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
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
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.