Yours was a brilliant mind
Wasted on self-pity.
Like a tragic diva in a time-worn melodrama,
You wore your pain like the finest of finery.
You were the mad warrior,
Berserker to the cause of self-immolation.
What purification did you seek in the flames?

It is an insidious crime you committed—
Vicious saboteur!
I see at last the object of my past selective blindness:
All your life, you desired but one thing:
Death... The curtain-fall on your theatric, self-made martyrdom.

Well, now you've gotten it, you fool:
May you rest in peace.
You were an inspiration to me while you lived,
Too much of an inspiration, in fact.
Like a drunken gambler, I bet too much of my earnings on your single hand.
Like an naive investor, I bought too many shares of your volatile penny stock.
But it is not I who am bankrupted, my dear,
Though I am left with the ashes of my boyish fancies.
I shall carry your urn to that eternal lake of sorrows,
Where many women before you have parted with their conscience.
I say conscience, for in their own way, they—and you—were sinners.
There in that lake, I shall scatter the remains of my love and your hate,
And watch them sink into the leaden depths of a thousand maidens' tears.

If my words seem callous,
They are but a rebellion,
A rebellion against that part of you which resides yet in me.
Not the part of you which I admired:
The dreaming, flower-wearing child,
Rich with fantasies, and an uncultivated but natural elegance—
You could have been a paragon of taste and beauty!—
Not this,
But the tumors festering with black bile,
The moldering chambers of a deserted palace
Haunted by a host of wailing phantoms.
I do not harbor so many of these, but unlike you,
I feel that I must purge them,
And this was your greatest, perhaps your only sin:
You never really wanted to cleanse yourself.

At best, you wanted someone else to do this,
Someone strong, ruthless, manipulative,
So you consorted with the most diabolical of men
Who learned to use your demons to bind you fast
While they raped you on the black altar of their carrion-stained egos.
Or was it rape?
Hah! You never resisted them!
At times you even enjoyed them!
You were one of those women who like men in uniform and jackboots.
And when they had hurt you enough, you'd seek out—and usually find—
My sympathy and understanding,
But I guess I never really understood—
Woe to me, if I ever am able to understand!

What shall I say to you now?
You are dead, my darling.
It is not I, nor even one of those vampires, who have done the deed.
What shall I say of how you died?
You went nova, but there was no light.
You were a brilliant script
Shredded in a moment of frustration by the playwright.
Your end was neither grand nor heroic:
Bottle of sleeping pills and a glass of rum.
A stranger had said to you that you really were not that beautiful,
That you really weren't that smart,
That you really couldn't have your
Perfect world.

George Chadderdon © 1995