|An Upright Man By Lawson|
“Here is an upright man,” they said
Come walking on those bebop legs,
Up that long walk, smile affixed,
Affixed by buttons to his head.
So when they beat him (as they did)
It dare not fall an inch’s slip
But keep its place, that smile, remain
Transfixed like ink’s permanent stain.
“Surely, you see, we taught him well.
Give him a collar of gold to wear.”
“But is he free?” we ruined asked.
They laughed, “Maybe, one day, indeed,
Only today we just parade
Him ‘bout for one and all to see:
Behold! Your model of reform
Upright upon his two right feet.”
He had that bit of skip to step
One sees, though as he passed we knew
Inside (where they could not see)
He crept, bent back on hand and knee,
His soul properly trained to heel,
Like hopeless dogs who seek the leash
To hang themselves at master’s feet,
And do it with such style.
While we, we wretches, ignored, we lay,
Bodies broke by brutal hope
Too weak in arm and leg by years’
Decrees they swore were true “reform.”
Reformed bodies bent into such
Grotesqueries of what stood once,
But now could only lay and lie
As we have all been trained to do.
But Brother, Ah Brother – There!
Deep inside our hearts, we stood!
Watching this man go slinking by,
Watching him creep before their eyes.
For while he crawled, this thing they loved,
Deep inside, there, we stood.
Hearts racking our closed rib cages
With limbs made of true straight bone.
Again and again we cried, “Arete!”
For deep inside, we still were true.