Letters From A Misanthropist



If I laid stock-still
Through quietest nights
On my side
Would all
My naked thoughts
Fall out?

An earthquake of pain
Reverberates
In my tectonic mind.

In a dream
Through gritted teeth
And a sense of purpose
I did not own,
I wrote letters
To my son
And also everyone;
Letters of apology,
Letters singed by the sun.
So little left to inspire,
I decided to enquire
Into my mind and
Write down names
Of several men I admired,
To prove a value
More for my son
Than myself,
Than anything else.

Alphabetically
This dream-missive listed:
Alex Jeffries, for persistence,
Colin Powell, for cross-party respect,
Denis Mukwege, for making a difference,
Despite the circumstances;
François Villon, balking against
The injustices of
The See of Orléans;
Mr John Wheatley,
Same reason as Denis’s,
Only a different season
And in a different respect;
Louis Bleriot for his determination
In all matters aviation
And in love;
Richard Ratcliffe for his hunger striking
For a principle, for his wife;
Several Russian mid-nineteenth
Century poets, ditto Chilean,
Ditto Chinese and Japanese
And European and American
From predominantly before
1980 or maybe 1984.

I poured a molten moth
Back up into my skull
Through my broken
Ethmoid bone,
And woke up, exhausted,
In a sweat I must confess,
And wondering how
I had evolved
Through experience
Into this
Misanthropist.



Chirapsia

I massaged your back,
And the shorelines of my hands
Reached pebbles shaped like
Hearts, smooth and
As timeless as arts
Of bread-making in Assyria,
Where your aunts
Tandoor-baked Lawasha,
A delicate knead
Under knuckles ringed with
Garnets and wrinkles;
And reaching further still,
To the cave paintings of
Cueva de las Manos
Where human handprints
Abound and surround
A rhea’s three-toed foot.
The pebbles amassed
Themselves into stones
Which in turn composed
Into rocks and then cliffs
Over the minims and clefs
Of millennia, until
A whole coast emerged
Within your deltoids and
Trapezius, everything
Formed and reformed like
Disciplined ghosts
Of well-drilled archers
Who died fighting for Priam
On shores just south of
The Dardenelles’ mouth,
Where turquoise
Beaches of glass still
Shimmer, the same glass
Delighted the necks of
Ilion’s women,
As bright as Cassinian moons
In Saturnshine loops
In a distant, limpid river.