By Jack Bolton, Must the past stick to our soles like gum ?
We are the empty men, the ones
Who cannot even whisper together.
Theirs is the privilege of a better sex,
That behooves not the likes of us.
We commune in that comforting blackness
That holds us in its hands
And makes us gentle
The ranks of articulate indignation
Think not of us
Lest we be an embarrassment
To their perception of the world.
And those we meet
On streets and bars and hotels and in cars
Seem at times like just another race
They are not the problem
It shall always be so with them.
But we. We are the ones
With a barely conscious burden.
A thought, a memory, a mode of being
Still it clings
Blame is a difficult thing
Some register it as unnecessary and distracting
Others wish to dole it out freely, a generosity born of malice.
Some know just how to handle the matter,
But none of them know us.
In truth it’s not even their fault.
Who could help them?
Who wishes that pain
Be spilt again?
We have seen enough
To colour our dreams. Please
Give us rest in waking.
We must suffer in silence
We can only suffer in silence.
Like a horse
Their eyes weary with
Burden and disclosure.
Nobility is in the path
That leads to Gehenna
So why not tread the road?
Why not suffer in silence?
They told me that cold hands
Don’t leave a mark below the skin
Nor that sullen, sunken brows
Belong on pretty faces like mine.
But they are the old guard, made churlish
And boorish by a misplaced vigour
Which defied the onward climb of time.
Mine is a petition not so new
A request asked to those who would
Arm themselves for one cause
Yet shrug at any other.
Why for us do you clamp your jaws
And calm your tempers?
The guilt we would feel should voices
Raise in one almighty chant
The cry ‘No More’
Does not degrade the task.
The nobility of justice
Is no less denuded and scorned
For my crimes as for yours.