Love and Words




Color me the black

of soil fed with death,

color me the red

of veins newly let,

color me without

shadows cast by light -

for I am the monster of forgiveness,

the demon of delight.

Even the dogs shy from me.

To them I must smell

of forgetfulness,

and as all dogs know,

to be forgotten

means to become cold.

But look how their masters welcome me,

with fatted calf and incense,

so enamored are they

with their gifts

that none, save the youngest,

notice the birds have ceased to sing.

The Elders take me by the hand,

leading me to their place of honor,

and seat me on a throne

made of children bound together.

They think I am a God,

and the only way they know

to show their love for a God

is by trying to prove

that nothing in life matters.

So they bring me wild gifts

that will grant them starvation

and give to me their children

to make of their futures

broken things.

All so they can gain from me

the forgetfulness of pain and deceit.

Even the dogs shy from me,

yet their masters cannot distinguish

a monster from a king.

Under my tunic I wear a circlet of tongues,

trophies I claim

when this seemingly


parade of gifts is done.

For what use this means for speech,

when you have given up your right

in the name of peace?


simple, simple people

who think all acts of love feel good.


It is this hidden rot

that the dogs can smell,

and even they won't risk

such spoiled food.

When the gifts are done,

and distress is gone,

the people whirl before my throne,

stopping only to open their

mouths and let me lean down

and bite off their tongues.

How drunk they get on a demon's kiss,

thinking they are in the ecstasy

of being blessed.


And the night wears on.

They forget me,

gods are only remembered

as long as their need.

Save the youngest,

who leads the oldest by hand.

I see how the child blocks 

the blind step

when the dance 

threatens to interfere,

then finds a new path 

and continues to draw near.


Such a faithful "dog" for a man 

near death to have.

The old

can no longer pretend,

they see me for what I really am,

and at last

are aware of what they have done.

Blind though he may be,

his gaze penetrates 

the circus around me.

"Give me back what you have damned!"

     he cries,

"For I will not die a lesser man."

     and he reaches out to touch my face.

I close my eyes as his skin finds mine.

First the tips

then with dawning wonder,

he cradles my head

and weeping,

all anger asunder,

he drops his touch

and stumbles from the room,

dragging youth after.

Had I a voice to call to him

that had not died from mis-use,

I would have kept silent

and cried tears of my own,

letting our grief mingle on the ground.

For at least he to dust

and forgetfulness can return,

while I am ever doomed

to remain on man's throne.

Powerless to turn them away

and cry warning

as they push on me

their baskets of offerings.

I am never more alone

then in the midst of this revelry,

this celebration of mankind

that is based in fallacy.

Before this makeshift throne,

they come each and their own

to lay out their tales of woe.

With a nod, with easy grace,

I give them their choice - 

suffer your decision

and keep your voice;

or bliss

and the loss of your tongue.


Forgive or forgiven,

you must be sure of what is done,

and if they seek me

for lack of will to decide,

then my attention they will receive

before the evening draws nigh.

My grace has the beauty

of the bitter asp.


They know this,

but take care to remain

carefully blanketed in chosen ignorance,

unaware of the energy they expend

in fencing cemeteries in their souls

large enough to hold their morals.


Do monsters rise from the dust?

Or do we make them

with our hands?

Was I always as such?

Or was I once a man?

Why don't you ask my children,

if you can get the dogs

to stop worrying their bones,

perhaps they can tell you

whether I have finally learned,

what must be forgiven

and what must be left alone.

Bless the gods who saw fit

to so deform me

that my lack of judgment

is written on my face.


And even though I gave away

my right to everything,

they granted me eternity

to witness the greatest

failure of the human race.

 And I live off their pain,

no longer mortal 

but monstrous in my claims.


But, I am fair.

At the last moment,

a minor god intervened

and gave me fairness

along with my poisonous needs.

I am fair because I offer them all

the choice to live as gods,

or accept my gifts and be devoured all.


No one seems to care,

that the gifts of the gods

are not lightly shared

and no one questions

when I show up at their door

with my moment of discomfort

and gifts abundant.

They celebrate my arrival

rather than face the struggle

to reveal what of the gods

lives within,

and before long it withers and dries

never to bloom again.

Rare is the village

that with torch and mob

chases me from the gate.

In these places,

somehow they were shown,

that forgiveness is not given,

but grown.


It is not something they can

barter and trade,

it makes no man good

and brings not a magic peace.

It is not spoken with simple words

but wrung from grief,

and is not meant for every thing.


I can usually smell 

these villages from afar,

for they reek of love 

and calmness and faith.

Their voices are almost always

raised in song

for not one of them

has given up their tongue,

thinking it made them a better man,

and monsters,

are not tolerated there.

Monsters are not wanted,

and so I turn away,

trying to resist the urge

to look just once

on what life could have been.

I gave up my right to that,

and while the gods

may have forgiven me

there is no way of going back.


I go on,

and will play my role of temptation

until mankind's time is done,

and then we shall all stand together

and answer

for what we allowed in our lives,

and what we learned

of the need to reconcile.


Color me the black

of soil fed with death,

color me the red

of veins newly let -

but learn to be wary should I appear,.

miss not

when the birds have stop singing

and the gathering 

absence of light,

for I am 

the monster of forgiveness,

the demon 

of delight.


decagon          poetry



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