Youth, greedy for beauty,
Squanders it carelessly.
Handsomeness slept in you, a kind of madness.
Why then, did the waters choose you,
Turning against you? Other young men
Look upon your eyes, and are afraid,
And are drawn, inexplicably, to offering themselves.
Is it love, the curse
The feminine death?
What you wanted most was idiot stillness, your eyes to
Rest upon the surface where recognition and oblivion
After the water and the image
It is your drowning
That washes up to me, the depths
You cannot give me.
Your flesh is chaste and cool, dried of all violence.
If it remembers the murderous longing, the pull
Of infatuation beyond understanding, nothing reveals it,
Not the smooth cheeks, as if unmarked by struggle,
Nor the lips, uncaring, inviting,
Or the eyes enclosing unshareable sleep, deep in forgetting.
Because you are a victim and I love you,
Your enemies I take upon my affection and my wanting—
Your enemies: the echoes, the sun, the springs
* * *
Madam Neurosis keeps house,
She rules the roost.
She demands payment
In anxiety and insomnia,
Because you have already paid.
Madame Neurosis paces across
The room. Repetition’s her religion
And she has made you acolyte.
No use waiting for her, she’s gone nowhere,
And expects to be followed.
Come home and the silent apartment
Is full of Madame Neurosis’ past,
Recollections you discarded
Which the fine lady digs up.
Madame Neurosis doesn’t need a family,
She has you. Oh, she’s very fine, Madame is,
A workaholic and a hysterical stoic, no slack.
Oh, she invents lacks and doesn’t ask permission
To dance or to sulk. She buys your emotions in bulk.
Television is her mirror and she hates what she sees.
To anticipate and precipitate Madame Neurosis consults
Childhood— that broken idol hungry for prayer.
Oh, she lives in a castle, Madame Neurosis
mi castillo es tu castillo.
False alarm fires, crystal balls and unread libraries.
You are lost in her castle. You are home.
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