Niccolò Machiavelli Confesses to St. Valentine

Ask me now alla fin “Would I rather be feared or loved?

My answer finds wings to fly away from me.

I know something of fear and little of love,

Not by design but mostly by default.

There is one who has long loved me,

Unrequited, though it is, never a purer concentration

Could be mixed, mined, designed 

And I’ve shoved left, turned right in flight.

I’ve declined by my moves, my stays,

All the silent nays, no-ways.

I’ve long since defined love as empty, dreadful,

The landfill where fear’s ugly threats are stored.

For the promise of love is its own deceitful siren song,

When it’s lifespan ends it swallows more,

Much more than I can give or imagine or grasp at,

Like a floating island of Eden’s delight guarded by a flaming sword,

It drains hope and peace and wholeness

Into a pit of despair so deep, its walls too steep to ascend.

And what of fear?

What of the mist that clouds the trueness of day,

The lies that handcuff my arms in place,

The suicide of soul that is looped on life’s tape,

The rape of hope and dreams and faith,

It is fear that steals the joys of new love,

It is cowardice that denies that purest concoction.

My ability to wield fear is limited by

Its pimp-like grip on my prostitute mind.

Knowing the power I give fear itself helps

The answer to the original question land.

What would it be to receive from someone,

What I give to absolutely no one but the air?

Nothing but a mist covering the landscape of my possibilities.

Would I survive that kind of surge, being feared?

Could the power I’ve surrendered each mental year

Re-light my blackened reality?

Or has the mist clouded more than my path?

Has it become so thick and persistant

That my logical reasoning has been compromised?

Do I muse and conjure vain ideas for naught,

Because my facilities have been so tampered with?

Did I lose it all the moment I said “No”,

The moment I refused that purity of emotion

That had offered no control but expected mine released

That promised no sureties or gains besides itself

That ushered in change like the dawn

That would surely end as everything ended?

But unlike fear’s end, love’s demanded too much.

It would take too much, consume too much, be felt too much, destroy too much

and provide no relief.

But now I see your face, resplendent with that insufferable grace,

Of a lifetime spent embracing love,

Whilst I’ve spent a lifetime crushing it, spitting upon it, mocking it.

But death seems to be laughing at me now,

Waiting for its chance to mutilate my carcass, desecrate my bones.

What good has fear done me?

Looking into your kind eyes makes me want to retch in shame;

Even now you send me love, I who know you not,

I who sought to destroy the ground you walked on,

The faith you swore by, the gentleness you lived out.

And what is love to a man as despicable as I?

To which gaping wound of soul can love act as bandage?

In the end I fall back on my skills of reason to ask,

“Is it best to be loved or feared?”

As I am loved now by your goodness and feared not by your mind,

Do I not feel bolder and stronger than ever?

Does my soul not cry out for more of this fine wine?

Hence, my logic draws the matter to a close.

At this my last hour, I see my biggest mistake was listening to me.


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