Evil--An Abridged Autobiography

by Gary Earl Ross

in the beginning was the worm
and the worm was without form
newborn and hungry and writhing
in the fledgling human heart—
i was the worm and you fed me
the wet purple strings of your own soul

hunger taught you to kill for your belly
but i taught you to kill for a belly laugh,
to wade through viscera with a smile—
jack-booted and wrapped in many flags,
gloating behind the many masks of god,
i have walked all the battlefields of time

i have watched you fall by the millions
beneath the studded wheels of imperialism,
manifest destiny, racial supremacy, caste systems,
class systems, ethnic cleansing, collectivization
and other blind ideologies—and laughed
while whipping my bat-winged horses forward

i lashed backs that built pyramids and grew fat
inhaling bloody dust in the roman colosseum—
i dined with vlad the impaler in a forest of death
and slipped into witchfinder dreams at salem—
i piloted the amistad and gave the sick to the sea
and held down the slave women i told you to take

i introduced poverty to women in whitechapel
and offered them a deliverance from hell named jack—
i taught rasputin to preach and lenin to write
and little joey stalin to rise above his stature—
i turned on the gas at auschwitz and treblinka
and later licked the cyanide from adolph's lips-–

from lynchings in america to suttee in india,
from plowing ruined flesh into cambodian soil
to sacrificing ogoni lives for nigerian oil,
from the extinction of indigenous peoples
to the honor killing of veiled rape victims,
i have been everywhere, caused everything

i shred hungry children and child warriors
with concertina wire boots—israeli, palestinian,
american, european, chinese, indian, african—
child appetizers in the endless feast of souls,
where i peel skin from history's sacrificial lambs
before tearing into them with yellow fangs

later i shoot out another mosque window and
pour smack into another vein, poison into another
sky, and anthrax into another envelope
before sharpening another box cutter and
boarding another plane—my next bomb
may be nuclear and i stop to think, why not?

i am a shadow parasite as old as time
a blood suckling as young as this instant—
i gorge myself on your fear and your hatred
i am pain-fed to ungainly size, swollen to
ungodly proportions but always small enough
to find another way into your heart

which i consume,
from the inside out

Originally broadcast on WBFO October 30, 2001