Poetry

The Monster Myth

11 September 2018

There’s a monster I’ve heard of
over the years
that appears in the place of corporeal men.
The monster exists in another realm,
independent of culture, convention, tradition.

I heard about you on the news today,
the wolf in the dark
the reporter called you by names that suggest
you don’t really exist in our world.
Nightmare tales of lupine brutes
are passed around and peered at with alarm
each retelling yields more heads shaken, more fictionalising.

But the wolf is all too familiar to me
an unsolicited acquaintance, like words that hang in your head
thought about,
but never said.
The monstrous wolf is spoken of like an illusion, thoughtless
yet I can’t shake your unapologetic physicality
an apparition, a ghost
yet heavy with flesh.

We go on searching for this monster
He’s everywhere, yet somehow nowhere
An alien, yet the monster lives just down the street
in my town
in my university
my head
my breath; heavy, insistent
The search goes on,
but it’s not a search, really.
It’s a ritual where we blind ourselves
again,
and again.
Dressing the man down the street in a costume,
so as to make him
more endurable,
less recognisable, except in terrifying fable.
So as to avoid admitting that these monsters are not principally monsters at all,
they are fleshy beings among us
whose monstrosity is borne
less from some supernatural realm
than from the world we see before us, impenitently human.


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