Here you will find the Long Poem Excerpts From the Diary of Damocles of poet Bill Knott
I don't dare speak too loudly, some timbres could be fatal-- that string is not too strong I think: and at times I have to breathe. Or maybe I fear my paraphrastic exhalations will spoil the oiled perfection of its sleekness, will mist over that brightness whose needle sharp point compasses my every stray. I am as edgy in my way as it-- as little-rippled, as subtle. Prey to vapors, to sudden icecap thaws, seismic dicethrows, the world wires me, I hex myself up to a pitch of infinite finicky sensitiveness, alert to every window opening down in my castle's bowels, every mousehole emergence. A simple housefly--a moth murders my rest when it mistakes for light that glittering blade in which every passing glint is glassed--barometer of my highest apprehension. * I know my fear is only a ploy, a sticking point in the old hairsplitting debate of the winds . . . I the first split personality divide into a Dam/an Ocles, a mother and her myopic son. Or, since everything is reversed in its mirroring shaft, a Selcomad, mad and sulky. Language does this to me. It inverts my position: King I am, but await my crown, unmanned until it come down; my kingdom lies in twain to each, I am in half to all. * If only I could reach up, up, and take it in my teeth, suckle that penile projection, cloister its unremitting hardness in the sheath of my throat-- swordswallower who exalts his posture with this adjunct second spine, aligning gut with palate, my groin with my height. * Male means to be in the crime of things here, this frail planet killed wide, maimed down. Male means murder, rape and war. Its indomitable will will not allow approach. All broach will fail. It must fall on you or not at all. * Insane, isn't it? History hangs impregnable to the mind, eager to halve your brain with rift, intrusion and strife, the warrior's dissonance. No whole is hallowed, no peace. Don't let the humor of this scene (when the phallus falls the fears recede) attend you away from its cruelty. * I stand here exposed to whose justice, my crime my Y chromosome. That Y aims his prick point down at me. A dowsing wand that seeks my artesian quench, my depths of death. His insistence sustains me in steel, his encased incursion covers my melt, my metal. Each day he rights me: his richterscaled tremors are my weather, my wherefore: his gloss his gleam condemns my fortunes, his ore loads my gold with schist. His soliloquy interrupts mine at every word. Linebreaks enforced by sword, his poem sunders my rhythm. All mine at last is made him. His blade remembers my name . . .