The Poem I Wanted To Write

The poem I wanted to write was several pages long,
consisting of images of life in the modern city
and how our atomized human experiences
evaporate into a dark, miserable cloud
which rains more misery upon our lowered, sullen heads.

The poem was written in Serbian
by a character I would like to have scripted:
a tall, brooding old man, silent as the moon,
broken and lonely, in a foreign city
whose residents do not speak at all
but spit forth sounds of trauma and heartbreak.

This character would be the protagonist
of the novel I wish I had written:
a novel set in wartime Yugoslavia;
a novel about the depths of bitterness
into which the human heart may sink;
a novel about my degraded, sallow subject,
but mostly about the grinding gears of history
and the mountains of cadavers it produces.

The novel would exist in a series, of course,
a five- (or seven-) part cycle,
a collection of hefty, colorless tomes
in which I reveal the secrets of the known universe
in allegorical fables and poignant aphorisms
with famous quotes from notable philosophers
hidden among dialogue between characters;
a cycle of novels which wraps around onto itself
and ends where it began, with no conclusion
and no linearity to speak of
which would baffle experts in hermeneutics
and semiotics
and philology
for decades to come.

The poem I did write
consisted of two simple lines
scrawled in fat, black ink
on the wall of my empty bedroom:
“Please put me to sleep
I no longer wish to feel.”

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