On Being Told: You Must Learn to Love the Violence

John Sibley Williams

Like a man who sets himself on fire
on purpose every night without quite
achieving ash. This is something like
saying every stain, every scar makes
a home on the surface of a body
it can’t penetrate. Why can’t I mainly be
a body sturdied by love? Though sometimes,
when I feel the city dreaming itself innocent
around me again, it’s true I want to liberate
the steel-springed horses from the park where my
son has learned to take and do his harm
and see how much wild is really left us. Sometimes
I want to be recognized for what I’m not,
yet. I want to show I burn, and burn bright
as the gods we’re meant to fashion ourselves from.
Bright as rage, as good-bye, as a throat
unzipped to give the bullets their voice. If finally
this voice was the sound a man makes. Something like
the sound a man is supposed to make.