The Superficies of Servitude (Part Three)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

(The Superficies of Servitude)


Part Three: The Brat’s Inscriptions


Aggrieved by formula, he wailed all night.

Colic, doctors claimed, as he flailed at the lactic brawl.

Stray twilight dogs showed up, enthralled recruits

Whose only purpose was to demonstrate

Rejection rates. Go find another bowl

Emptied enough to match your solemn howl.

“He must’ve gotten out during all our ruckus,” his dad

Would say, and what were we but animals

Too raucous to be handled . . .


Futility, thy name is brat, and mine.


There’s nothing to romanticize. Best friends?

Since when do thugs pretend to make amends?

An ideal betrayed is knowledge mocked:

“Could you change your brother’s diaper, push

Him in a stroller round the block? The bullies

Will let you be as long you’re helping me,”

She says. Was all of it that bad? Not so. Not so,

Insists a quiet voice. Who wants to loathe

One’s youth as utter emptiness? Weren’t boxes

Cheap with chocolate layered to nibble,

The sugar twisting logic to a scribble?

A mother is a saint, but if her child commits

a single mortal sin, her child will suck the tits

of Satan for eternity. Our fathers strut

on decks, three months at sea, revolving six.

Each afternoon, Queen for a Day forages

for bathos. Crouched on a hallway chair,

A mother sobs to four boys and two girls:

“You kids will kill me yet.” Imagine saying that

To Mr. Bailey. Jack, not George.

What other prizes loll in storage?

I am no gracious punk, nor was primed to be.

My mother watches others whimper and entreat,

Holds out cold cream, and asks if I’ll rub her feet.

Doesn’t now redeem that prison-house?

If it exists for someone else, then no.

Let all that trumpery of super-sacrifice

Dissolve within these streaks of soldered woe.



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