20 July 2012

Please, Let Me Introduce Myself

If you did not love me, 
I could not exist
And I love how you love me**

Long may you live 
in your delicious illusions
for my masks are plenty:
cream and candy 
and cod fish cakes
greed and gluttony
liquor of the grain,
grape and goober--
Ah !

Let us not speak of sin today
what really makes me grin
is my mask of wealth and taste

I shouted out,
Who killed the . . . [fill in the blank]
When after all
It was you and me *

And since then 
we have been busy, haven't we?
I need not list 
our games—
You have the Times and 
Inquirer and News
and multiple apologists 
this side of madness
and you love to tell
everyone who will listen
how to recognize me 
in deeds and dancing,
raps and rock, 
dress and nudity 
what true joy! 
this miss-information,
when truth is there
for all to see.

. . . if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste*

If you did not love me, I
could not exist
And I love how you love me**

I prefer the language of echo
and rut and nursery rhyme
the sing-song patterning
of alliterated  adoration
we say it all the time

If you did not love me, 
I could not exist
And I love how you love me—

I prefer the financial occupation
of lending and fines,
dispossession and 

the term is DE-
centralization this year—
we do it all the time

Gather ye rosebuds as ye may+
I say
If you did not love me, 
I could not exist
And I love how you love me**

Would you care to dance?

* from “Sympathy for the Devil” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Rolling Stones, 1968
**from "I LOVE HOW YOU LOVE ME"  by The Paris Sisters  ~ 1961 ~ Gregmark Records.
+ from poem by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Copyright © 2012 Susan L. Chast
Submitted to Apiary 8/30/2013


Kay L. Davies said...

Wonderful, Susan, you really got into the devilish details here. Well done!

Susan said...

I just realized that I didn't use the words "devil" or "Lucifer"! Without the prompt and the picture and music, I don't think it becomes clear until bout 20 lines in. Hmmm. I guess that works. Thanks for visiting, Kay. Your comment says it does work, I think!

Laurie Kolp said...

Interesting take on the prompt, Susan... I really like the back and forth debate.

Mary said...

Definitely an interesting take, Susan; but I will have to say it confused me....which your poetry usually doesn't. Smiles.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Let us not speak
of sin today...

We do not like to be reminded how much a part it is of our every day existences. You have given much thought to this excellent interpretation of the prompt, Susan.

Daydreamertoo said...

Most actors and actress's say that the bad guy always has the best part. I tend to think so too. Yes, I liked the back and forth debate in this. It still comes down to free will and, making our own choices though, doesn't it. Whether it's for good or for evil. My step father called any music made after the 1950's the Devil's music...lol
Lovely write.

Unknown said...

I was giddy when I saw the song!
Great take and I love the dialog.

Peggy said...

Your first lines (and its repetitions) hooked me. Your poem made me stop and think. And I have to agree: the Devil is a human creation in more ways than one.

Maude Lynn said...

This is absolutely outstanding! I seriously love this.

Brian Miller said...

If you did not love me,
I could not exist
And I love how you love me—

i like the repetition in that susan..i find truth in that...i think there is an enchantment to devils and it gives us an opportunity to live out a role we are often unwilling to take in real life...and lets be honest the bad boys also get the attention..something we learn at at an early age...smiles...

i did not catch a back and forth though i can see how some might think that with the back and forth from italicized to plane text....nice interweaving as well of the classical line and even the song...smiles.

Susan said...

Thanks Laurie! I set off the song's in a way that makes it seem like another person, but it's all the devil(s) talking to human collaborators. Actually, now that you bring it up, I kind of like the effect of a few devils taking turns singing/gloating.

Susan said...

Thank you, Kerry. Believe it or not, this started out as play!

Susan said...

Thanks Rene!

Susan said...

Thank you, Mama Zen. I'm not sure it would work without he Rolling Stones. Are you an old fan? a new fan?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love this...you show how the devil hides in plain sight and how, in many ways, we love it (or "I could not exist"). Oh, yeah..love that Rolling Stone's song too!

Susan said...

Yes, "the bad boys get the attention" and seem to be winning. In the public schools teachers are asked to make so many concessions I sometimes felt that we were teaching kids that everything is ok if you can get away with it. I'm glad the repetition works, I wanted it to sound slimy and Vampire-like, as in Dracula with the ladies. The devil is always so hungry!

About the voices, Brian, thanks for telling me what you think. I see what you are saying. I think I might try blending the lines in with the same size and font. Of course, then I will need quotation marks which might be just as bad.

Susan said...

Thanks, Peggy. That is exactly the reaction that I was hoping for!

flipside records said...

I really like this:

"and multiple apologists
this side of madness"

Susan said...

I made a few tiny little alterations which may make it run a little more smoothly.

Susan said...

Compared to artistic depiction of devils, being good is almost boring. Look at Dracula and Van Helsing! I thought more of gloating and glee than debate while I was writing this though. My folks also saw the Stones as "Devil's music" but I think that was because the sound kept them from hearing the words to what is a actually a protest song, and definitely a warning. It's one of the few Stones songs I truly like.

Susan said...

I've never tried to imagine the voice of the devil before. It might help to see this all as one voice bragging.

But why shouldn't pure evil confuse us? I pretend to understand it by taking on the role, but in reality, I am always bewildered and wounded by humans killing, neglecting and profiting within our own species.

Susan said...

Thanks. Yes. Scarey.

Marian said...

yes, yes! and i love "the language of echo."

Susan said...


Fireblossom said...

First of all, it is only fitting that someone include this song with their offering for my challenge. I'm glad that you did!

I love the idea of the masks and the fulminating over dress and music when that's not the real evil at all. A little truth mixed with a big lie, that's the recipe.

I also love the sly fitting in of the line from "To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time". Lastly, I wonder if you were intentionally echoing the innocent old pop song in the "love how you love me" lines? I expect you were, and the way it's used makes them chilling. Altogether beautifully done, Susan. Thank so much for gracing FBF with this.

Susan said...

Here you are! I just had this posted under my name--something is definitely not working right.

You GOT the formula, of course. I know "I Love How You Love me" from The Lettermen in the 1960s. I think, after all, I should look for it and post it here if it exists on You Tube. I LOVE that you liked what you read in this post--I have been devilishly curious, and now I am happy.

Mystic_Mom said...

Susan - what else can I say? I think Wow covers it after all these great comments. :-)

Susan said...

Thank you for visiting, liking, and letting me know.