Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." - Matthew 22:19-21

The unseen artist uses invisible inks and needles them
into you in patterns and colors and words that
work their way beneath the epidermis and dermis
right on through to the blood and the bone

and with electric impulse make their way to
nerve fiber and spine on up to the cerebellum
there your holy tattooed brand shapes visions
causes revelations of who and why you are and
notions of what you are inspired to do on this earth
with your body and mind, your money and heart
and seconds slipping by even now you count them down

swayed by the indelibility of your own extravagant worth
you resist spending your coins or bills or compassion or vigor
on the shenanigans of market gods and credit seductions
you repel from falling into the bloated trap of allegiance
to nation or munitions or religious tribe which will
take all you have to give until you have spent yourself empty
all of you, even the parts you meant to save for yourself

one marked and signified and summoned such as you
will spend the wealth of yourself as the artist does
pouring out costly love like blood meal on marigolds
inking life into the art of another soul expensive
living the artist’s dream of a gorgeously colored world
as yet only sketched on the canvas of our marvelous minds


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