I learned that I had to control my

Outpour of empathy when I was

With you. Pity kept you going,

Getting under everybody’s skin.

You demanded unirritable leniency.

I dropped all my defences and you hid

The accumulation of weapons from me.

 

These women swarmed around you like

Needy and territorial insects, hovering

Around the halo that they projected onto

Your head, I had been one of them too,

In split seconds I seemed to love you, but

You’d always manage to make me form

Fists again.

 

I could see what they were insatiably

Surrounding, touching on the shoulder,

Smiling, enticed and entitled, they saw you

As a source of life, the captain of their lives,

Sweet and inviting, sticky and blasphemous,

But I saw the rot, I smelled the stench, the open

Wounds, on you, the ones you inflicted, the sad

And decomposing rootworks around you.

 

They wouldn’t grow the way you wanted them to.

Deformed and inferior, beneath you, in suppression,

The master root, a moving serpent, moulding,

Tightening, hissing its formulas of self-annihilation,

I waited for the poison to become medicinal.

 

I see how you combine both images.

The theatrical god, the master of comedy,

The man fighting death.

The man who drains women, who requires

An all-believing audience, goodwill, who plays

Himself into hearts with feigned emotionality and

Authenticity, the truth is you never knew who you were.

You pretended so well. You shone, the masquerade shone.

The man directing his own world, the servants in it.

Executing his will. The blink of an eye.

The putrid mouth. The words it spoke in destruction’s name.

For defamation’s sake.

I lived in that chasm that you nurtured.

 

Backstage was an abyss that nobody could access.

Except for us. And yet. Confronted with ghosts

That we didn’t know, couldn’t identify or place.

In endless harassment and scrutiny, the past, regurgitated,

The present slapped in the face, the future a nightmare

Repeated like a prayer, into existence, on our shoulders,

Poison ivy, father, your hands, dipping our heads into your

Saltless waters, unwholesome, burial grounds, tributes to

Your one-man-show.

 

They  caressed you, in awe of human perfection.

They put their fingers on you and without a single

Gesture from you, you’d steal from them without

Their awareness. And you looked straight at me.

Pride, in that crooked lip. Bitterness in those wet

Eyes. You used your talents to do bad things.

Your weaknesses belonged to us, openly, honest,

In our faces, no charades, and yet, careful.

 

I thought for a moment that your state

Had given you grace. A new word in

Connection with you. You’d always fall

Into your own traps, it had been an addiction.

You couldn’t resist the trickster within you.

The one that accompanied you faithfully.

You’d open your mouth, as if famished, once you smelled

The outpour of compassion coming your way

And you played the card that was expected of you.

woman legs beside flowers
Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

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