Stupid Cupid

The Game

“Falling in love
is against the rule,”
the actor says.
Armed with soap-opera
he calms down his heart
at the rituals
of madness on the side:
roses, chocolate,
wine & candlelight
as gifts to seal
the ceremony of vintage passion
that won’t however
stand the “test of time,”
oldtimers sneer.
So be it —
as if he had been
through the years
suckered into the strange belief,
despite the facts,
that the heart throbs
forever for her
& her only.
Did he really commit
the sin
of mistaking affection
for passion’s pain?
If only he had been warned
that love, like shit,
is a four-letter word.
it is late in the day
to hear the sages:
She never really existed
but invented
by the fancy of the pathways:
home from a sad cafe,
finding one is undone —
emptied of illusions
how to face
the reluctant day
that turns into night
that pins him down
into remembering
but seraphic images
frozen on the mind’s screen
where a revolving door
slams endlessly
against the post
in the windy blast.
Too tough to hear
himself converse
with Nada, nada, nada
of philosophers
& barbershop pundits.
So, she sits idly
like musty air
that will not escape
the dream’s prison cell.
Let it be?
What strange cruelty
is this
to hear himself
resonate an eternity of silence
that quips:
You’re a fool.
She has left,
never leaving any address
for grief.
There is the endless wail
that nobody should hear:
no one bothers
the personal,
the theatrical anguish,
but each to each
for anyone is counsel
to his own sadness.
Didn’t he hear the warning
in the air?
Did he miss the signals
that scholars read?
But he was wasted
by quicksilver pleasure
& delight
of someone in the mirror
when she looked
his way
& he stupidly
floated up in the sky…
Her gaze went past him,
a shadow
that sent her reeling
out of the shimmering space,
as if something malevolent
had seized her
& she quickly fled to survive.
His sadness is his own.
She never was
attuned to tears
& refused to exist
for his erroneous beliefs.
Nada, nada, nada,
this & this only:
& he shouldn’t ever weep.
It’s too ghastly
to confront
the stark truth
of evidence.
Idiocy in abundance
shoots up like grass
& all lovers
are victims of falsehood.


But it is not her,
you really pine for,
like a child
crying & abandoned among
the rubble.
It could be something else —
& you don’t dare decode
the metaphor:
there is only the Void
that stares so savagely back,
& you tremble
like a leaf about to fall.
Is this all?
Joy, pleasure, sadness
may define your name
but never the unnameable
that spits in your face.
as she lies
dismissing your grief
that slowly crawls
like a centipede.
There was nothing really
to salvage
for the rainy day:
you cover your head
with your own hands —
& that is all there is to it.


But they
are in gross ecstasy —
there is only today
& surely tomorrow
that they conceive
is forever:
the next morning
is just another day.
& after the jouissance
& occasional puzzle
they will retreat
into themselves
& pray that the evil horizon
is far, far away…
But God
doesn’t hear
the pagan utterance
of lovers in trance
& hot embrace.


She’ll find another lover,
to be sure.
She’s a survivalist
who protests love
at some instance,
then shrugs it off
the next time:
This must be the virtue
of the hunt —
she knows when
to fall on her knees,
when to pick up her stride
& complete the run.
If only he were
as shrewd or cunning:
but he pompously believed
he was Sir Galahad
beholden to the truth;
now he must content
with the bruises
that make him look
like a beggar & fool.
O Blessed is she
who knows
it’s only a game to play
& blindfolded must be
the combatants.


A blessed fault,
he says.
He’s myopic
& can’t read signs
from a distance.
he would have seen
the punch coming
to knock him down
for good.
He must pay a heavy price
for falling down
& measuring the world
upside down.
Slivers of memory
can be blacked out
as when she
who caught his eyes
left hurriedly,
speechless of goodbye.
Sure, he’ll be up
& about
because the exchange
was fast & furious
& the heart was left
clueless like
a clown’s.
Except for occasional pain
when he nurses his gin
& rests his feet
on the upturned chair.


