Winter's grace. Fierce, empowering and above all cruel. A fortification against all things bathed in heat and dipped in deliverance. A cold room for a cold man.
And so it goes. Faces form in the howling rain, have their laugh and disappear, evaporating into cold steam when met by but a warm human breath. Poetry drowns in a river of spit, helpless to find reprieve as frost nibbles at its tail. We are rats in a coffin, squealing helplessly as the air grows thin and our options thinner. The only way is down, through the ribcage of the corpse. So we dig. We devour.
We burrow through rotting things only to lose ourselves in the cold ground.
Here stands the jester, drenched in his own blood and weighed down by other people's spewage. Freshly foul from another swim in the sewer. Growing more and more defiant as the fingers turn numb and the face drains of color. These blue lips are colder than you know. If my efforts are constantly undermined and subject to the whims of petty individuals hunting for yet another pound of flesh, my facade of compassion will eventually shatter and I will assume a stance of combat. Ask and ye shall receive. You have no right to act wounded in the aftermath.
This airless space has no room for good intentions. People flash their fangs at me, because they assume they can get away with it. Spewing belittling, hurtful things. Attacking, because they assume that's what they're owed. By whom and for what amount, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. They seem to retreat back into their hole before I have a chance to clear the issue.
I've done my best to be more approachable and less of a frightening figure, as much for my own damn sake as for the benefit of others, only to have cowards spit in my face as my hand reaches outward. I've let them have their say, take the measure of blood they so covet and stitch up some unnamed tear in their ego at my expense. I've taken the sticks & stones without a snarl or growl, but to what end? I've played myself down and taken backward steps like the man I thought I should be, like the man I truly tried to be, only to watch as cancerous, contagious beings advance in tandem with my withdrawal, trying to steal back something they've lost from my pouch. Enough.
People take whatever they can get as long as you award them that luxury. Flash your teeth back at them and watch them scatter. I'm using two thirds of my strength not to punch through a wall just to watch myself do it.
I don't want to know, I don't want to say, I don't want to be involved. I simply can't play the benevolent confidant if I'm expected to comment approvingly upon self-important fumbling over other people's feelings. I recognize the marks it will leave better than I care to admit. My pleas fall to deaf ears as people chart their unsuccessful attempts at draining each another dry while debating with themselves which embrace can offer the most warmth until the next pair of tempting arms appears. Pondering whose blood is most nourishing. I have to bite my lip not to lash out in anger at their profoundly disgusting behavior. I'm burning gallons upon gallons of fuel just to lull myself into believing people are worth even a shred of respect.
This loveless, violent world deserves no more than a cold heart and a hard fist. I am nothing if not a believer in fair dues.
There is no reciprocity, only the push-pull of one giving and another taking. This I know now, and will react accordingly when approached by those drenched in fear and frailty looking to ascend a step higher by standing on my back. Trying to fit into this cardboard cut-out of a cordial, good-willed individual has grown far beyond tiresome, for the results it yields are nothing more than providing a patch of fresh ground for fools to trample into decay. My efforts, upfront and clear-eyed, are met with disdain and malice that equal all my meager attempts at taking others into consideration with warmer sentiments to a tee. You want the indignant, arrogant and withdrawn asshole you all seem to want me to be? Fine. You can have him. But don't say I didn't warn you.
Friendly fire - ain't.
The surrounding vista is a bleak sight. Pompous, passive aggressive tricksters all around. Mouths wide and words asunder against menial tribulations and the wind against their stride, hands drawn and fingers erect as they scour the room to find someone to pour a little misery on. Sharing is caring, isn't it? Their fists shake wildly at whatever nameless adversary or mildly draining aversion they're currently addressing, just so they can clear the air around them with a mouthful of stale bitterness. But it is all a show. The dog's bark is loud and fierce for his teeth are soft and his jaw weak. We are rats in a coffin.
So I will drink my coffee black, black like the winter sky on a moonless night. I will address your arrogance with indifference and your anger with silence. I will disappear into the smoke long before you have an opportunity to inflict another itty bitty wound for your perverse pleasure. I will repay threats with tooth and nail. I will close off my heart from thieves. I will spit venomously and vehemently when spat upon and watch you deflate in the face of true strength.
Believe it or not, I tried so very hard to believe people were worth more.