The Tyranny of Antiseptic Words

Shall I have beef or fish?
Which wine would go best?

Would you like fries with that?
Not having fries is also a choice

Paper or plastic?
Snip it off or leave it on?
Which would look better?  Which will women prefer?
Your child's future sexual happiness
Extirpated by the cruel knife of thinly-veiled sadism
Instead of the jaundiced eyelid of indifference

I've always preferred "manic-depression"
Which hell for you today?  Hell or hell?
In numb living death or coals-walking frenzy
All your friendships, loves and dreams
Agonizingly exterminated before your eyes
Why don't these people get it?

Doesn't he act oddly?
Don't let's think about his inner life
I don't feel like I'm asleep
Why can't I wake up?
I can see across the chasm
To that undiscovered country
Of the lives and feelings of other people
Even if there were a bridge
Would I think to cross it, or dare to?

Why'd he do it?
The slap in the face
Proof that we can't truly know one another
We who are left behind
Are just as alone as he was
The hot rush of blood
The mute urgency of suffocation
Oblivion's perfection tarnished
By the need to leave a body behind

Words fail us
Even when we try to wield them
To penetrate instead of hide
To strip bare and make love to the stuff of reality
Not leave it bedecked in garish garments
The work of marketers, apologists, and spin doctors

Words fail us
If we are numb to the horror
Numb to the cuteness

Sitting in the waiting room of existence
Trading pleasantries with the Evil
Seated right next to us

Everyone needs sugar-coating
We mustn't make a scene after all
I'm sure they know what they're doing

In the embrace of antiseptic words
We hug another word to our guilty breast
The only true sin

Happy Birthday, Hugo! 

April is National Poetry Writing Month

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