ARTillery

What if you have
a really big gun?

What if you have
a beautiful gun full of love and noise,
elegantly constructed,
cleaned and oiled

and you fire it once
in anger, and get such a shock
from the recoil, the smoke, the awestruck
eyes, that you pack
it away?

What if you have
a really stylish gun
but you’re scared of alienating
your scruffy so-called friends
so you hide it in your shed
and play instead with their bent little
air rifles?

What if you have
a really sexy gun,
but you let it pop only in a mock
battle, a demonstration
battle on a fenced, limited field,
unseen, unreported, far from the
action?

If you have
a really serious gun
and you take it out,
aim it high,
fight the biggest wars,
put it in the papers,
tweet it,
get it trending,
give it its platform,
its audience,

its culture

it’ll put a space
between you and the world
and you’ll spend your life
trying to cross that space
knowing you never can —

and they’ll come at you
with all their fire and acid. It doesn’t matter
which way you use it:

if you dare to point it
straight at the target
they’ll jeer at you —
artless, they’ll say —
naive, they’ll say —
they’ll try to spoil your aim
with their sniggering

but if you paint it with flowers
and ironic logos,
flick it playfully,
wave it joyfully,
they’ll say, nervously,

we liked you better when you were serious:
at least we could see where you were pointing
that thing

What if you have a
really undeniable gun

and you embrace
the awe and the space
it creates? Put up
the fansite,
the standard blurb,
the silent number,
the manager

to take the flak, the ack-ack, the ha-ha,
to create a diversion, cover you,
let you go to earth,

to piss,
to shit,
to strip off your skin,

to see yourself?

Will you know yourself
and therefore the world?
And will you make new shells?

Will you make new shells?
Will you make new shells
for your really big gun?

What do you think?