Even the evil love their children. Exhibiting tenderness in quiet moments when their decisions for selfish gain at the expense of others plays as underscore to the smiles and warmth traded with young eyes filled with love and trust. Is there worry in their hearts, these callous shepherds of greed, that their innocence will someday dilute, hearts blackened with desire only to guard the accumulated spoils of lives spent denying kindness? Or perhaps that’s the grand design for their pedigreed brood; secret away love and respect within shared walls of kin and disavow such benevolence elsewhere. Protect only what’s yours. Hold dear shared blood exclusively. Steal and kill to maintain ownership.
And yet I’ve committed no true evil, days spent largely walking in the clear lines drawn, respecting roles playing out all around while attempting to find the spotlight – the joy – promised by this charmed life; an illegible map my guide and fleeting light to provide the way forever sinking over a horizon I’ve chased since steps were new. Love is hidden in that dusk, and I won’t cheat at discovering the glow but for a traded affection that chance rolls at me like two dice desperately flung over felt charged with forcing admonition; a gamble surely intended to punish and in which hedged bets have protected this mundane status quo.
The duplicitous can look their children in the eyes and hold them in affectionate embrace, yet this connection, as with all others, dangles before me; a leaky canteen on a hook as I cross this desert of years on shaky legs, hands bound by generations of self serving lineage, thirst tearing at this parched soul. I know no truth, pretend at happiness and crease my cheeks at the ends of attractive grins because there’s no room for the hollow at life’s table. Words are just that, empty of any depth to allow this heart buoyancy, and so this dry muscle sinks into dust and protects itself with the easily constructed stories of men in love, fathers proud of their heritage, sons surmounting the turned back of absence. Thin whispers flooded with false conviction simply expressed, an act in three stories each time and the rest sway and trip, believing each syllable as if no truth has earned such sincerity.That would be honest and clever, but then there are actions that feel fueled by synthetic passion, yet impact as if physical gospel.
The only certainty is that I’ve deserved none of what’s missing.
Never intended, brought into breathing hopefulness through desperation, and assessed as burdensome by the only savior any know for certain in this life, I lie now to prove it all wrong even as I look into youthful eyes and they stare back into me knowing of the sham that all either pretend or are afflicted with. There is no evil here, and yet love still eludes every desperate attempt at knowing an authentic center, leaving only the emptiness of spent deceptions.
Perhaps it is better to be cruel than barren.