Shivering at my desk from cold that cannot be warmed by four sweaters, one of which is pretty thick, I must compose a series of words that say a great deal without saying too much and without being misread because not saying anything could make my head explode. I am a writer who writes, above all, of the sheer lunacy and terrors in the world — as well as the beasties that lurk at the very edges of our gazes, along the unbounded extremities of the imagination. It is the month of hearts for some. Yet a horror author, and a victim of horrors, can take such matters "to heart" and view them in a different light. Without warmth. With a blood-chilled perspective and a sharp-bladed wit that envisions the hazards and crimes committed in the name of Love upon the minefield of Life, where walking on your tiptoes doesn't do much good.
I have never enjoyed what could be termed a traditionally happy Valentine's Day, so you'll have to pardon me now if I choose to take a less cheerful slant on this tradition of exchanging hearts. Too many unkind things are done "out of love". There are numerous examples of supposedly caring persons who harm children, women, men, and animals. What's with all the hurting?
I wish that on Valentine's Day we could truly have a day of love where nobody gets hurt. Wouldn't that be grand? Wouldn't it be nice if everyone just kind of woke up and decided to be good to everybody else? As humans we are capable. It is a conscious choice.
The cold burns my skin. Cloaked in a blanket, I continue to type as a figurative frost surrounds me like a tomb-yard brume. It's February outside. In here it is just another day on the rollercoaster track of existence. Our ups and downs define us when we acknowledge them. Ignored or lived without reflection, they pass then fade and are forgot. Sometimes that's best. And sometimes it's not. Sometimes that which we survive needs to define us, in part. Too often it is our mistakes and failures that determine how we are perceived and even, to a degree, our Fate.
Sometimes we have to write, or dance, or wail. Sometimes it is a memory that assails, reaching out of the past, clawing like a handful of bones from the grave. Maybe it's an incident, or a chain of them. If you are cold like me, you understand. The only way to thaw is this: to release that which wounds, that knife through the heart.
It isn't all black and white, or a single shade of gray. Sometimes it's the intricacies we miss. Those little details added up or taken alone that can make a world of difference in what we thought was said or done. And then as time moves forward and confusion leads to silence, the moment can be past. Slipped through our fingers. Will it ever come again?
It might be a set of circumstances. A string of dismal luck. There could be other factors, other parties, an absence of trust or honesty, an array of causes and effects . . . all leading to the same conclusion. A bloody heart on Valentine's.
Intricacies are like slivers of broken crystal, as fine as threads of fiberglass. They can slice you to ribbons if you don't see them first. They can penetrate the lungs, the heart, the soul. They may blind you or invade your brain, carve it into confetti-sized shreds. And then the monsters come to gobble what remains, devouring the tattered gushing hearts that lie exposed.
Do not be surprised if they come for you.
Love without understanding will lead to misunderstanding. Guard well your feelings, your affections. And heed those intricacies. If you can.
There are words we regret
That come out upset
Words that fail to speak our mind
They can hang in the air
And continue to blare
Putting us in a terrible bind
Trust that intricate weaver
Whose chop like a cleaver
Can ribbon our words to mince
Flaying what we don't mean
Like a furious queen
Though the axenings make her wince
For the interest of Science
And lack of reliance
It's better to hold your tongue
Unless you are certain
It won't be your curtain
To express the excessive unwrung
I thought I had something
But then I had nothing
As quickly it came and went
It's tough to explain
How emotions remain
While perceptions are fraudulent
Everything turned around
And I lost what was found
But I really can't tell you why
Things happen, it seems
When truths become dreams
Without seeing eye to eye
There are lessons to learn
In the wink of a turn
As reality changes to dust
And we're left in a daze
Wondering was it a craze?
