I swear never my heart to give again,
but locked away, letting it rest awhile
out of the air—a shoebox burial—
keeping its memory, so to forget
the unfulfilled future. It still won’t die.
I hear its thumping underground, beneath
the wet soft earth it pounds and pounds. It will
not go unheard. I fear at night for that
drumbeat, and in the day look worried still:
undertakers, quietly paid, may tell
the tale as that barber whispered the king’s
secret; so might I be revealed an ass
by corpses sprouting from their pits to sing
unhallowed chorales of my past mistake.
To love is a mistake: desire makes
asses by teaching us to love others
who, finding love too tough, lessons forsake.
The heart beats on, and without home searches,
as like wayfaring ghosts, for space to haunt.
This rotting heart, spreading its foul odor,
nightly awakes, this dreadful revenant,
to stand inside my room. No sleep may I
afford until its message sent, “Avenge
my foul murder,” and then sick dreams
—they once were sweet that now are tainted goods—
it sends to me. Desire comes, but it
pleases me not. I’ve seen through its sad mask
called love; I care not for its face. Let me
alone, current, O rising tide; divorce
me from humanity’s continual
drumbeat. I cannot love with undead heart,
save with the body sole, and without soul
what is that love except undying hell?
Thus will my song by generations go
unsung, and I, haunting the future from
the shadows, here erect my heart’s tombstone.
“But be at peace,” Heaven whispers to me.
“Erstwhile, began you with hopeless smiles,
whose untamed bloom, like fire, ate that small
foundation laid. Mask not your youthful love
in Freudian half-truths. Your crime: you loved,
and fitting punishment shall be you love
again. How could you learn the truth without
tasting the false? So let what’s dying die,
for from the grave will it arise anew”