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.
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