Armor is the last thing I need!
A childhood's pain built up these walls
So thick that love can scarcely touch,
Home and family muffled echoes.

A helmet unneeded for this dense head
That never learned to share the grief,
Except by dealing its own part
To those who least could handle more.

A shield scarce can guard a body
So broken by a life's abuse,
And yet so used to break in turn
That it deserves your worst blows now.

A sword, you say?  Who needs a sword
Who has a tongue sharp as a razor,
A wit as caustic as boiling lye,
To aim a hurt so keen an eye?

Well, if I must.  To the field then.
Call the names, salute the throne:
And pity the poor innocent
Who comes to meet me, seeking sport!

—San Diego
19-21 December 2000
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