Though we know little enough about him,
Garrison Keillor said Christopher Marlowe
was most likely gay and an atheist,
yet a brilliant poet and dramatist.
In his lifetime an elite few were educated,
most spiritually curious holy men and oracles
possessed of sufficient cleverness to thrive
within the church or off the gold of betters.
To be a man in Marlowe’s time most likely
involved the perks a penis often brings,
the luxury of having others care for him
certainly far more than he did for himself.
The world turns, humankind begets
a fleshy herd of celebrity provocateurs,
rapaciously sexual, outwardly religious,
inwardly as blank as empty clay jars.
They are not brilliant, nor poets, most likely
their legacy will not survive, built on smoke
and what the mirror reflects. Weak flesh
earns its sad reward, it has no substance.
Even the learned die in bar fights or the plague.
And where is God in Marlowes work? In the dust
of groundlings feet, or the muddy Thames, a whisper
on a darkened stage bidding "Remember me".