I wake up at last, sweaty and deadly.
All the specifics of my big bad dreaming
have been erased, but I know it was all focused
on what I will do or will not do for
my own satisfaction.
Ancient, Biblical, archetypal;
clothed in the flushed skin of my history,
choking on fragments of mythology’s
crude dictates: I don’t kid myself
into some sense of personal nobility.
Not after that. Not after the angry
and wanton night-swamp
I just waded through that has left me
drenched in stink and horrible to behold.
This is a shamefaced confession,
not a boast: if I had been an apple,
if I had been The Apple in The Garden,
I suspect I’d have fallen into her hand and left her
with no choice but to bite down and learn.
There would have been no coaxing,
only coercion. I know this because
as beastly as it is to say it,
there has never been any need
for demons to make it happen,
to turn a man toward Evil. A whole
order of civilization, a machine
of enforcement, has made this happen,
and this morning I rise and swear to do my best
to shower, cleanse myself of it as best as I can,
scrub off the long wet dream of domination,
and forget about looking for a snake
as an excuse for my being a serpent.