Ed Go's confessional poem

my grandfather was an artist, a poet, a musician & a
rapist. in his leather jacket, w/ his knife on his belt, he
hung w/ hell’s angels, introduced me to robert heinlein,
monty python & anton levay & told me the story of how
the asshole came to rule the human body, how satan cruises
through hell’s lake of shit in his speedboat making waves &
how when you look into a mirror you see your alternate
universe you who lives a different life than you do but just
happens to be looking in a mirror at the same exact time

when i was 6 i drew a portrait of my mother in a coffin
buried—a cross-section showing the roots of a leafy winter
oak surrounding her as worms did their work below ground
& chocolate kisses grew on branches above; when i showed
it to her & the other adults they admonished me for creating
such an image & i was told to never do it again but later i
overheard them praising my undeniable talent &
conjecturing who i might’ve inherited it from

after that i only drew monsters but when i was 12 ben aku
said something & my fist made contact w/ his skull & then
mrs takamori took me outside & lectured me about fighting
& blah blah blah violence but all i remember is how
beautiful she was, the black of her hair against the blue of
the sky, green palm leaves & red hibiscus & dirt of the
volcano we stood on, tropical breeze bisecting

16 years later in a room w/ no mirrors the 2nd woman i
ever loved took my hand & kissed the bruised knuckles;
you’re not him she said & we made love w/ such
compassion as only a christ or buddha could comprehend—
an explosion of unmanly surrender so gentle i actually
wept. the next morning i caught a glimpse of alternate
universe me in the rearview & wondered what he had just

Ed Go is a former school bus driver, exterminator, video store
clerk, garbage man, phonebook deliverer, and lead singer in a
punk-folk band. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he
writes and teaches English (though he is still licensed to kill
bugs and transport schoolchildren in the state of Connecticut).

© 2006 Underground Voices