The Rat Man

June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

The rat man retired in October.
A month later, I left Wales.
Falling stars and
the slow, generous wave of a man’s hand.
Today started out the same as any other day.
I only meant to run out for a second.

It was the dignity of tragedy that drew me in,
that lifted me up, like a stranger’s strong and loving arm,
out of the futility of childhood.

Let her laugh.
Let her arrogant, elegant pleasure
rub my face in the ashes of my great and hideous failure.
Let her smooth, sure voice
inflate in icy pockets beneath my skin
as she, endorsed by God,
lists my inadequacies, my iniquities.
Let her be right.
Let me be wrong.
And let us both know it.

The Little Drummer Boy…
The Little Match Girl…
(I would cry and cry and cry)

Let her smooth, sure voice ring like a bell.
Let me be alarmed enough to cry
in front of her,
which would cut me to bits, which would bury me in a canyon.
But let me resurrect the joy I killed
because I didn’t want to feel anything.

But tragedy never really vindicates.
It only hurts the little children,
and postpones the piper’s invoice,
accruing interest,
wearing thin the patient grace
of his Rat Wisdom.
He showed me again and again
that to kill them, to kill them well,
you have to love them.

If I would hold the hand of that laughing bitch
and walk with her, and tell her
about the heart of the Rat Man,
then we could find something new to believe
and set each other free.

It was me that hung the death knell on the bell
when I ran out, just for a second.

It was only ever really just a bell.


Photo: Rupert Jefferies, via Morguefile


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