I know you always saw yourself a knight
But I did not realize for a long time
That I was a page.
You were my sparring partner
Who taught me to come at the world
So no one could out-shoot me.
You told me,
And I know,
That Justice wears a blindfold because
She slashes her sword indiscriminately,
And looks at that scale
You always saw yourself a lawman
I always saw you as a fool.
I never realized I learned law
At your feet.
Fallacies and ways of
Drawing out argument and diatribe,
Loopholes of morality through which
You taught me to be technically correct,
The best kind of correct,
Always exploiting but
Always within my jurisdiction.
I only know now I was a deputy
To a sheriff of ridiculous stature.
You taught me THE ART OF WAR.
It was engraved in stone for me
Like an all-caps Roman monument.
THE ART OF WAR
Is sprawled across a stone archway in my mind
Where you came, and you saw.
It marks your conquest.
You made it my way of loving,
Of relating to the world and the people around me.
You made me a martyr and mercenary,
Standing atop a hill in golden armor,
Sunlight behind me and wind in my hair,
An avatar of Durga,
A disciple of Joan of Arc,
A four-year-old poses in chainmail
You wrought for her.
Illusions of grandeur such as your own
Come with this territory.
You taught me
As your mother and father
THE ART OF WAR-
That love is just begrudging words of sweetness
Issued only after ruins lay all around
And both parties are sufficiently vulnerable,
Their bricks having been pried away with crowbars.
Love is only an apology given to mollify
The wounds you have already wrought.
The only privilege loved-ones are afforded,
Is the bandage that covers up the customary
That is your normal face.
You and I only ever knew love as
You clipping my wings
And I breaking free to spray
The shrapnel of those chains
Into your face.
We added to each others' pile of scars.
It was so rare for us to run into battle together,
On the same side,
Voices as one in a battlecry.
I don't even know how long it's been since
Us soldiers-for-hire got hired
By the same team at once.
You cast me out of steel
Like a sword.
And now I am the legendary blade
Destined to clash against you for all eternity.
We will only ever know ceasefires
Of a day in length.
We will run through the flame,
And we will practice the art
You taught me.
When I was five years old, my father's favorite hobby was making chainmail. He made a coif sized to his head, and put it on me, and had me pose fiercely. He took a picture because it was so cute. Now he doesn't make chainmail anymore; he has built his own forge and learned to cast metal.
My father and I are both fond of writing poetry. He once wrote a poem about anger management problems, the first line of which was "beware the page whose master is rage."
He has a tattoo of a soldier of fortune skull, whose empty eye sockets I used to poke with my tiny fingers.
He has worked as a combat medic, and as a corrections officer, and as an EMT, and as a security guard, and as many many other kinds of people. He was an aimless shiftless jack-of-all-trades before he was my father, and he knows it, and he very much sees himself as a soldier of fortune, a knight, a contractor of combat.
He knows the law well, from his amateur studies of it. He is very much "up" on law that concerns guns and all other manner of slings and arrows. He knows the penalties for assault and battery and homicide and manslaughter and countless other things. Because he likes to argue law so fiercely, he often takes the same knowing and devious tone in personal arguments. He has read "The Art of War" by Tsun Tsu. He recommends it.
His family was not kind to him growing up; I don't think they knew how to be kind. He is not kind with others, because he does not know how to be kind. He is always fighting and struggling and feeling himself pursued and oppressed. He is his own prisoner in a string of meaningless personal battles.
When I was ten, he and I made an agreement that we wouldn't argue for that whole day, and we would be kind and gentle to each other. And we were. And we knew that one ceasefire of a day in length.
He is a Scorpio, and I am a Sagittarius. There is a myth about the great scorpion pinching the centaur's arrows out of the sky; he clips the only wings the centaur knows. He steals the only way he sees to fly.
My father the lawman, the soldier for hire, the knight, dressed his page in armor he wrought himself. He cast a sword to fight back at him. He clipped the wings of his celestial neighbor. These metaphors are so personal. You can't know what they mean unless you've lived in my house.