Register Monday | August 10 | 2020

Open Sesame

A poem

Some shelter in madness; most rent it out

and live, off the proceeds, a balanced life,
giving and taking, but you are too proud
to line pockets of your house to house fights.

Yet I believe that they can be used,
manipulated even, and why not by us?
Don't sell your soul; just let points of view,
yours and mine, be iron and rust.

I'm here to teach you how to decay.
Custom demands that you slowly descend
from the ancient thresholds of pain
to relationships we can find you out in.

We need you to experience the banality
that's second nature to your fellow men.
Solitude has made you uppity.
We want you to mingle so we can be pals,

and find ourselves experimenting in labs,
heating fugues to an inaudible voice,
whipping one another till we're ready to rat-
confess, I mean-the day we were born.

I've read the manuals: humiliation,
the victim's cicerone, opens up
a forty thieves' cave actually hidden
in Ali Baba's soul-special eye drops

allow the free world to peer into his secrets,
favourite foods and taste in music,
his God fetish, medical diagnosis
that calls epilepsy drug-induced fits.

The pleasure, nay joy, of destroying a man
senile storytellers treat gingerly-
in truth, the torturer is a fan
drilled into the ceiling of morality

which, as we know, is a bare whitewashed room
without the windows for natural air.
Electric light bulbs mean there's no gloom.
If you're beautiful, you won't be scared,

stripped of fig leaves, back in paradise,
each inmate a new Adam or Eve.
As for the ones who come packed in ice,
they're neo-Neanderthals, different species.

How they got here nobody knows,
but nothing inhuman is foreign to us.
We even have museum pieces on loan;
the heads we can't shrink are these marble busts.