Letter to… from a Classic Archetypal Dope, January 4, 1960.

Letter to… from a Classic Archetypal Dope, January 4, 1960.

by T Wignesan

Now as I account for myself
I know the fight is over
You made me feel if I was worth saving
I was worth having
And I knew as the man flattered to grow
He also learned the crafts of
Clinging on to his sleazy self

When we have to account for ourselves
When we have to take stock of the unaccountable
When we have but ourselves to account for
When all but you and I alone are left
Amid the crowds that hover at my presence
     In your eye
Amid the lashing lolling tongues
Amid the squelching claws of distrust
And the deriding press of after thought
What are my lean-throated words
What are my bleating pleas of
When we have to account for ourselves
In the awakening stillness of other judgment worlds
What account do we have for ourselves
But the rabid thirst of a search
When we may have met in this or that town
But in this land and in this continent
    This world
           This incarnation
                   This temporal crevice

You in the fresh burst of put-up discovery
I in the aftermath of debunking rediscovery
Time was then held alike that summer
Growing only to fruition in our recognition
My senses were growingly numb from blunt use
Burning when the electric fondling
Dared enter and worry the dusty corners

I saw you then
Not as the strapping dash of bubbliness
Nor as the plaitted innocence of schooling youth
Trundling the scenes of covertly revisited crimes
Forming with others the dutiful good habits
Nor as the tall preening blot of shyness
At the hedge of a group picture
Fronting a personality
Dicing friendship
Simulating elder precepts
Feeling your maidenhood pulsate in reveries
Testing its beat upon hidden hay heaps
Nor as the pure shaft of consciousness
Thrusting into the wake of frightfulness

                                                                 I saw you
Only as a parcel come to me in mortal need
In a prelatic bestowment of fruits and tins
The salt and pepper of spicy tables

                                            I saw you come to me
In disguise well wrapped and well meant
I saw you come to me
That low day of my life
As a parcel bound in the selfless vines of veins
As the blood of transfusion
As the hope of persistent verse

It was one big inconsumable heart that arrived
Unnamed and unasked for
                And I stood and stared
        Stared and stood
No longer in unbelief
I did not live from victuals coursing through
I lived and thrived from gorging one
Insuperable unknown heart

From that moment onwards
Not when the fingerless muscles unclasped
The indented bones
But from that moment of knowing
From that very moment of sustenance
That day of human unbelief died unsung
And the depth of human grief buried long
Bestirred a momentous song

It willed within me it were man
   Some kindly soul no less
But in surfeit laid aside
   The biscuits of distaste

It willed within me it were some organisation
   Hurrying to the bed of despair
With the spare crumbs of conversion
   The Holy Infant to succour

I willed then it were a friend
   From want of excuse to teach
His fooling heart to bleat
   Robbed his conscience of a treat

I willed and willed and never
   In my thankless memory
Sat the image of my enemy
   The fulcrum of my singular division

And when that day I delved my depths
   To find the words of irreproachable thanks
I saw you turn and stamp the light
   Of my begging steps of penance

                                I turned, rebuffed
Should I have turned and gone
Away from the stony snarl of thanklessness
Away from all that I saw in that
One inseparable act
Away from my insurrection
From the illimitable doubt of humility
Far away from all the coquetry of cunning

No man was divided more
   Between himself and self
Between life and cherished death
   Astride on the unwelcome threshold of emptiness

I had come out of dying
   And yet the chained stick of fate
Was certain to unravel for me
   No less, no more, the vicious sting of hate

And revived with urgency's gratitude
Twice over, reconditely, I was blessed

Did you not notice then
How uneasy I was in the eye of abundance
How hiding from the surfeit of joy
From whose very object I
                       learned not to cry

And so all through with fear
Fear opening fresh fear
Without respite, without cause
Deft day handling stolen night
Within the walls of our breath
Smarting, whining
Nudging through illusory pretences
Waking and making our presences
Forever shy of ourselves
As if all this were not true
Heart closing on the heart
Excreting gratitude

You have done your part
What more could I ask
Could you then blame me that I fought
Every step of your way to me
For what I was worth to you
I was ready as a knave to soot

And when indeed you took a man to wed
You took a slave and a man to bed

Though we account for ourselves
And whatever we have accounted for
We do not take ourselves apart
And when we have to account for ourselves
                       between you and me
Then what we have to account for is three
You, the slave, and the man or me

But when we have nothing to account for
There is but one lonesome count

And so you came to me
A thwarted child
and you told me

You …. Me


T. Wignesan



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