Proteus Complaining

Proteus

I don’t like what you tried to do
what you did
Xerxes did before you
lash the sea
lash the sea out of spite
flog that elastic strength
into the submissive firmness of a road
or at least he tried to.

I will not wear the patter of your hobnailed boots
I will not be the highway for your loot
I will not lie down
I will not surrender the curve
the playful arching of my back
the wiggle-room waves crave
in the great sloshing to-and-fro turmoil
inside the heart’s barnacle-covered cave

I am my own man not yours.

Whatever I choose to be
form I take
representation of my will
light flung hung on the ceiling
bouncing around barnacles
in a great guffaw of mirth
being free
no stone-sucking barnacle I
am by nature’s law the man I am.

I am my own man not yours.

So should the wind trip along the wild tongue 
of water
roaring from the sky’s throat
 I shall explode from my cave
and skud along 
the white-whipped surf without a boat.

I am my own man not yours.

 


 

Each of us is a battlefield between raw energy that scarcely tolerates restrictions and an orderly spirit that we acquire through social discipline. It is an old story and free verse is well suited to telling it.

Current edit: 23 May 2014

 

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