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a river of stars flooded
out of me even what’s

beautiful can be pain can
be violent joy where

the first arrow ended
marked the path you must

take to cross to me
the scene has been

set the bow tense
quiver in anticipation



Forever young and looking good tied naked to a tree, a saint popular with solders and athletes, Sebastian was a curly-haired Roman youth shot with arrows on the orders of emperor Diocletian, martyred by the establishment. In 1976, the British director Derek Jarman made a film, Sebastiane, which caused controversy in its treatment of Sebastian as a homosexual icon; though, as many critics have noted, this has been a subtext of his martyr story even before the Renaissance. In his novella Death in Venice, Thomas Mann writes about the Sebastian-Beauty as the “supreme emblem of Apollonian beauty, that is, the artistry of differentiated forms; beauty as measured by discipline, proportion, and luminous distinctions.” From these roots as well as the work of Susan Sontag and other pre-Stonewall theorists arose the aesthetic known as Camp; an acceptance of masculine effeminacy and a “heroism born of weakness.”