“Just call this a self-ode,
for no one could love me more than me,”
he announced with a broad gesture
at the expansiveness of his ego
which I had generously agreed to tour.
“This monument took great pains to build,”
he continued in an almost spiritual oration,
“Love is nothing if not sacrifice.
Of course, no one else who helped build
this great edifice wanted to live in it.”
Then his demeanor shifted gravely.
“What did they expect from me?
My worthy self-confidence attracted them
to begin with. However, they wanted,
nay demanded my affection too.
A weakness. Shouldn’t they know?
I am not a man to give things for free!”
Finally, I asked him why he’d invited me here.
“For the future,” he answered magnanimously,
“The cruel veil of history will eventually
fall over this place as it will my bones.
It must remain occupied. I need your attention.
Someone should ever tell the tale of this place.”
Not I. No, definitely not.
As I drove home from that monstrous gallery,
that exhibition of casual nihilism,
an urge welled up in me, compelled me
to seek out someone lonely and full of sorrow
so I could wrap my arms around them
and whisper words of comfort.
Perhaps I felt guilt from indulging that madman,
from touring that hall of gratuitous suffering
which had stoked my empathy into a blaze.
I was merely covering my own sadness
as I drove that road back alone.
Copyright 2014 by Michael Marsters.
All rights reserved.