990 Readings | 8 Ratings

Am I a Barbarian, Joseph?

 ...nor what the potent victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
Though changed in outward luster…
           —Paradise Lost, Bk. 1

What skin has my skin
bruised and why? How
or if? Is a moth the reason
for its own unyielding  attraction 
to flame, or is flame its reason?
Before humans, what did moths
harass at night? Lightening fire
or a lava flow, the moon itself, 
or its reflection in a still pond?
I don’t know about nature 
or whether it is a mother 
trampled further to dust 
year after year by its own 
wild & negligent children. 
It could be my own skin
complicated or eroded 
by yours instead of bathed 
and set out to dry in the daylight,
adorned with bruises set to flesh
by your skin, ruptured
& blossomed as you wished 
upon command of my will,
your own will a wine I drank alone 
because I am a barbarian & brute
of needy force so dire as to command
pressure when all you wanted 
was to be a good god.  

Posted 09/07/14
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