Your burning eyes are so intelligent,
fixing me with your gaze between the bars:
I am afraid of your feral power,
though you are held prisoner in this zoo.
I am a man and you a gaudy ape,
a hairy clown decked out in coloured stripes,
boastful red and blue flags both front and rear,
signalling anger or desire to pair.
Where is your harem now, you prince of clowns,
or were you captured too young to have known
the jungle joys of those swollen balloons
that baboons find so irresistible?
Like Bodhi Dharma in his cave you sign
that curiosity is not welcome,
your one-pointed sagacity a fire
of malign wisdom that we cannot share.
A social creature you now sit alone,
distilling thoughts of hatred and revenge,
waiting for a keeper's one careless move,
before striking out with canine razors.
Your eyes say you believe you are a king,
exiled from a steaming luxuriance,
our common birthright, where easy living
and sexual delight are close at hand.
Now, you take refuge in philosophy,
like me you wait alone for something new
that will set you free to become, at last,
what you and I were intended to be.
But we both understand those inner fires,
that feed upon dumb hatred and desires
for power that only philosophers
or kings may muse on in their solitude.
I am free to go, with my little clan,
to shuffle papers in my ministry,
and genuflect to tribal bugaboos:
alone, you chew on nuts and hatch your plan.