Wild Man

by Stephen Kessler

I didn’t wish to be civilized
but the time came.
They took me from my cave
by way of a woman, and I left
my weapons, my collection of
hi-fi mating calls and the wall
where I painted in my own blood
pictures of what I hunted.
Gathering a few hides
for the long drive to the suburbs
I said goodbye to the sweet monsters
of my solitude and learned to walk
the streets on a leash and sniff
the breeze for signs of secret
wildness. Beasts like me
can survive in this Edenless
outpost because we keep close
to the vest our explosive love,
the high desire no advertising
can touch, which binds souls
and provokes contradiction
among critics who see
in such controlled passion
their own absent obsessions.
I came down but could not help
painting in blood.
The hunt continues.


Stephen Kessler Stephen Kessler's recent books include The Tolstoy of the Zulus: On Culture, Arts & Letters (essays, El León Literary Arts), The Sonnets by Jorge Luis Borges (as editor and principal translator, Penguin), The Mental Traveler (novel, Greenhouse Review Press), and Desolation of the Chimera by Luis Cernuda (winner of the Academy of American Poets' Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, White Pine Press).  He is the editor of The Redwood Coast Review.  Web site: