I have an uneasy relationship with the self
ever since I hot-wired the lyric. I taught my voice
another voice. There are bodies along the trail
to the summit. One moment you are talking
about swans, and the next, the mind is a rusty
Tilt-A-Whirl full of screaming kids. You can’t kill
the self, no more than the “I”, but wrest control
from its hands. Go spelunking with amnesia.
Start a countdown. If you push the detonator,
remember the answer is kaboom. I would rather
put the unbidden under surveillance than trot out
memories one more time, but someone is making
walkie-talkie demands, and that summer in Europe
is proof of life. The board of directors have given
their okay to use syntax and line, but are deadlocked
on the striped thorax of a dragonfly. I’ve made a hole
in the self with a pen-knife. A light shines out of it
as does hope, disappointment, longing, convictions.
The self does not care how we feel about it. It is
the voice banging on the other side of the door.
The burning bush laying down commandments
before someone douses it with a bucket of water.
The days are in charge, for now, but the nights
are plotting regime change. The self sharpens
its guillotine, but fears the rabble in the streets.
It writes a pamphlet. Uses various pseudonyms.
After being caught in a police dragnet, it looks
down the long table, confesses to everything.
It implicates me, half man, half special effects.
See these two wires? Twist them together.
Hit the ignition. Make our getaway.
By Chris Banks