The Divided Self
That lonely man and that sad woman
are dead now, but I still can’t
get away from their lawful claims.
They possess my hands, my feet,
my face. I have only been loaned
these things: possessions assembled
for me out of unseen molecules
I believe in by faith, with thanksgiving.
Blind, jerking passion such as this
nurtures the kind of organized madness
I learned to live with a long time ago.
Short and sweet, to the point:
I hate them bringing me into the world!
What on earth were they thinking,
warm lust pressed against the cold metal
of a postwar kitchen table?
Or did they simply writhe on the linoleum?
Alone, I existed weightless, unknowing, free.
I never approved the intrusion of his
sperm, wriggling madly for oblivion;
tiny kamikaze. No wonder men feel
like clumsy, oafish gods half the time.
As for Mother, she arched dizzily beneath him
half-clothed: strapless formal, silk stockings,
shiny pumps with spike heels,
and though she opened her flesh,
how she longed to kill him with her shoe.
Such war made me. Secret wishes
do a body in. I am that frail universe
mindlessly created, allowed to run wild.