Thursday, December 3, 2009

You might imagine, or Saint Anthony's Fire

You think it's easy to wear a tie? Loafers?
Fuck you.
I've got thousands of years of history behind me
every piece of which that tells me to
paint my face
(or maybe lace my boots)
face the ergots and pillage the ingots
swing my fucking fist
history and chemistry and biology
(if you're in a laughing mood we can even add
psychology and sociology)

whatever it is, it's there
and it comes right through in the blood
like half-forgotten, heavily cherished music from another room

you never want to admit
that "Appetite for Destruction" was your "Ave Maria" or your "Let it Be"
but we all know the truth
there's a couple generations that feel the same way
there's a few million of us that don't fear the devil
who won't hesitate to break a face with a face

but i would much rather bleed on my own
thank you kindly

if the best i can do
is drink you under the table
then bet your ass i will
I don't need your fire/water
I've got plenty of my own
I've got elements your
ancestors never conceived

better that they did not
I'm a-building, I'm a-haunting

i won't take off my tie without envisioning a noose
(and knowing mine were the hands to tie that half-windsor)
i won't lay down my man-purse
without pretending to be a shaman
(with a six-demon bag)
i won't light a candle
without whispering the right words
unless i have you waiting for me

(right where i need you most)

in the end, are we anything more than animals
who happen to be smart enough
to know what parts of the body to shave?

noble? savage?
does it really make a difference?
not to walk on all-fours
not to eat flesh
not to shed blood

we're all just doing the best that we can
i just wish you though to understand
if i told you to come back to nature
to give ourselves to wine and madness
and prophecy, always
and that i need your Walden Pond about as much as I need
a badge with my face that hangs from my belt
that opens a door
like magic
to a place I'd rather die than visit again
but it's magic, how that door opens
just for me

if I were alive just a few hundred years back
or even the right number of decades
You'd burn me at the stake

or you'd look at these scars
and name me a patron, name me a saint
as if mere survival were supposed to be something to be proud of

the patron saints
of getting out of bed
of vomiting blood without taking the day off
of forearms scrawled in secret alphabets
of mascara or stitches
of excessive patriotism or sexual disaster
of never, ever again telling a loved one they need to apologize
of ribs and feathers and needles and pins
of faking your way to the weekend again

as if mere survival were something worthy of reverence

i saw a three-legged dog
where's his halo?
i saw a veteran in a wheelchair
where's his day of obligation?
i saw a single mother (MANY OF THEM) understanding deprivation
not on your calendar, though,
anymore than that other soul who just wants to love
without being told whom it is appropriate to love
you will never sing that hymn, though

i saw a man in a tie
wearing shiny loafers
and a shit-eating grin
stained with bad debts and worse prospects
and that tell-tale stench
i saw him
i tell you three times
but i won't light a candle

fuck that guy
there's nothing to be proud of here

--Stephen Sunday, 2009

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