Tuesday, October 16, 2007

309. Karl of the Corporation

circular arguments
bedazzle rigid minds

I was reinforced in my dominion
by ignorance and by stubborn pride,
by a belief in only one opinion.
Stand out of my way, sir,
if you know what is good for you.

I lied,
because I could not tell the truth.
Bare facts, an abomination,
lacked the salt of imagination.
I tried
to explain things always in a way
that would meet some expectation.
Unwelcome possibilities
got themselves shot down
like darkies in a cornfield,
like wetbacks in a river.
The bosses didn’t care:
never shouldn’ta oughta bin there.
Mow them down, rat-a-tat-tat
jump in the car and hit the town,
then talk of Rembrandt and Cezanne
and try to fondle Sally Anne.
Do the same old thing tomorrow,
a well-dressed man of constant sorrow.

Many versts across the barren fields
from the shining palaces of Petersburg,
a girl with snow-white arms upraised:
O Bog, she says (their word for God),
O Bog, get me out of here!

As an unwanted child,
lonely, destructive, anti-social,
I had no trouble believing
that God was indeed a special friend.
Little then did I know
what I've come to know in the end.
The Church, as ever, opened its arms
and welcomed my delusion;
it prays and preys upon
adolescence and confusion.
My son, do you have a vocation?
Get away to fuck.
(Get away to fuck, Father ).
I was not in the habit of talking to strangers,
unless, of course, idiot tourists,
eager and uncertain,
looking for a place to spend hard cash.
A furry masculine moustache
began with the hairs around my groin,
it would join in the fortunes of those parts,
the intricate lies, the broken hearts,
the additions, loans, debentures,
the many cold-eyed cheap adventures.
I held one truth to be self-evident,
that all men procreated
pretty much continuously,
so in order to stand out
one had to be a bit of a bastard.
In fact, I mastered the mechanics
at about the age of six,
an enlightening heady mix
of bluff and certain knowledge,
so that all the blows and cuffs and kicks
of the ambient adult world
became a poor boy’s college.
I’ll tell you one thing,
you can forget the rest:
those to whom evil is done
do certain evil in return.
They burn
with righteous and amoral wrath
they cleave a hard and frightening path
between the innocent and the innocent.
Stand out of my way, sir,
if you know what is good for you.

The guilty they leave well alone
(those boys can be dangerous).
I never really fell in love
until seven years ago.
I had a carapace of immunity,
ready-made, form-fitting,
born of the arrogant impunity
of treating people as things.
But I find love brings
little happiness, less relief.
It is my sad and certain belief
that love can never be learned
nor earned
when a loveless child becomes a man.
My plan
was to rule the world
or at least my little bit of it.
Then the whiskey got in the way.
God bless the whiskey;
pity it wasn’t tears instead.