The Poet’s Slave

The poet’s slave at last cried out:
“Enough! Sufficient! Cease!
Jot no more jets of whim and thought,
or writerly caprice!

Etch no more lines across my lines,
For I have have had my fill.
My skin entire is crisscrossed
With the scratchings of your quill.

You’ve written across me, unwooed and lost me
ten times over; I have vowed
to house no more,
thy chaos proud.
I’ve sworn
to disallow
thy etchings
on this untanned

why not
simply pour
thy verses over every wall,
as other madmen do?

Be thou a vandal,
deface a monument!

or steal away
on some excuse
in the home of a friend
(if a friend you have,
and find a moment alone
to toss off words
on the underside
of a table;

thou hast all the places
known and secret,
for the length and breadth of travel,
and I have naught

but this room,
this cage,
the tiny surface area
of myself,

whose self
thou hast taken,

rudely, sir,

and I,

I never cared for you,
or your words,
our your madness,

and I shall,
in a moment,
our agreement sever,
and I shall go.

I will host no more
thy musing sore,
thy wordly odd
my skin,
still soft,
will be no croft
to thy strange thoughtly

Look now: I am overmuch embossed,
the letters overlap, one cannot make out the meter,
words are lost
and rhymes,
if rhymes were intended,
jut out like rocks,
to capsize the unwary sailors
who try to follow the map
of thy peculiar thought
across the territory
of my flesh.

Sideways, backwards, every inch
Is covered with your poetry, good and bad,
You’ve gifted me with words until they pinch.”

The poet finally looked up,
from sharpening his quill.
“My fire and inspiration,
My muse, my love, my will –

This madness mine? I now remind,
(if we let the truth be bared):
This madness is not mine alone.
it is quite jointly shared.

Thy love is wild and curious,
A thing no-one could tame.
Thou know full well it’s I who’d leave;
this house is in thy name.

Say thou the words, and I am gone,
To sleep on dirt and rocks,
Except we both are tight entwined
by the most binding of locks:

Why do you keep me? I won’t ask.
Thy reasons are thine own,
Why thou did raise me from the muck?
Why thou didst leave thy throne?

My darling bleeding palette,
If you’re leavetaking, answer, then:

Why dost thy back arch high, even now,
for the sharp fang of my pen?”

~Jeff Mach


My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. I also tweet a lot over @darklordjournal.

I write books. You should read them!

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.