~~Man in Black and Red~~

A dull chuckle:
such cold,
such cruel
bitter irony--
why did this happen?
How could it
end like this,
how could it
An echoing click,
cock of the pistol--
put the gun
down idiot.
Nowhere to aim,
nothing to shoot
but your eye,
frostbit mahogany
in pale cold flesh.
Soft repetition:
Poe's raven
calmly rapping--
stop drumming your fingers.
You said that gun
keeps you calmer,
stop being
so nervous.
Staring blindly
into oblivion,
into forever
impassive like always.
Alas poor Yorick;
but then you never did
care for him--
like Hamlet and Macbeth
too bright,
too cheerful
for your darkness;
perpetual sorrow,
morbid philosophy.
You sigh deeply,
like that last
resigned breath
of a dying man--
what could trouble you?
Hidden so safely,
so well
by a mask of white ice,
beneath ebon hair and clothing;
behind crimson cloth
pulled before your
dead smile.
The Red Death has
nothing on you.
Gaze locked blankly
out the window,
not seeing
the graffitied wall
four feet away--
what is consuming you,
who are you waiting for?
You're not so cold
as you pretend,
but no one would say so--
watching your frail skeletal hands
clutch the sill,
splintering wood
like dry bone
without thought
or effort--
of your burning ice eye,
of your Reaper's touch
and bullet's sting.
It's been seen:
that twitch of your eyelid,
minute flinch
of measureless pain
at the mention
of her name;
or at the strange twist
in her signature,
the slightest sign
of her handiwork.
Romeo and Juliet
at least had
a happy ending:
both dying,
both still loyal,
still loving forever.
But not for you,
no fairy-tale finish--
left with depression,
with anger,
with a bloodless heart
and memories of betrayal;
nothing to hold,
no proof that she lived once
(or that you did):
only a photo
of a woman in white,
crumpled and worn,
from being held
and wept over.
Someone here before
was careless--
a newspaper
laying there open
beside you;
the picture,
the name in the article
must burn you,
no wonder you stare
so intently out the window.
Could you possibly
still blame yourself,
knowing now
what you do,
that the child
was another's?
Do you feel responsible
for her death,
her pain,
for being so distant
it forced her
away from you?
That position
must be familiar--
the way the gun that she gave you,
so lovingly polished,
rests calmly
against your skull
looks practiced.
One can almost
the mirthless twist,
the gunmetal cold
of the dead smile
you must
be hiding,
how very cliche
the whole scene is:
weren't you told
to put the
gun down?
What would she say
if she were here now,
if she could see you
so tortured
and desperate?
Those words
hit home,
almost visibly
drawing blood
from flesh
with such precious little:
a twitch,
your dark eyes
finger tightening
on the trigger
so very perceptibly
it's a wonder
that thing
hasn't gone off yet.
Is that a prayer
for once
that you whisper,
or once more
her name
on your lips;
once more
your plea
for her forgiveness,
your promise that nothing
could be
held against her,
for any hard
you harbored--
are you hoping
as you speak so
that she will
be listening,
be waiting for you
when you make
your decision?
Wasn't it her
who turned away
in the first place;
who left you behind
still believing
she cared for you,
blind or indifferent
to the pain
truth would bring you:
What makes you think
she would care
any more now?
None of these questions
would any
dare ask you;
and held
by your gaze
so abstracted,
by your inhuman eyes
of old blood and
of shadow.
Such deceptive peace
pervades the room now--
broken only
by the deafening silence
of your absent heartbeat,
by the echoing whispers
of your soundless breath:
you've never stood
so indecisive
this long before.
A sound of thunder
ricochet snapping
crashing down
on the floor--
and you are gone,
vanishing out
to the storm and the shadows,
the twilight and rain
no one noticed
were falling.

~(c)1999 The Mad Poet (A.K. LaBelle)

For K.V.--
May he someday find
peace in his deafening silence.