James Arthur

Poem from Behind a Gorilla Mask

Fuck you to the following:
(I can't keep track of names) anyone you know
with a waterfront view. All your accusers
and all whom they accuse. The many aching
to be the few. Drum-bangers, gangbangers,
self-hangers, demigods. Those who make the love,
love the peace, or make the killing.
I include myself as well; I know how sympathy
rots the heart. Thank you
for your love. You get my pity in return.
I wrote this on a Tuesday
sitting in the park.

Editor's note: If you read about a strange behavior, you'll expect an explanation. If you read a poem from behind a gorilla mask, you'll expect the poet to unmask himself. Instead the poem ends with a setting, the park, implying that his reason for misanthropy wasn't a baroque psychological motive but a perverseness in the public space itself. You're left with a wonderful conundrum: was it his sense of isolation and anger that made him feel as though he might as well have been wearing a gorilla mask, or was he sitting in the park with his mask on, composing his poem? –Adam Plunkett

Posted in: Poetry

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