Late to the 21st century am I, believing as I did in love.
And whilst – in hindsight – those I loved did abuse me,
I once thought in exchange it was soul and heart – all the time –
they chose to time and rhyme me with.
Now it’s clear their love was conditioned by my airy acceptance
of their defining my desire to line my pockets with kindness
as a sign of awful silly weakness: above all, a signal of shambolic fool.
And where I thought I could be a tool of the should,
they just wanted me to be a man of the hood: an evil man of casual hurt.
They wanted me to be like them: hating and rating and judging
continually, yer know? And like – precise! – a stowaway on slave ship
is where they wanted me to slip and stutter and jitter; rudderless I guess,
with my compass directionless, my flies bad undone, and my pride
ripped and fearfully gone. And so the song goes on,
and late it is for me to turn back now, late it is for me to return
to love’s century; instead, these men – and then a notably clever
pair of women bright – have driven me into their
welcome arms of hate. And if you fear this, and if it makes you sad,
just recall the bad my family and friends both
have done to the kind and loving intelligence
I always did display till this day: for wilfully you have made your choice;
wilfully you have staked my heart; wilfully you have reverted my art
to the pursuit of dreadful hateful outcome. So arise, dear poet
of hate. Arise, dear man. Arise and then claim your killing-fields, wham!