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Add This Somewhere

John McAuley

Like most didactic formless souls
I began my literary career
as an intellectual marshmallow.
The whole sorry business was all too plain,
having something to do with a turnip
that could fart with perfect ease.
I naively declared what my symbols
would be, making it easy on the dull,
but it was all slightly confusing
as I searched out a selection
of first-hand post-mortem reflections
that in no way made me religious.
For years I culled through them,
accepting man’s natural right to dominate
and even championed depressingly familiar roles
for women. Well, at least that’s changed.

Until my late teens, I built model aircraft:
my favourite was the cherry-red Maksim Gorkii
engineered in 1930 to blitz bourgeois standards
through leaflet drops on the masses, yet
there wasn’t anything heroic about me.
I tried to divorce myself in my mind
from my allegedly helpless personas, and
discovered I didn’t have any character at all.
A real zoology of manners was I, only skin deep,
not understanding that Hypnos rules
the nervous interior.

My vers libre meanderings were indolent and
inarticulate, reflecting the blunted sensibilities
of someone whose head is as empty as his stomach.
I tried to become a primitive, but
stewed on condescension and rebuff.
Holding the same conclusion then and now
might be considered tenacious, though
if I ever woke up, I think I’d die
from the excitement.

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