Excerpts > Fall 2004
Brian Taylor

Captain Midnight in the Undergrowth

I am all dressed up in tattered moonlight and shadow,
I have smeared my face with boot polish. G.I. Joe in mask
and animal skin, I have an assassinís claws, a rapistís

wooden dick. This evening Captain Midnight is looking
for some action. Watch out, Red Ridinghood, trick
or treating though suburban neighborhoods, the rain wet

leaves glitter like my dentures, all the better to snap
at your ankles. And it was always so. The wicked uncle,
the brutal brother, the faceless father gibbering on his

high throne, even the handsome husband prowling
through dark alleys for a touch of tit or thigh. The tribe
call me Nkisi and Nkondi. They have driven iron nails

into my chest. I bristle like a boar, I hook on like a burr.
I eat the wives and children of my enemies. Tyger,
tyger. Bully boy. Mister Nightmare. Itís a man thing.

We canít help it. We love it. We have always loved it.
We come into the fairytale world as a fist, a knife, a gun.
Hansel in lederhosen, Gretel in white pantiesóthey see only

a movement, a flash from the bits of mirror over my eyes.
I am Tyger, Zagreus, the thunder and lightning man.
I crouch in my fatherís scrotum waiting to be born again.

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