The Crossroads

There was a string of kings in Chicago / and I knew a few of them

Illustration by Benoit Tardif

The devil will open his mouth
and invite you in.

Carry a chicken bone, or a lion’s paw.
Prepare a pot of hot soup.

Feed him and you’re off the hook,
but if he’s hungry, things begin

to happen. Be cool. Freeze
your face into a mask.

No matter where you go
there are people of power.

There was a string of kings in Chicago
and I knew a few of them.

There was a group of us
and I wasn’t a part of it.

I left. I met the President
of the Middle of the Road.

He wore a T-shirt advertising
rotten food and lousy coffee.

Then the bird of my mind

The bird of my mind
returned to find

its nest was a mess.
I ingested my ancestors.

144,000 delusional godheads
marched through my radiant inner city.

Now I serve the elders with both hands
and I let the fruit ferment on the branch.

This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.

Damian Rogers
Damian Rogers is a former poetry editor at The Walrus and the author of the forthcoming memoir An Alphabet for Joanna. This essay is adapted from a speech she gave at The Walrus Talks Living Better last fall in Toronto.

Fund the journalism we need now

In turbulent times, it is crucial that reliable media remains available to everyone. From vaccine misinformation to political polarization, the challenges our society is facing today are too important for half-truths. If you trust The Walrus, we ask that you consider becoming a monthly supporter. Your donation helps us keep The Walrus’s fact-checked online journalism free to all.