Question & Answer 4 – Todd Swift

Question 4

Do I know much
about MKUltra? It depends on how meta
phorical you want to be. Do I know about
the mind control, the drugs,
the removal of senses? Only from reading
into my therapist’s transference
and a loose grasp of what counts as a source
on Wikipedia. Though I can tell you
what it was like to be forced into the captain’s
hydraulic valves, how to mop the blood
from my epaulets, grab whatever oxygen was left
and return to the mess pretending
that I’m a man,
or a boy,
or somebody who wasn’t just stripped
and stripped of their dignity
one hundred odd meters
below the surface of the Atlantic.

[I’m not a victim, not yet a survivor. I’m not a victim, not yet a survivor, I’m not a victim, not yet a survivor. I’m not going to spend my life repeating a mantra as some sort of faux-transcendent charm. Yxu are the charms.]

I know I’m a sucker for father figures, I’ll take
Alcimus’ son in any form, whether
Athena or loser. Every single one turned Mentes
with the stubble rash still fresh on my face.
Beards are for winner, as is coffee and hope. Second place
gets regret, and checked for a disease lost in a lack
of consent. Burst
transmissions, sent VLF in the hope that somewhere
in 41,100,000 square miles
somebody cares.

Spoiler: they didn’t.

[Are you the charms? Am I Telechamus in trouble? Are you a dishcloth gently sent to sea?]

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

Sons, fathers, a battering ram
A guttering wick
A promise to avenge
A punching hinge,
And always the besieged
Mother, between Helen
And a siren; and the loins
Of each complicated
By agonising love,
Indisciplines of flesh
Or the thought in flesh;
And sin, in the end
Is answered by death;
No riddle left in the grave;
Just the bones of fathers,
Laid end on end,
As they laid our others,
As they impinged
While alive, then evaporated,
So much smoke.
A father never kills you
Before engendering
In the stones of Troy
The reasons you thrive
Despite his despoiling;
Sons, the crouching
Quasimodos, entirely
Dismayed, subdued,
Under the maledom
That’s dad; with kiss
Or buckle, they beat
The light of Athens
Into your Spartan skin.

– Todd Swift