#FridayFlash: A Fool As Thee

Can there be
A fool as thee?

Thou art mad,
For thou hast had
In thy palm
Love's perfum'd balm,
Yet did lie
With strumpets nigh.

No love lives
Where insult gives.
One man, lone,
His true love flown,
Fair love lost
like offal toss'd.

Can there be
A fool as thee?
Aye and aye,
For thou art I.

He set down the pen, resisting yet again the urge to slash it along his wrist. Lengthwise along the wrist is a suicide attempt, he thought, while across the wrist is just a cry for help. Where had he first heard that? High school? College? It didn't really matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Besides, if writing shitty poems in a fake quasi-Elizabethan tone wasn't a cry for help, what was?

Pressing his thumbs in hard, he rubbed his eyes, trying both to make the pain go away and make it increase until it killed him. His eyes hurt from crying and from not crying. He was tired but couldn't sleep. He was hungry but couldn't eat. He was a worthless, horrible, disgusting, pathetic, stupid, self-absorbed asshole who was too goddamned stupid to know a good thing when he had it... and yet he couldn't make himself die from his own shame.

Half a lifetime of love, thrown away for three hours in the sack with a thick-lipped redhead in tight jeans and a crop top. Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

There was no way to know how long he'd been at his desk. After the first day, he'd smashed the clock radio and threw his watch against the wall so hard it went through the drywall into the dark space beyond.

His heavy, titanium watch, the birthday present of all birthday presents. It had cost her $750 she could have spent on someone worthwhile, $750 which he repaid in poems and kisses and backrubs and smoked oyster primavera made just the way she liked it.

He wept anew at the memories. He was ashes and filth, dirt she had scraped from her shoes. He was nothing, worse than nothing.

That watch was his one piece of man jewelry. It was waterproof to 300 meters (though he took it off before getting into the shower), atomic-signal accurate to 1/1000th of a second (though he was always late), automatically updated in 38 cities in all 24 time zones (though he never went farther from home than the grocery store), and with five separate event timers and alarms (though he would never have anything to keep track of, ever again).

The black hole in the wall whistled and moaned when the furnace came on. It was as though his birthday present watch was crying to itself, alone and lost in the dusty void between the studs. Alone, alone, and alone, lost to time and human memory. There it would sit, ticking away until its primary battery died in two years. Desperately hungry for light, yet trapped in eternal darkness, its little solar cell would weep and scream, as useless and pathetic as he is now and will be forever.

And twenty, fifty, a hundred years hence? When this building was torn down, or burned down, or collapsed in rot, or was swept to sea in a climate change-driven tsunami? His watch would finally be allowed to truly die, crushed under the weight of years and regrets.

He wiped his eyes and picked up his pen to begin another poem. There was no more foul punishment he could invent for himself, and it was nothing less than what he deserved.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. Wow. Knife through the heart. Not sure writing bad poetry is really enough of a punishment, though... Well written; very cutting.

    1. On second reading, I find myself wondering if he'd thrown away a second chance -- had once repaired the relationship and then finally destroyed it through his "affair"... ah well, just a thought.

  2. Bang! Really strong writing, Tony - but then what do I expect, really? Great job.


    Noland writes tales,
    Much better than whales.
    He's one of the best,
    He should have his own crest.
    Thank you for this,
    Reading you is always a bliss.

    1. I live to hear
      Such comments dear;
      I nothing lack,
      So thank you, Jack!

  3. you really capture the tooing and froing of the rabid, febrile human mind when it is knocked into orbit fretting and worrying at an issue. Vertiginous writing of the human heart

    marc nash

  4. I think if he keeps writing poems like that one, he will eventually punish himself enough ^__^

  5. A good sense of fatigue throughout, Tony. A sad achievement, but a sound one as well.

    1. Thanks, John! That's exactly the sentiment I was trying to convey - heartsick weariness and deadness of spirit.

  6. Ah, yes, is there any greater self-inflicted punishment than writing Vogon-worthy poetry? Although he has a way to go to get that far down, I think.

    On the second reading, I realized how the watch stands as a metaphor for himself: all that potential, wasted.

    Not many can do emo flash this well, Tony. I think only Danni is at your level.

    1. That's a good insight, Larry. How many of us use our talents and gifts to their fullest potential, let alone our technology?

      As for emo... I'm not quite ready to wear black, but you never know. ;-)

    2. Emo flash? Is that what I write? ;)

    3. I hadn't thought so, but then I didn't think *I* was writing emo flash, either. o.O

  7. I really loved this, especially once it got to the part about the watch. His desperate, self-loathing was spot-on.

  8. Yep, loved the watch.. the idea of it hidden in the dark, in the wall... man, that guy's depressed but he sure writes some purty poetry. Seriously, nice work Tony.

  9. It's probably wrong to say this but it's actually nice to see a sense of remorse fof wrongdoing. I doubt any of the men who have wronged me ever felt so bad after the fact!

  10. The focus on the time piece makes this sing for me as it carries so much of the character and his personality.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  11. His self-loathing is so painfully tangible that it almost makes me feel sorry for him. Nice work, Tony!

  12. The metaphor of the watch works really well here. I really empathized with his pain. Exceptionally well written!


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