A knock
but he cannot answer
when memory
stands unwelcomed
at the door.
Traces of absences
here & there
now turned into air,
but that’s all.
He has survived tempests
in the teacup of his heart…
But for how long?
He stares at the mirror
hoping for an answer
but his shadow
doesn’t even bother with
a sigh.
Else he will be


The last time
he saw her
he was saddened
by the distance
he had travelled
since the first time
she walked,
like a girl from the river
into the ocean
of his room.
She was a rose
so beautiful
to behold —
as cliches go…
But memory is ever
has his dimmed
or has time played
tricks on him?
He has forgotten her
who used to prick
his heart
with needlework of pain.
O who is this
shell of
what was once
the unnameable desire
now turned
into a tiger’s snarl?


The old couple,
in Brecht’s play,
would ask for a divorce:
they couldn’t stand
each other anymore
& would be gracious
if set free
from marital disgrace.
But it was too goddam late:
the judge would rule —
had flown like a bird,
the crystal coop!
in cruel abandon,
would simply laugh
their agony off.


It’s a miracle.
They, the immaculate lovers,
have aged like wine.
They who danced
in the heat of summer
still carry the sun
in their hearts.
They cling to each other
like Titanic survivors.
How did it happen
that they cannot do
without each other?
Is it destiny?
Is it to make true & real
the cheap fantasy
love is forever?
O It was the fall of die
like the earth
should run in circles.
Who would question
this absurd verity
that taunts finity?
It’s a miracle,
chariot toward immortality.


They’re so lucky
they’re not seers
who can peek into the future
& chart out their lives
to be lived
with casual formality.
they would not have fallen
in love so madly
knowing fate would tear them apart.
Blindness keeps lovers
dreaming of love
& all of passion’s crap —
until they wake up
so suddenly in the morning
with sunlight on their faces
& they wince…
O It would have been different
had they read lucidly
the fatal warning…
But, alas,
they’re not Nostradamus’s children.


He falls asleep
in his rocking chair.
When roused
for his meal,
he quickly apologizes
for dozing
& failing to turn the TV off.
He must have been
in a neverland
where he was strong & young.
No one will of course note
how he brushes
his cheeks
with the back of his hand
for the trace of dried tears
from his half-blind eyes…
It happens all the time
even when
he is drunkenly happy
in a crowd.
Does it matter
if he secretly remembers
drowning in the bittersweet
of his own time?
They don’t care about
the details.
Only, they just want
him moved around
like a piece of antique
that may be valuable
because it easily breaks.
If he thinks of her,
wherever she is now…
O It is grossly pitiful
to show emotion
& expose desire.


He can’t be
a helpless drunk
& make a mess
of himself
before the pub habitues
who will shake their heads
because someone again —
an old pain in the ass —
has had one drink
too many,
not carrying the alcohol
in his guts.
He cannot slobber
about some chicks lost
lest they snigger.
old Romeos
cannot buy roses
& wear their hearts
on a sleeve
like some young stud.
The heart,
mon cherie,
must be discreet:
age must observe
formal behavior & respect
letting go
of one’s emotion
is for the young & erratic
who wallow in grief.
He who is past
all joy & pasture
will not be allowed
the pleasure of the hunt
The old in passion’s
prison-house must stay put.


They have run out
of roses.
The heat of summer
says the weatherman,
why the harvest
is lean for lovers.
The crisis seems real:
how to celebrate
the febrile occasion,
as per market calculus
of small-time pedlars
& corporate planners,
with proper jouissance
as when Romeo
looked up the balcony
for Juliet who hid
behind the curtains…
But flowers wilt
in ceramic vases…
Formaldehyde preserves
fruits & flesh
but if passion rots
who can stay decay?
If death
will not proclaim
dominion over earthly
lovers may yet live
a day & forever.
But wisdom is turtle-slow;
Cupid’s victims
must be gazelle-quick
to cover frontiers
of loss & pain
in seizing the moment.


It has always been
like that,
he pontificates.
Abandon all despair
so you may have hope
that is pure & absolute
in earthly passion:
But love fuses & separates;
is a strange bell
tolling for those maddened
by short-lived devotion.
O strange bloodsport of hearts
that turns crimson
edenic garden:
from under the rock of laughter
slithers out
serpent of venomous
S/he the one?
Never is love singular —
& there lies
the dark beauty
of the familiarly absurd.

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