Crux Upon Crux

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(Dated 5/4/09, shortly before college graduation.)

The lone-eyed harpy and the falsetto-faced siren are
commiserating and it does not bode well for our
misshapen protagonist.
It does not bode well at all.

Swapping war stories and cutting the same well-worn notch
in the same martyred table with the same beastly blade.
The conversation never strays and neither do the curses,
directed with purpose for punishment’s sake even though
that debt has been paid twice over.

A bottle gets passed with the blame and neither is ever
emptied.
No distractions here–this is important work.
Otherworldly, ghostly, impish, and unholy work,
the kind that’s never truly finished because it’s always
just beginning.

It would be darkest before dawn if time had any
meaning here.
But it doesn’t and it never will, least of all for the
lone-eyed harpy and the falsetto-faced siren,
who slouch diligently over their ledgers like
shadowy, fiendish bookies.

Forlorn transgressions pile up like filth in a rubbage heap,
all the more frightening for their number,
all the more damning for their character.
The bottle passes hands but the blame stays put.

Hot many lashes from the lone-eyed harpy?
How many floggings for the falsetto-faced siren?
How many broken bones, tender bruises, bad tattoos,
faked tears, rotting teeth, battered spirits, bloody fingers,
gray hairs, and revisionist nightmares do they demand?

How many more can I give?
My bottle’s emptied and my song remains the same.

“She’s so many women; he can’t tell the one who was his friend.
So he’s hanging on to half a heart; he can’t have the restless part
and he tells her to hasten down the wind.”
Warren Zevon: “Hasten Down The Wind”

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