John Kills For Joy,
awakened by white potions,
comes out of hiding
for the first time in an age;
as calm as snow at 2 AM
that submerges all roads
and smothers the earth
too early for most to care,
John Kills For Joy steps out
into perfect weather for what he’s about.
What he has done to get here
was best done in cold silence;
he proved himself
cold, took his falls in silence,
built and mounted his throne in ice quiet
and now can hawk-sing with impunity,
let his claw-hand fall wherever he chooses.
John, pale John, John Kills For Joy,
lord of the Talon, god of default atrocities,
John Kills For Joy is knocking for me.
It would be easy to open up
and let him in, let him set his big boots
by the door, offer a smoke
and a drink, give his song an ear.
He has sung this before:
overture, prelude, variation
on a prelude; seeking choir boys
to turn allies, converts,
fodder, traitors, turncoats;
fellows Joyful and Triumphant.
John Kills For Joy carries
more than a sword, and does not travel alone.
John Kills For Joy and an army
standing in the aftermath
of his blizzard, knocking, singing for me;
calling my name; John Kills For Joy
offering weapons, fortresses,
sweetened treaties, road maps
to the next fortune, plunder,
philosophies to ease the shock
of succumbing; John Kills For Joy
making suffering a virtue, sin a ticket
home, forgiveness a ripe plum;
saying the land and sea and air
are just the threshold to Better,
to More, to Greater. John Kills For Joy
points at his battle jacket, at the crosses
and flags, says he’s got Answers for me.
Dear John: In the past, I have sipped
white potion myself,
pictured myself now and then
in the ranks.
I cannot sing this song
as well as all of you. Was born
with a different tune ringing out
in the birthing room;
it echoes in me still, sometimes
louder than yours does
although you are everywhere
and louder indeed than all the rest.
Tonight I hold myself silent
while everyone is singing
in order to hear
dissonance under their unisons.
It is becoming harder and harder
to hear wrong notes (I should say instead
notes that don’t fit) but they are there
and as they are all I have, I have to hold on to them.
John Kills for Joy will not leave my door
without an answer. That’s how
he got to where he is. That’s how
the throne was built.
If he comes
howling through it
he will find me singing
no song he’s ever heard. May he be
silenced then, even
if only for the moment it takes me