Clothed Coherency

What there is of me I wear outwardly
- wear myself inside out, and wear you out -
this monstrous labour of flesh and thought.
Grim gloom, mellow sadness, laughter
stitched together like a ragdoll's coat.

(The slave in the heat carrying the burden on his bare shoulders
which are slick with sweat, and hunched.
His naked back is open to the whip,
naked and shining like a fruit unsplit.)

So I have tugged my ragdoll's coat about me
pulling tight 'til the seams show white.
And all that I am in my threadbare essence
lies taut across me for the whip and the knife.

And should this coat be open or undone?
And I stand nude and shameless before you?
You wouldn't glance up at the planes of my body;
You wouldn't eat the pips of a nectarine
When the cumbersome flesh is so juicy.

Give me back my coat; take away my nude dignity
And make me naked in my clothed coherency.