I was in love with my own ruin, in love with decay. . . .
—Augustine, Confessions

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be the natural
man here below. Lead me in the path of pleasure.
May my will be done and make of earth a heaven.
Upon my instincts I meditate day and night,
I study to fulfill their decrees. Nature’s law
is my delight, the satiation of desire.
But thus far I’ve failed, as if desire’s gut
was growing larger than my own! I’ve fed it
smut and sex, paid dearly for the finest luxuries,
but yearning is thus burned away, leaving me singed
and dry as cinders, Lord.
What wine or whiskey
will purge my gaping throat? I sought counsel
in the house of sinners, was welcomed heartily,
and I spoke, wind escaping the pit prepared for me
within my own chest. Deliver me from craving,
this lust for emptiness—fill me up, dear God,
even though (dear God!) I’m overflowing.
This table, this plate, this bottomless fucking bottle—
I’m fed up, oh Lord. I have become
a law unto myself—forbid, Father,
in your mercy, that I should keep it.