The lamb has learned a lot about itself
but it has the voice and mannerisms of a toddler –
I learn a lot bout me! cheese and crackers
cheese and crackers! – and thus must it articulate
the sacking of villages, the leading of a cult,
reform of higher education, managing a string
of michelin starred restaurants, inadvisable
affairs, sotto voce in the corridors of power…
Nonetheless it is hard to sympathise:
Yes you are losing your mind but you are
losing your mind while being
fitted for a bespoke suit in the drawing room
of the well-appointed house you inherited
outright; this is what the rich mean when they say
wah! wah! we’re so rich and everyone hates us!
And the poor say you shouldn’t have educated us, then.
For it was better when we respected you.
Hear another parable: A rich novelist and a poor novelist
Both tried to write the same novel, it was a long novel,
It was called The Beautiful Sound of a Waterfall
and the epigraph was “The rich He hath sent empty away”
from the Gospel According to Luke,
and the novels got published and shortlisted
for the same award, and it was the last year
this particular award ran because the corporate sponsor
withdrew its funding (this was the lamb’s doing,
and it was marvellous to him). Now the lamb is destitute
and just flat broke – I am so committed to this institution! –
but that comes later. A trickle of interviews and to-camera
reflections which the rich novelist and the poor novelist
were required to shoot themselves on their mobile phones,
all the while – and had you whiskers you would feel it –
all the while nursing a little pearl of resentment,
a little pearl of indignation which had formed
so gradually it was hard to be sure of its origin,
but it was in the obligation, it was in the email:
I can imagine the sound of hooves so clearly,
but it is possible that my source is a movie;
that I am also imagining the sound of tape hiss
and editing it out. But it wasn’t until the night
of the announcement in a very flat room with
canapes served on separate spoons because
whatever you like betrays you, and I was there
and we were all saying, please, please authenticate me,
please grab me by the lanyard and drag me around
like a dog if only to create the illusion that someone
knows what’s best for us, please be my despairing mother,
(we’d started smoking again because we thought
we wanted to die, in the moonlight on a ground floor balcony).
The rich novelist and the poor novelist were very nervous,
very out of sorts, not their usual selves at all,
and while not enough has been done to distinguish them,
and I’d be the first to take ownership of that,
they were very nervous in very different ways.
What is God’s favourite circus act? What does that key open?
So what’s next? they asked the winner, later. Being
so misunderstood you’re understood?
A drum solo, I think, and something to change
how the body detects and responds to pain. When the lamb
looks in the mirror he sees a waterfall
but he is looking in a waterfall. Silly, misrepresented
lamb, so played out, so choked up, such a constant
over-calibrated state of alert; you must learn, sometimes,
how to fold yourself back in. But to what end?
says the lamb. And for whom? Given that none are worthy
of my weaponised respect. Ah, we will say then, ah,
we must stop giving the lamb these opportunities, ah,
now the lamb is starting to perceive.