We Came and We Conquered

We came and we conquered,

And the muck that we formed

Our empire on top of,

Seeped into our clothes,

Into our brains,

Our mind.


It suffused and colored

Our new idea of what it meant to be alive,

And the knife we drove into

The subcontinent,

Went straight through.

Only our arm landed,

And She embraced us.


I am western,

White, Judeo-Christian.

In my country,

A man goes to school

To clear out the muck.

But She crept in and colored

All the halls of my mind.


In my country,

A man goes into business,

And makes deals,

And trusts the scientists

When they say that satisfaction,

Has parameters,

Is definable and manageable.


And those ideas are comforting,

And I studied western psychology,

My tenure in the New Religion.

It is as if I am at the edge of a short pier,

Looking out into the great, endless ocean,

Lavender, calm, uproariously mysterious,

And the people who taught me,

Who theorized before me,

Who gave us stages and types and parameters,

Are all holding me back,

As I drive, press forward, tilt over the edge of the pier.


“I want to jump into the sea!”

I scream, crying terrifying tears of ecstatic desire.

“That is not the way!” They say, cajoling me.

“You are limited and your discoveries don’t count.

You didn’t follow procedure, so your work is discount, nefarious.

You must be wholly objective, and your subject keeps getting in the way.”


“No! You are speaking of Him! You’ve come to convince me He’s dead,

And we are just accidents in a random universe that does not love me.”

I am low, and suffering greatly, trying to escape their clutches,

Until I realize;


Until, like a movie,

They all stop and back away a step,

Calm, not speaking, affect flat.


Confused, I turn from the sea,

And see that they are all me.

I touch their faces, each.

No reaction.

What grace has stopped their efforts?

I realize that these voices are me,

Bits of other people’s ideas,

That I let slip into my mind,

And like sand in the desert wind,

They wash away into the daylight,

As soon as I expose them as invaders.


Now, I am left alone at the pier, jutting out timidly into the sea.


I dive in,

And am no more.


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© Steven Sanfilippo