Image Copyright Annette Marie Hyder
Your company, a crown of thorns
Previously published in NEWSPAPER TREE
By Annette Marie Hyder
For the guy I got seated beside
at the posh dinner party
who wore his religion like a robe
and thought I should take shelter
under its voluminous folds.
are Starry-Night-by-Van-Gogh blue.
I wont use the cliche of storms
brewing in your eyes
or talk about the fragility —
the vulnerability — of your ears
how your gestures are all hard swirls
and religious fervor, soliloquy
to a zealot’s unique perspective.
But I will say
that I can’t take my eyes off you
can’t stop staring at how life
and the enjoyment of it
(by others) has you posturing
just short of spreading your arms on a cross
to complement the stigmata of your voice
raised like a blemish and bleeding on the air.
Your teeth flash halos of hate
as you try to turn my wine into water
lessen the loaves
subtract the leaven of pleasure
from this experience
leaving it flat like matzo bread.
I tell you I think nails are better used
for building things
than for celebrating wounds
while you masticate martyrdom
and sip on saintliness.
You see my words as candelabras
of confessions glowing in the room.
My tapers were lit long
before you sat by me
and tried to bask in their warmth.
I won’t tonsure my tongue for you.
You look like something that should be hung
on a wall somewhere
as a warning or example
of what too much sanctimony will do.
But you’re not some piece of art
depicting the germ of belief driven violence.
I wrote this poem about “the guy I got seated beside at the posh dinner party”. I haven’t seen him since 2008 and ran into him last Sunday night at a play. He looks exactly the same, acts exactly the same and is just as much a trial to be around. The big difference? He is now openly bisexual and just as much a proselytizer/prophet/program pimp for his current lifestyle as he was an opponent of the sinfulness of carnality when I met him.
You might think that it was a waste of time running into him and having to listen to him — again. But it was edifying in that it highlighted and underscored for me that some people just don’t change. Not really. They have the same mannerisms and conceits, the same modus operandi as they ever did. Their script has changed, yes, but they remain the same (bad) actor, just with a different role in the ultimate reality series of life.
Personal transformation is a rare act indeed.