Circe, I on Sanibel, Think of My Former Life as a Pig

by Duane Locke

Circe,
when you called it was raining heavily
Static came with your voice through the telephone.
I could see through the plate glass
the puddles in the yard, and the hibiscus opening for humming birds.
It was a Noah's flood, although there will be no new world.

You ask me, with a loving, lonely voice, how I was,
now that I walk upright and not on all fours.
Was I happy since Odysseus destroyed your magic and
charms, turned me from a pig back into a man,
surrendered my curled tail for a desk job and hemorrhoids,
exchanged my snout and hooves
for a large nose, an old, wrinkled face, too tight shoes,
my electric bristles for grey hairs that forecast my death.
Do I feel I am a success,
now that I have returned to the respectable life,
help open your secret island for progress and cultivation,
Dairy Queens, condominiums, tennis courts, and jewel robberies?
You cried when you told me how all the pines were cut down;
even the sea oats, sea plums, sea grapes were bulldozed to death.

Circe,
my darling, what could I say to you,
a man who once had the happy, rapturous life of being a pig,
rooting for acorns under ancient oaks,
caressing my sides by rolling in mud, but who surrendered to an illusion, egotism,
a lie in his mind that a man is more important than a pig.
Now a man again I am divided from everything,
even my words are trace structures and have to be erased.

Circe,
I will not ask you to forgive me for the mistake I made,
letting Odysseus make me a man again.
I will not ask you to forgive me for all the destruction
I caused when freed from being a pig.
What good is forgiveness when the crime is done.

Circe,
daughter of the sun, who touched me with a sprig of moly,
I do feel guilty and ashamed, ashamed and guilty before you,
for what I did when no longer a pig.
I aided in the destruction of an erotic paradise
to build a society that produced Playboy.

Circe,
you were maligned by Homer, a poet in hire
of the military aristocracy, who wrote propaganda
to favor the R.O.T.C., to praise generals and colonels
who in sex were impotent or homosexual, and
who would never become one with your body for transformation.

Circe,
Homer should have made you the ideal of Western civilization,
not Odysseus, the killer, who went from island to island
spreading the double standard, copulating princesses,
and any other who sang a song, while Penelope,
the Uncle Tom of women, weaved.
Odysseus taught the West how to have dehumanized sex
without love, without emotion, without involvement.

Circe,
I know this long distance call is costing you much money,
therefore I will not talk about the other Homeric hero,
Achilles, a trashy guitar playing rock singer
who thought Briseis a trophy to put on an overcrowded shelf.

Circe,
my darling, my dearest, perhaps your magic will return,
you will find another island
not ruined by man as yours and Sanibel.

Circe,
even if you cannot, if all possibility of paradise
has been removed from the earth by the sellers of real estate,
if all decent values have been destroyed by the lower,
the middle, and the upper classes,

Circe,
even if we must live among man's pollution,
his nuclear plants, his beaches littered
with fishermen, speargunning, suntanning, and beer cans,

Circe, Circe,
take me back again!

(From Nightsun #1, 1981)

Back to Nightsun

Back to Philosophical Poems