Poet’s Nook: “Civilized” by Caitlin Johnston


They sailed out centuries ago to tame the godless savages
and teach them how to die by gunfire instead of spears
like proper Christian gentlemen.

They brought cages made of plague.
They brought cages made of bullets.
They brought cages made of words,
dead words, dead men’s words.

And now the world is Civilized,
with proper Civilized chainsaws and drones
and proper Civilized doomsday weapons,
and the rainforests and our sexuality are Civilized
and dead.

And now we are all Civilized,
with hearts unable to feel
and eyes unable to see
and loins girded with chastity belts made of shame
and minds girded with chastity belts made of Hollywood.

With Instagram souls and Botox chakras
and clumsy crayon drawings of sex on Pornhub
and affordable streaming video services
that show your face getting stomped on
by any boot of your choosing.

With vision obscured by the words
of parent and preacher and teacher and news man
whose best guesses were only ever as good
as a newborn infant with psychosis and amnesia.

Do not stay here.

Do not stay in this cage.

Let your beasts uncivilize you.

Let your beasts summon great change.

Let your beasts release Pan.

Let your wolves howl asunder the lies of civilization
and the slander you’ve been fed about your own nature.

Let your raptors rip through the scales of doctrine and decency
that have been placed on your eyes by the civilizers.

Let your leviathans shape your deep waters
with their song.

Let your cicadas buzz your sex up your spine
and carry the refuse of civilization out your mouth
in a geyser of white light humility.

We are too big for cages.

We are stampedes in skin suits.

We are hurricanes with pants.

We are volcanos with vibrators.

We are a disaster waiting to happen.

A glorious,
uncivilizing disaster.

Prepare your beasts, beloved.

These bastards have no idea what’s coming.


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