The world moves first, biting off a hunk of your side; you wobble and bleed, changed into a monster balancing itself against the wound. The past will not erase; could you ever get true revenge against it? Somebody pushes you, you catch the momentum of the push and push someone else, abuse working itself as a wave across people.
Revenge doesn’t just damage the damager; it balances, it cancels out cruel energies, it meets spice with milk. Revenge is a master builder, a home of the muse. Generations of the marginal put reins over their need for vengeance, translate pain into craft and form, and in making truthful art assay to change both the world and themselves. Here goes the catharsis of violent music and confrontational art. A limited sort of revenge, hissing and hysterical, pocked with the callowness to smash a guitar as though into the world’s forehead.
Poetry can fight like this: as not shield but sword. It can be a person’s weapon against inhumanity of the spirits, of Death, of fickle tricky Love. I wrote this poem to careless lover like whispering it to myself through a crack in the floor. It consoled me, and maybe it will make you feel a bit better, too.
You look at me and see a tree
To wipe the velvet from your horn
To you I am a gallery
A league of lovers that you will scorn
You make me into fantasy, a Lady of the Lake
Believed in as a fable to be dismissed as fake
You learned young that you should run
— Pursued by giving chase —
And secretly believed you won
Love-like lie at end of race
You’d have me play this hackneyed game
Which rubs the letters off my name
But flirty winks appease no Sphinx
My dusty wings want flame.
You were possessed by faces, by moons that fall and rise
You walked together as a crowd, mystic with your eyes
You who sweared she never cared
A feathered mask, teeth bared.
(How did I learn to like this taste? —
The pucker of a grapefruit’s pink
The final swig of coffee paste
That is difficult to drink.
I curse my mouth for going wet
Ordering the meal I get)
— D. Lineal