And if ever we can again trust
Never write without edit
You'll be sorry you said it
For the wording will not be clean
We must polish and buff
Even everyday stuff
To avoid saying what we don't mean
Even with idle chatter
For the feelings can get hurt
Comprehension may stumble
Circumstances might jumble
A tone can seem too curt
What you utter in candor
May lead thoughts to meander
Conclusions are drawn in a leap
Think twice before sending
Your messages pending
Or it's better to not make a peep!
A blackish knight by lantern light
Strode 'cross the murky moordred peat
With soggen gait did he frustrate
The trackers after his brusque feet
Alone he trekked and did reflect
On how he came to be so cruel
The lives he claimed who were unnamed
Would deem him nothing less a ghoul
He'd swiped the heads of all his deads
But for the sake of victory
An empty taunt, a heart to vaunt
Their lives were squandered for his glee
The kingdom next to leave bevexed
Would host a tournament renowned
Without his steed he was in need
So snatched a farm horse that he found
This blackest soul would play the role
Of suitor to Princess Portend
Whose honor knights would joust for rights
To woo and troth at tourney's end
Sir Anvil in rode drenched with sin
But to the court's immense surprise
Removing helm, did overwhelm
By teardrops rolling from his eyes
"I weep for love's elusive dove
For never knowing such a treat
My heart lies bare for you to share
Dear Lady, with the face so sweet!"
Spoke he these words, gone still the birds
And every ear was raptly tuned
For there was more that did outpour
A song of love his lips they crooned
"My Lady fair, if you could care
For such a wretched blasphemy
I'd give my heart, we'd never part
The beast subdued inside of me!"
The princess learned if he was spurned
That all would suffer his defeat
"I'll sack and waste in utmost haste
Till not a single breast should beat!"
Sir Anvil waited; she hesitated
The crown announced as his decree
"You shall contend for my Portend —
But fair is how the match shall be!"
The rules were set that must be met
Each man a valentine should bring
The strongest heart would stand apart
And give the lady thus his ring
That day a dark knight rode away
To contemplate what he could offer
Then back he came with his best game
The largest ruby from his coffer
"A jewel is cold and cannot hold
The endless love you promised, sir!
This will not do, be off with you!"
The princess ordered to the cur
Bleak Anvil drew a blade with rue
Yet he did not the lady stab
His own chest cleaved, the core was heaved
"There is your valentine!" his jab
"I give my heart pierced by your dart —
I've nothing more than that to give!
It's black and bloody, a little muddy
Accept it and I'll let you live."
His bleeding gist the princess kissed
That heartless knight she promptly wed
The realm would thrive with all alive
Except her spouse, who was quite dead.
Here is my heart, do not forsake it
Handle with care lest you should break it
Those who did not no longer breathe
For they were shot who made me seethe
The sawed-off barrel of my loaded pen
Delivers vengeance to all such men
The liars, betrayers, abusers and pigs
All must fall like brittle twigs
The arrow that flew from Cupid's bow
Straight to the heart as legends go
Has hurt and wounded and slain my love
There's nothing left to rise above
I thought I had finally found love true
But Cupid maimed me through and through
That little vermin is going to pay
For the heartache and anguish that won't go away
I'm setting a trap for the chubby rat
He's going to be sorry, I promise you that!
I plan to bake him in some tarts
And then I'll have fun with his poison darts.
One morning shrouded by gray mist
Five men were marched into the gloom . . .
Was the fourteenth day in the second month
That they were slated to meet their doom
A monstrous man by name of Drood
Would end their lives to feed his own
Hearts brimming ripe with love and joy
Rich sentiments he'd never known
A Valentine's Day massacre
That afternoon he claimed five more
And ripped the pumps out with bare hands
Then feasted, dripping from their gore
If he could not know love himself
Then he would steal from those who could
His badness stemmed from total madness
The villain had no drop of good
That evening he commenced to dine
When in the group he should behold
A man who never gave his heart
Whose feelings were but cold
This empty vessel caused a void
That spread throughout the length of Drood
With little substance to begin
It nullified his mood
The appetite for love was gone
His craving had subsided
He wandered off into the woods
Where he has since abided.