In Persona: Prometheus Thinks About Sanctification

Posted on 04 November 2009

Finally, at last, tomorrow
          everything will be better.
I sense my wholesome organs growing strong
and I see clearly: see my fault
spread-eagled on a rock, incised with truth.
Thank Zeus for this operation,
          if this operation heals.

Forgive my fire.
I should not have shouted in gigantic rage
at all my little people.
Yes, the power-rush felt good and fed my belly
like a Gatorade of the flesh,
like liquid adrenaline for the old man.
Ah, how sweet it was to see them squirm,
to speak with thunderous firm tones and know
my own authority, my own height, my head
higher than theirs.
I wore a natty business suit,
so slick beside their dumpy Catholic-girls’-school uniforms,
and they whined and pawed their dog-eared papers
and I smiled a grim demi-god smile
to watch them flinch into detention.
I set my ego on a pedestal
and pinned up a little plaque:
          Titan of the year.

But that was then, and this is now,
and never, never, never
will I stoop so low again.

I’m happy that my liver’s growing back.
From now on I’ll be temperate and perceptive.
In the past, I have been cross-eyed with selfishness, lost all
peripheral vision, wore the blinkers of
need,          want,          need,          want,          need,          want,          need.
Something was wrong with my spleen,
because a kind of green and boiling
taste of bile in my veins
set me to clenching fists
and making scrunched-up faces
with a kettle-whistle pressure
and skull pressed full of smoggy steam—
pushing my forehead against the bathroom wall,
legs crumpled up on the tile floor,
extractor fan hiding my sobs
from my oblivious living-room lover.
          Shouldn’t she worship my titanic beauty?
          Shouldn’t she stroke my sculptured torso
                                        and chiseled thighs
          and sigh in adoration?
          Shouldn’t she gaze in bliss
                    at these eyes that Reubens, Moreau, Fuger, and Cole
          paused to admire?
Why isn’t she wild with lust?
—that is what I wept about,
when weak and human kinds of agonies
controlled my bloodlines and my brain.

But now my liver’s growing back,
and I feel sure, while Helios returns,
my circulation’s steady and I see
with clarity the way I ought to be,
that it is not about me, that I can cultivate humility.

Helios is up. Hera’s Sky is clear.
And look! God’s eagle circles down.
It looks like Zeus has sent his aegis-bird
as confirmation of my [final! real!] conversion,
and as a golden symbol that the cycle’s broken.

Then why is he descending talons first?

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