The Night, Like a Mirror, Shatters

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Archives: Please contact me first- I usually say yes
The poem is from Margaret Atwood's "Circe/Mud" Poems
©2002 H.V.O All rights reserved

Where else to find you but in a bar, drinking deep your sorrows. I did this to you, or you did it to yourself. Everything blurs, including memory. I have things I need to say to you, Spike. Words that I need the dark to hide. I've been of thinking of you, lost in my own thoughts, broken and beaten by what I've done to you, to us. You deserve the truth, even if it's less than what you want. So here it goes, all the truths I've never told, not even to myself. And so we'll start with this, the most basic.

I lied. To you, to me, everyone. I lied.

I broke up with you. I left you standing in your dead house, promising it was over, swearing that being with you was killing me. The lies, the secrets, the way you made me feel all the things I never wanted to feel, all of that just ate at my soul. We were never meant to be together, this should have been just hopeless fantasy, forbidden to creatures like us. We weren't meant to dream, you and I. We were only meant to be, to follow the straight and narrow rules of our existence until it killed us. Or we killed each other. But you were chipped, and I've died more times than anything ought to, and there are no rules left for the likes of us to follow. We have to make our own now, no matter how alien. Sometimes this feels like the first time I've lived, freedom feels like birth. New birth, a new life, a life I thought that I could share with you.

But creatures like us, we weren't meant to have a life. We weren't meant to have a future. We were only supposed to fill our time until we died, fulfill our objectives, give purpose to our blood and breathe.

So I left you, and told myself it was what I was supposed to do, that it was the right thing. I was lying, but my old life was catching up to me by then, memory upon memory piling up until all my choices were gone again. It wasn't that I stopped wanting you. The only thing I lost was the freedom to be honest. The only thing that I stopped believing in was the thought that I could have you.

I made no choice
I decided nothing

I never thought that I would want you. No, that's not true. I always knew that I wanted you. I wanted you from the first, from the sound of your sarcastic applause, the way you strode from the shadows like you owned them, and me. What I never believed was that I would let you see how I felt, that I would let myself see how I felt. It's your danger that attracts me, when I should be repulsed. I should look at you and see dust, I should dream of all the ways that I could kill you, instead of letting my mind drift to all the ways you could please me, the feel of your cold skin sliding against my warmth, shocking in it's difference. I told myself there was nothing there, you're everything that I should hate but when you're gone, I ache for you, and if you're near my only thought is how to get closer to you. I would crawl into your skin if I could, lured by the very darkness I should be fighting. There's something wrong with me, that I need you when I should need nothing, when I should be death walking. The only choice I ever made was to leave you, to walk away from everything I needed that I never wanted, and that was the stupidest choice I ever made. My own choice, it's true, but the wrong one.

One day you simply arrived in your stupid boat,
your killer's hands. your disjointed body, jagged as a shipwreck
skinny-ribbed, blue-eyed, scorched, thirsty, the usual,
pretending to be- what? a survivor?

I remember when you first came to Giles' door, wrapped in a blanket, burning from the sun, running from the law, a whole new enemy, the second we had shared, even though I didn't know it at the time, even though I didn't believe. It was the first time I allowed myself to think of you as anything but my enemy, as anything but the walking dead, a man to want instead of a fiend to turn to powder under my hands. You came looking for shelter, and I hated myself for wanting to give it, for wanting you. Even when I found out Angel was just outside the door waiting, watching, all it did was add some kind of voyeuristic thrill to the whole evening, We won't even get into what seeing you in those ropes did to me. I picture you helpless beneath me, helpless in my thrall. I told myself I wanted Riley, because he was everything a normal college girl should want, the kind of guy that I could take home to mom and eat Sunday dinner with. He wasn't Angel, ancient and brooding, wrapped in secrets like a cloak around his soul. Riley was a man, as I was a human, and it was a lie. Every moment I spent with him, pretending I could love like other people loved, those were all just lies I told myself back when I was sure I could be human if I just tried hard enough. You say you're helpless now and harmless but all I need to do is see your eyes to see that the monster still lurks inside you. I should fear you, or hate you, but neither is true. We match, you and I, in ways that were never meant to be.

Those who say they want nothing
want everything.
It was not this greed
that offended me, it was the lies.

