Man became tribal
Gave them meats, gave them grasses,
Way before he wrote a bible,
Extended his tentacles
Towards others’ pentacles,
Sinked inked pins into skins,
Gave his sisters and brothers
A way to differentiate
Between faces and places,
Between love and hate,
Created rules to protect them,
Had the nerve to expect them
Not to want to write their own;
Gave them mead and molasses,
Gave them beats against which
To shake their asses,
Gave them mobile home,
His and others’,
Gave them matriarchy and patriarchy,
Gave them caved-in skull for living alone,
Gave them a sharp bone with which to weave,
Gave them religion as a reason to believe,
Gave them orthodoxy and unorthodoxy,
Gave them a mandate to murder by proxy,
Gave them orders,
And gave them borders:

Took mountain,
Took river,
Took hill,
Took a sight for sore eyes,
Took a view to a kill,
Took a shore,
Took a sky,
Took a natural disaster,
Took us many millennia to master pasta,
But barely the blink of an eye
To draw a line in the sand with a stick
And say “Cross this, bitch, and I’ll eat your dick.”

Took a cock to crow,
Took a lamb to slaughter,
Took a pound of flesh,
Took a pint of water,
Took a con,
Took a contract with a cartographer,
Took a dowsing rod,
Took a radiographer,
Took a tool,
Took a trade,
Took a neighbour’s daughter
By force because he couldn’t afford her,
Took a piss – took the piss –
And gave us borders.

Man is an animal,
That’s understood.
Like man writes history,
The beaver gnaws wood.
Like man solves mystery,
The magpie steals metal.
Like man collects property,
The dust likes to settle.
Like man behaves properly,
The shit instinctively stinks.
Like man thinks,
Animal is.
And like man likes to think he knows a thing or two –
Who he is and where he goes,
And what he gets done –
He wakes up naked and sweating
In the throes of a dream
About the process of forgetting
And convincing himself he’s won
When he’s lost,
At any cost.

Man became Cain
Before he became able
To contemplate a fable
With a happily-ever-after end.
Man became his own worst enemy
Before he’d thought to make a single friend,
But man is capable,
Man is culpable,
Man is entirely indestructible
Because man has plans
And man has methods;
Man has sheep
And man has shepherds,
Man has miracles
And man has knowledge,
Man has the wherewithal
To hunt and forage.

Man has persuasion
And man has torture,
Man has intangible
And bricks and mortar,
Man has laughter
And man has slaughter.
Man is a chronicler,
Man is a recorder.
Man is a prisoner
And man is a warder.
Man is a philanthropist
And man is a hoarder,
And man’s got no worries
Because man’s got manned borders.


Appears in:
Rhymes for all times [2015]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *