Love Poem as a Critique of Colonialism

Martin Rock

I.  Of course there is the losing oneself

    in the islands of the tongue

    (there is always the losing of islands

    the ones of the mouth I mean oneself)

    and the grappling with ropes

    and robes unloosed and lying

    lifeless at the feet of strangers

    but this is only part

    of love that is you’ve seen

    only what you’ve survived


II. We were training horses

     to be acquiescent in their bits

     you stripped naked wet on the beach

     before long we ourselves were horses

     untrained and wild

     bits spit out on the ground

     I was dead as soon as the gods

     whispered my name

     I whispered

     your name to the gods


III. By the time we remembered

      ourselves from the stable we spotted

      a pair of sallow ignoble creatures

      in robes of gold and crimson sipping

      ruby liquid chuffing

      magnificent beasts yes but in the rolling

      of the eyes the flesh the teeth

      they are not comfortable

      could not see us naked there

      a gift only to ourselves and when

      we neared they lashed us

      with their tongues and gnashed their teeth in fear


IV. Not in their bodies at all purse-

      lipped tidy crisp that they are

      let’s remind them of the stint

      before the thrum

      of life squeezed out no more time

      spent coupling splitting instead

      entering instead spreading

      like virus in the name of deliverance

      but here I dissolve

      for the shallow at the small

      of your back like a pool

      give me tongues escaped

      from the mouth give me the un-

      matched radiance of just-touched skin


V. Where languages merge

     there do bodies and cuisines

     and genes become themselves

     more sophisticated

     through involvedness but you

     who enter and seek to own

     you have taken enough

     have given enough

     deficit the language

     of surplus creates an absence

     elsewhere I would rather watch

     you retreat than die

     but the moment my breath

     stops I lose nothing and you take

     ten thousand new destroyers take

     instead this horse this animal

     will build you an army this army

     will motivate a resistance this

     resistance will relieve you

     of your craving


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