The Cruel One

by Thomas R. Smith


T.R. Smith

He loved to tear the wings
off flies and watch them
hobble in terror and confusion.


Hed remove all the legs
on one side, so they could
pull themselves only in circles.
Observing his glee, we sensed
we were nothing more to him
than a larger kind of fly;
he tore our wings in different
ways, recited lascivious cruelties
and poisoned our empathy.
At drunken parties in high school
he boasted of roping cats
between the fenders of parked cars.
One could guess that hed
been pulled apart himself,
though he resembled someone
in all of us, the cruel one,
self-absorbed and vengeful, for whom
the sometimes - yes, sometimes -
no of beauty is intolerable.
What began as a natural desire
for closeness to creatures, for
love, has become a demand,
then an active hostility
at last a soul-withering pleasure.

       © 1997 by Thomas R. Smith

Hear MP3 WebCasts from a reading by Robert Bly and Thomas R. Smith, editor of the first United States anthology of Alden Nowlan's poems, When He Went to the Store for a Loaf of Bread.

Other Poems by Thomas R. Smith

This appeared in:
The Dark Indigo Current
Holy Cow! Press
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Affectionate Witness, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem, published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current, was first published in M.E.N. Magazine.

The Boy Who Crawled, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem, published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current, was first published in M.E.N. Magazine.

The Reply, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current.

The Road to Kenora, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current.

Admiring My Father, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's most recent book, The Dark Indigo Current.

My Father Promised Me a Sword, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem first appeared in M.E.N. Magazine, and was published in Mr. Smith's first poetry book Horse of Earth.

The Boy Who Crawled, by Thomas R. Smith

Come In from the Rain!, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem originally appeared in M.E.N. Magazine, and was published in Mr. Smith's first poetry book Horse of Earth.

Late for Thanksgiving Dinner, by Thomas R. Smith. This poem was published in Mr. Smith's first poetry book Horse of Earth.


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