No Poetry About Love

The most terrible thing about it
     is not that it breaks one’s heart—
          hearts are made to be broken—
               but that it turns one’s heart to stone.

A shadow of my past dances
on the oyster-slick surface of
poison, slips past my posturing,
drops in, and darkens my glass, dampens my

spirit, drowns my ashes in clouds
of tears, drenches my ears, whispering leaked
secrets I have no need to hear,
turns to splintering cracks what bone

I bared and now I want you back,
drinking to my downing, if only you
would shoot me a glance, if only
No Regrets® gave us a second

chance at first impressions, but no
poetry about love is enough to
soak up this heart’s blood, this muscle’s
rotten meat of a broken inkwell my

talent closes off, an atrocity
of a spill, wounded vanity
exhibiting my veins, exploiting my
pain for strangers to drink with dry

eyes thirsting for my demise, paying for
a glimpse of the crashing of my
site, choosing my legend’s ending
before I can remove the tale’s

cautionary tape and review
their steerage of feet whose bruises
prove everything and nothing
true about what I lose whenever I

journey to a new whirl of your
mercurial mood and sink into you,
a disaster in a crowd and
your laugh somehow less loud than the

sound of my high’s coming down, ‘No
poetry about love—not now,
just kiss me,’ you said, ‘Save it for
the critics or your readers; they

get it—’ before forgetting every
line spun by the point of my pen
was a thread in the costume of
some needle-dicked prick of a hero who

dedicated his life’s work to
your myth, now my mind is a thief
romancing the knife, steeling memories
from us each, menacing with serrated

teeth those fragile things we keep buried deep
underneath fears and faith, in that
place I wait, weeping words only
the lonely take the time to contemplate,

these relics of saintliness your
code of manliness refuses
to let love translate, no monument to
our struggle unless we admit defeat.

1Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, preface by Richard Ellmann, notes by Jason Tougaw, published at New York by The Modern Library in 2000; page 69.