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By Dominic Vitz

i stare at coffeeshop windows in summer.

who will fall next? such questions i ponder

as cupid’s matches ignite lovely little pyres

‘round which two people stare and admire 

and dance, tripping out on each other.

they sprawl out onto streets, undercover,

and guarded by embraces: of love or fear

who is to say?

here, the love-lorn seek a seductive high.

i wonder if past pain is what they deny

as they huff burnt pages of sentiment

(i suspect) to disguise waves of regret.

they’re crushing sweetheart candies 

to align and inhaling rose petals via reeds.

with lipstick smoke opening their eyes,

they label it psychedelics, but i only espy


onlookers, allured by the soulmate game 

become gladiators & hunters, minus aim.

their half-baked kindnesses & gift-giving

reveal we’re hooked on feeling feelings.

it’s all a masquerade ball, rendering us performative 

and reliant on tightroped trust.

the mistaken rhymes and missteps echoed 

show we’re all afraid of being alone.

perhaps humanity knows nothing else.

overdosing on love has become the norm;

affection vanishes in life’s thunderstorms.

when we use care to cope and enjoyment 

to escape, the world seems a torment.

to love or not: both ends’ inspire

humans as they spiral into passionate fire.

though some doubt, many have said

to never give your heart away; instead

shove it in a bottle and wash it to sea.

lock your heart away and toss the key,

then your wounds will never quite bleed.

sailors devise maps, space spent

on narcissistic imaginations, nonexistent 

patterns, and naive fantasies —

these too cause the young lover’s tears;

he seeks love to mask his blurry fears

and imprison himself in his insecurities.

x on a map marking the buried bottle — 

it’ll become a child’s plaything, coddled:

a vessel to escape future heartbreak

buoyed by your own pains and aches.

still, i worry I’ve indulged in self-delusion;

tis a crime of which none are excluded.

so i surrender myself to experimentation

undergoing litmus tests of emotion:

conducted to escape risky love potions.

i’d rather suffer from artificial inebriation

than fall, ensnared by lovely illusions.

after all, the mind never fails to deceive

while we breathe lies through our teeth.

recall that the heart, the ficklest of guides,

remains blind and never satisfied.

nevertheless, second thoughts intertwine

with the boldness brought about by spine.

maybe, the despair drugs my mind.

perhaps, i choose pessimism over hope.

one day, i could happen upon a home.

i do believe love persists; else, life’s a knot

wherein the meaning exists for naught.

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