Revised, from March 2018. Original title, “23.”
Somebody give me two imaginary things:
a top hat dyed dark with noble blood
and a statue of me wearing the hat.
Then, call me
lord and ruler; a statue
of the imaginary me
is enough of a vessel
from which to sip
the red juice of privilege.
If you give me the bloody hat
and the statue as well, perhaps
I shall be regal and in charge,
so go ahead and give me
the title as well. Something good,
something recorded on parchment,
for I want to choose who I am
and discard what I was raised to be:
that matters less, it seems,
than what a scrap of me
has to report.
All that history
we used to wrestle
once could exalt or damn a person,
and now all we have to do
is check a box or stuff one
and we are what we claim.
Easy enough for everyone.
I’m enjoying the sticky hat on my head.
I’m enjoying the hell
out of my pale marble face.
I’m dreaming of what it all must mean
although all it truly means
is that I’m dreaming.