(01) - The Dead Who Have No Rest - Poem by James Grengs
It is an unholy appetite-
A desire, some say,
Born of Satan himself.
The Roaring Lion,
Out for men's blood.
But it is deeper, for me,
I who must live every day
With this desire in my flesh.
I live, as human as any,
Yet not- for I am different,
Darker: a creature of myth,
Of evil fantasy,
Of shadow and night.
I am strong, violently so,
Though few who have felt that strength
Have lived to tell of it.
I leave few alive,
That is, alive in your sense of the word-
When I leave them, they are changed.
No longer given to their former delights.
When I leave, they are given to the same appetite
Which drives me-
It has become them, too.
How long I have lived, I cannot say-
I lived once, but no more:
Now I exist, as I have for a thousand years.
I am safe in my existence,
For disbelief is my shield.
Those who call me a myth
Add to my safety,
For unless the fear of me
Exists in their heart,
I am no danger to their lives.
I am no myth, though,
And I am dangerous-
I am all thinigs they would fear
If they were wise enough to believe.
I, their fear,
Drink them dry.
They do not believe in me
Until I reveal myself to them,
Which I only do when I am hungry.
I am hungry now,
Therefore I wait.
For Fortune, my mistress,
And Chance, my lover,
Never leave me alone.
She was a beautiful girl-
Fair-haired, ruddy skinned,
In fulfilling my hunger,
I have changed her.
Now her skin has lost its glow-
Her eyes have dimmed.
For an instant, she looked on me-
The instrument of her change.
Now she sleeps,
Soon to awake to a dark reality.
I remember well that sleep-
I remember as well
Knowing my change,
My new state,
I do not envy her
The pain of her new being,
For it is a constant waking nightmare.
The dead that have no rest.
I look at her,
Lying on the cold pavement.
-This is the closest I have felt to love
In a thousand years.-
I leave her there.
She will be found, soon,
And better for me if I am gone.
My worst enemy, attention,
Next to belief.
For in the attention I receive,
I lose something of what I am.
I am the reality of their myth-
The truth that inspired their frightened tales.
I am the dead who has no rest.
(There are others like me,
But we avoid company-
A collection of dead
My name is unimportant,
For, as is typical of names,
It reveals nothing of what I am-
And names lose their power after a thousand years.
What I am, I have already told you.
Why I am, none by the fearless seek to know-
They, and those who have discovered
The depths of my secrets.
How I am, no one knows,
Not even I myself.
For who can understand the perpetuity
Of a thousand years, waking dead?
Where I am, if they really understood,
Would strike fear in their hearts-
For I and my brethren are everywhere.
My secrets are many, and mine alone.
They are the ghosts of an eternal nightmare.
They are the multitude of faces,
My victims, to the world,
My lovers, to me,
My children, to my brethren.
They are the places, the years, the past.
They are the future, yet unrevealed to me.
I live, dead, and always will.
I am an inexorable force,
Driven by the unholy appetite.
I have no control over myself,
But only the control of choice.
Do not hate me-
I have enough hate for myself.
-I fear myself, knowing what I am-
Believe, if you will live.
Believe in the dead who have no rest.
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