling into chaos and cavity of age that dares not speak itself,
so let be the vainglorious of woes our time-honored travelling havoc, discrete and devastating in its branzinoed trochee,
and case the most honorary of our unhumbled scholars beat it with claws mandated by caresome glare

jotting down my thoughts: the useless ones, the carnal ones,
the ones that took my breath and ran,
it was all a matter of affliction,
a manner of living, and not living,

and no angle born to look at it does it quite
to make sense of it, just that I
have a terrible itch by my mane
when I’m not doing it

uproot! uproot your life!
uproot everything you’ve ever worked on!
and never look back!
the only habitual enemy is the cackle of discontent

that’s where defeat looms,
in reliving your what-could-have-beens
and glamorizing all your life’s villains,
their necks can wait for tomorrow

writer’s block is a creator’s hell
urging you to discover the planet,
perhaps not your greatest skill

how about numbers, then? numbers make sense
with or without halt, numbers make magic, numbers
prove god, even if god can’t solve you in one


do we take the high road then? where are we if not living by and being by?
I do adore people to whom numbers make the most,
they have lived the most, prayed the most

the court is open, and its palms are sweaty
for marrying couples quick and verbally putting them in hell,
any kind of promise is a prey that is hell to itself

I know not too many songs, none of them good with my voice,
I don’t have the skill to make the most out of the classics,
I refused to learn singing jolly and hope, and that will kill us all

what if the universe just goes away?

I have wasted so many years being myself
–maybe I am not a good man
at least,
not good enough for my own


but I am a goddamn good bard,
great, even,
a solver of equations, an equestrian,
with an envoy to keep alive

at least, alive to our standards

what if the universe just went your way?
I bet you’d be smashin’ happy
I bet, I bet, I bet

and I better make sure
‘til it goes my way, kills my way, sums my way,
divides the divine my way



“Gematria” is part of Ethan Lesley CC’s ‘Boleyne Bard’ poetry vignette, from his debut book, ‘The Incomplete Range’.

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