I Kissed My Vices

The moon was high,

the hour late,

and my vices came to me with gleams in their eyes,

dresses unbuttoned, hanging off their shoulders,

skin sweaty with shiny sins,

promising, in sibilant whispers,

pleasures unparalleled in

a paradise unknown.

I opened my arms,

and they came in a pleasing swarm that caressed my shoulders,

soothed my mind, ceased my pain,

and stole my soul.

Night after freezing, endless night,

I walked back to the lair that beckoned with smoky eyes, neon lights, and phony smiles as my pockets deflated

and my ego burst beneath long fingers, teasing lacquered nails,

my deceiving reflection lifting yet another whiskey in hollow celebration of a dying life as his murderers smiled

and professed their undying love.

And one night, I kissed them all, my vices, every one,

losing myself in the scent of perfume that didn’t quite hide the corruption.

They slipped their poisoned nectar tongues past my lips

and bid me suck.

And I fed like a flitting hummingbird.

When the sky turned from black to indigo with the coming dawn,

they bit my bleeding lips and left their blight behind, a

as they fled from me, their laughter mocking me

in birdsong

and the susurration  of taxi tires

on dewy, steaming streets.

In the morning light heralding the void of a plagued and restless sleep,

the crows and flies of hell gathered to feast on the remnants of myself,

now repenting in the light of the sun,

while the consequences of all I lost gibbered among themselves

and nipped at my heels like jackals

not waiting their turn

for the lions feasting on a carcass.

“Forgive me,” I said to the emptiness slipping about me like a filthy blanket,

The paper trash and gutter dirt rolled in eddies of laughter,

as the cold breeze slapped my face, and said, simply,

“Never.”

It stripped another piece of me and swirled down the block,

leaving me diminished, depleted, defeated,

a split rock with no chance

of ever being whole.

I stopped walking, not knowing where I was,

trembling from the stripping of the cloak of night,

the dread comforts of my kissing vices

breaking apart like cirrus clouds ripped asunder

to make way for the storm.

And I despaired of ever seeing home again…

But before me, right there in front of me,

in a crack on the sidewalk caught in a brightening ray of  light

was a small, sprig of transcendent green, with one tiny, verdant leaf

dancing on the wind like a miniature banner

unfurled and raised

in a hopeless battle.

It blurred once, and then again,

as drops of salty water filled my eyes,

and said to me, in all its infant glory,

Begin again…

 

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