Caroline hadn’t had much of a life up until now: no friends, no dreams, no real interests. When she had first arrived in the city, she had hung out at these odd little cafes where people would get up and slam.
Slamming, or poetry slamming, or spoken word art generally, was an odd new trend where people would compete by standing up and reading their poems aloud, depending more on rhythm and flow than rhymes and structure.
Caroline tried it one particularly depressing night with no great success.
We Are Base
by Caroline D.
Have you considered the beast that’s inside you?
The animal that lurks
and screams from inside?
Have you considered,
letting it out, letting it ride
across the savannah?
Tearing, rending, chewing, spitting,
trying to derive some sustenance from the
meager flesh of the animals that scurry and hurry and pretend they are doing something important,
Those pathetic weak and childish beasts that swirl and spin
clogging your minds with the dust of their travels and leaving you nothing but a gritty taste on your lips and a brain filled with the stink of their passage.
Have you ever wondered
if you could survive on their leftovers,
the remnants of their lives, the sadness and the pain and the failure and defeat
Of your fellow man who thinks,
That he, or she, or it
is better than you,
I’ve never wondered.
I’ve never had to.
cannot be caged,
my beast cannot be held back,
my beast cannot be denied.
From the moment I was conceived,
my beast has roamed,
and run away.
My beast has lost and won
and lost again.
My beast has survived on the leavings,
scavenged the corpses of others less strong,
gnawed on the edges of their success
My beast has known hunger and desperation and fear and emptiness.
My beast bears the scars of the struggle,
the aches of constant failure
and the price of its existence.
But my beast survives where others
lie in heaps and piles and mounds and walls
of bleached-out bones and scraps of fur
and the small, tiny treasures
that every beast, every soul,
carries with it
to the end.
I once considered recalling the thing,
bringing it home to rest,
to curl up in the warmth of my mind
content, peaceful, happy with itself
Full of hope and sustained by the future.
I once considered caging the animal inside
And feeding it
And caring for it
and loving it
And trying to make it,
But I hate the beast
I hate its teeth, its claws, its smell
and I hate the way it hungers and slathers and whines and
round and round trying to get comfortable
trying to rearrange my mind to suit its dirty needs,
its slimy, selfish, horrid ways
I hate the beast and so
I cast it out.
work for me,
bring me its tribute,
Who cares about its victims,
who cares about their lives
No one cares about
Not even me.
So if you’ve ever wondered
What it would be like
to set free the animal inside
and free yourself from the pain
of cowering in fear of your own soul
don’t fear, don’t hide,
don’t dither and dodder or wither and whine about
why or why not or how, or what or when
Set free the caged creature, just cast open the gates
There is no need to worry
Leave the prey to their own