Are you my poor Annabel Lee
or la belle dame sans merci?
How enthralling your seductive charm
as you usher me along, arm in arm;
a socialite greeting each debutante friend
droning on and on at a soiree without end
until I must retreat to my private writing room
to steal some moments of silence from that tomb
and jot down these conceited stories while
the guests go weeping or frowning or with gleeful smile
to the edge of the manor estate, in dreamy moonlight,
to fling themselves from that delirious height
into the sea whose restless tides blend and mesh
to transform these suicides and their protean flesh
so they may emerge once again, returning ashore
as a new character who comes calling at my door.
You say, “May I introduce you to the intriguing So-And-So
whose story is one of hardships, heartaches, and of woe.
And here is So-and-So whose jocose adventure enjoys distinction
for achieving a happy ending without self-extinction
while chasing dragons and ogres and a princess in a tower,
defeating the evil wizard and his scepter of power.
And here we have So-and-So who found ancient terrors of the deep
while following the eldritch visions that visited him in his sleep.”
Sometimes I tire of their incessant prattle
and feel myself besieged, as if in a Pyrrhic battle,
as I attempt to chronicle these petty glories
while playing host to all of their indulgent stories.
My dear, let them wait upon me, for my wrist sorely cramps
as I write down these stories and burn through these lamps
while the chattering of that night continues on and on
like crickets chirping their overlapping songs until dawn.
Sometimes, muse, I feel as if you are shoving me, myself,
toward that seaside cliff, you insidious elf.
You wish to fling me once again unto a new life?
Yes…of course…do whatever pleases you, my winsome wife.