Artwork by Lorraine Marter
Written Response by Jenny Semmler
These words are torn from my broken past, jagged and bleeding
Laid upon the altar of your ego. Who would know your secret heart
You hollow man?
These pretty frills and flounces
Disguise your darkness.
Shiny shoes as big as boats, reflect your wooly hair
red as firetrucks, topped by your bucket hat.
But I see you in black and white, shades of washed out grey
and cathode rays
and retrace lines
jagged memories stuck in a loop.
Your bright red lips distorted and monstrous,
curved upwards in a never-ending smile
lifted towards your turned down brows
belies your anger and your hatred
As you force my head down
until I drown.
I am no more than an innocent animal
in the circus ring, fighting for my life while
A crowd of millions cheers, unaware
Of the room beneath the amphitheatre, the smell of sweat
And damp wool, urinals and bananas.
Overhead, a naked bulb flickers in the brown light
Throwing misshapen shadows of the gaily, gaily festive mannequins
And costumes all racked for the show.
We enter the ring to the fanfare and the shouts of the crowd
The cheers and drums and clapping
To celebrate the coming of age
And loss of innocence and the promise of ice creams.
And when they put an icecream
Under my chin and ask me
I know I mustn’t tell.
Magic bride dolls and ribbons will reward my silence.
If I speak, the soldiers will hunt me out,
Wherever I may be
Their guns and helmets and shiny boots
Every time I close my eyes.
I am sacrificed without sound. The show goes on.
The amphitheatre is filled with the roaring crowds
As silently I bleed.
As I bleed.
I have been sacrificed for you,
An innocent, never knowing your reasons,
My nature just to be, without engaging your purpose.