This poem was inspired by plotbunnyprey's "The Portrait of Dorian Gray", and is written from Dorian's soul/the painting's point of view. It is based on the book and nothing else - I've never even seen a movie version of Dorian Gray. Some lines come directly from the book, or have been slightly modified. Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome, but please be gentle; this is my first fanfic! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own The Picture of Dorian Gray, or any of the characters. Sadly, they belong to Oscar Wilde, not me. I do own the poem, though.
YOUR SURROGATE SINNER
You think that no one sees.
You think that you are all alone, in those dark,
Cruel, sordid, sullied, pompous, corporal, sinister alleyways.
You think that you are safe.
But I see you. I always see you.
It is I that feels the acerbic blood you spill,
The trembling hearts you break
The burning words you speak,
The pungent drugs you smoke,
The choking drinks you down,
The bitter, bitter taste of all those kisses you never meant.
I endure the pain that you do not;
The blood is on my hands.
The hearts are in my breast.
The words are on my mouth.
The drugs are in my lungs.
The drinks are in my gut.
The kisses are on my tongue.
I must suffer for your crimes, your sins, your indulgences.
I crumple and die while you live and flourish.
I warp and buckle. You watch and smile.
But I do not hate you.
I do not envy you.
I know too much to envy you.
Because then again, you think you are alone on those dark,
Soiled, black, ghostly, tremulous, lonely, opium-laden nights,
Lying awake on some strange and foreign bed
Beside some strange and foreign woman,
On those night when your drug of choice refuses to be
By that charming drug we call sleep.
Instead you begin to reflect on all that you are, all that you have become.
You think that no one hears you whimper
When you think of me,
And how you've ruined us both.
You think that no one sees you cry,
With crystal tears running silver streaks down your
But I see. I always see.
I was there when you opened your eyes to the lure of the mirror;
Your very first sin.
I was there when you recognized that you had sold me;
Your very first debt.
I was there when you realized you had killed her;
Your very first murder.
I was there when you slaughtered the creator of my prison;
Your very first regret.
In your naiveté you threw a sheet over me,
Burned the dead thing before you,
Drowned the emotion you feared in whatever you could find.
But I still saw, and he still died, and you still felt.
So you tried harder.
Drunken bars, whore houses, opium dens,
You are not a stranger to any of them.
They suffered you through strange heavens
And dull hells,
Teaching you lessons you didn't know you wanted to hear.
You found that one can buy oblivion,
Take memories of old sins and destroy them through the
Madness of sins that are new.
You attempted to
"Cure the soul by means of the senses,"
For you knew even then that your soul was very, very ill.
But how, how can you make well a soul that you
A soul that you poisoned to begin with?
You tried once, at the very end, to be good, pious, moral.
You said so yourself.
You wanted back what you had lost,
What I proved to you every day that you no longer possessed.
But you cannot lie to me.
It's no use; we both knew the truth,
Although you refused to acknowledge it:
Your morals were simply the strange new shape that your
Had taken on,
A desire for a new sensation,
A selfish attempt to play a part you could never be.
I knew it, reflected it,
And you hated me for that.
You hated me for being all that you were not,
Just as you hated everyone else.
I showed you yourself;
I was your
Damning evidence of crimes you didn't want to remember.
I was your soul, and you refused me.
No, you did more than that –
You condemned me,
Coming at me with the knife that had murdered my prison's maker.
You tore through my canvas flesh.
It burned as the fires of hell burn.
But still I did not hate you.
You stabbed me, again and again,
Trying to erase the indignation that I brought to you,
Trying to block out the memories,
Trying to quell the fear that followed you everywhere,
The fear that you could never quite escape:
The fear of God
That haunts each and every one of us.
You should be fearful.
And then, as my pain began to subside,
I heard you
The sting of the knife cut you, too,
Because we are
One and the same.
As you yourself said, it should not be
"Forgive us our sins," but
"Smite us our iniquities."
Are you smitten yet?
Released from my prison at last I stand above you,
And now it is my turn to flourish while you crumple.
You warp and buckle. I watch and smile.
But I do not hate you.
Even as you become before my very eyes the
That I was for years,
Even as you lie on the floor, writhing under the pain of eighteen years' sin,
I cannot hate you.
It would be so easy to abhor the malformed thing at my feet,
Staring through swollen, bloodshot eyes,
Begging for mercy through thin, bruised lips…
But I cannot.
I know the feel of
Callous blood on my hands,
Breaking hearts in my breast,
Acid words on my mouth,
Choking smoke in my lungs,
Fiery alcohol in my gut,
Tart kisses on my tongue.
I have known the suffering of a fallen angel for eighteen years.
Every day for eighteen years
I have burned in a private, oil-painted hell,
And I find that I cannot help but
The monstrous thing on the floor before me,
When I think of all the years in hell you will have to face before the inferno has
Finally managed to eradicate the
Hand of sin on that beautiful face of yours,
And God will recognize your visage once more.
You sold me for a façade, and you will
Until that façade is peeled away;
God takes no false fronts.
So I bend down and I kiss you on the head, gently, though
I can tell the gesture pains you and your pride.
Those crystal tears run silver streaks down your
You look so broken.
Then you begin to fall,
Slipping down beneath the attic floor,
Down beneath the streets of London,
Down until no heavenly body might redeem you, even if they could.
Even if they wanted to...
No, I do not hate you.
I wish I did.
For years I have borne
The brunt of your virtue,
Or lack thereof.
For years I have been
Your surrogate sinner.
I must pity you, for now
It's your turn.