You never lied to me. You'd be surprised to find out how alluring that can be, how tempting. You've never done things for my own good, to help me have a better life, or any other reason that I should appreciate but never do. You've always been honest in your wants, in your sheer selfishness. Ought to make you ugly, but so many people lie to me that seeing you be selfish and grasping just makes you look good. I'm so tired of people telling me that something is for my own good. What good has anything done me lately? I should take lessons from you in how to go after what I want and damn everything else. But if I'm being honest with myself, that means I should go back to you, go back to your bed, and use you in all the ways you always say you want. And I've told myself I don't want you, so I guess we're all just liars in this world.

Except for you. You still watch me with your killer's eyes and I can see your desire in them. You're an honest demon, I'll give you that. If only I could give you that same truth.

Nevertheless I gave you
the food you demanded for the journey
you said you planned; but you planned no journey
and we both knew it.

I gave in to you both too easy and not easy enough. Giving you my body was easy, so easy I don't understand why I didn't give into years ago. You are everything that I wanted, even if I didn't know what I wanted till I lost it. Giving you my heart was harder, sometimes I think there's nothing there left to give. I left my heart in heaven, my body is an empty shell. It was all I had to give you, and it wasn't enough for me. I thought I could give part of myself, but not all, and it's the holding back that's killing me. You swear you love me, that I'm all you want from this world or any other, and all I want to do is kiss you till you're quiet. Your words don't mean anything to me, they're not what I want, I want you under me, over me, in me, but I've never wanted your heart. I don't know why you love me, what is it about me that should make my own worst enemy turn against himself towards me. I don't want to know, cause I doubt it reflects well on me. I could lie to myself and say that I'm so good that I turned you, that you do things for me, are human for me now, because you want to live up to the example that I keep, but I'm starting to think I'm just a killer. Taking you and Angel as my lovers has confused the lines for me. I can see the monsters in humans just as easily as I can see the humanity in you and I'm starting to think I do not slay so much as I murder. But those are thoughts for dark nights, and I would rather just be with you. I wasn't made for thinking, that much is clear. I was made to kill, not to spend the midnight hours wishing I were different, dreaming of a life that is not this.

You've forgotten that,
you made the right decision.
The trees bend in the wind, you eat, you rest,
you think of nothing
your mind, you say,
is like your hands, vacant:

You say that you've changed, you've become a new man, a new demon, a killer of killers. You've been fixed, changed, you're innocent now. Innocent, that's a laugh. And yet none of that bothers me, because I'm starting to understand you and that scares me the most of all. You became what you were to spite yourself, and I can respect that. After all, what was I doing when I slept with you, besides betraying myself? Felt good, just like you said it would, felt like a rush, You could be Spike, and bury William under a mountain of corpses, be a killer at last, instead of a poet who had loved and lost and I could be your lover, nameless, existing only in your eyes. And neither of us really believes that anything is different. We are two hunters, you and I, and nothing can change that, not chips or my fall from grace back to life.

vacant in not innocent

And neither are you. Not innocent, not pure. You left bruises on me, even with your hands empty of everything but my flesh. Idle hands do the devil's business, but I have never seen you idle.

There must be more for you to do
than permit yourself to be shoved
by the wind from coast
to coast, boot on the boat prow
to hold the wooden body
under, soul in control

Vampires are vagabonds, wanderers, creatures of the night. You call no place your home, needing nothing but the blood to keep you alive. Cold has no meaning, the wind can wrap itself around your body and it is nothing to you but another piece of the night. But I think I can see the years catching up with you, following at your heels like ugly dogs. You've made a home here, a place for us to be where no one can find us. It's a weakness, and you know it, I can see you thinking about it when you think I'm sleeping, sated from your touch, Dru used to be your home, her body the only place you wanted to be. This love you feel for me is wrong, another weakness, soon you will be human as me. Assuming I'm human. You've made my soul your own, like I had no need of it and maybe that's part of why I stole it back from you. You cannot be me, it will not impress me, I can never love something like you. There's no love in me.

Ask at my temples
where the moon snakes, tongues of the dark
speak like bones unlocking, leaves falling
of a future you won't believe in

Remember when you told me about Angel telling you the legend of the Slayer, the one thing in all the world that could kill you? You should have been afraid, but even you admit that it just made you obsessed. This love is just obsession's other side, a flip of the coin. Sleeping with you is killing me, a subtle poison, and you've always wanted me dead. Or under you. Or maybe both. You've been looking for this for one hundred years. If it wasn't me, would you have loved another slayer? Have you loved them all? This is your future, the vampire who loved the slayer, who could not kill her, even when he could. Angel has an excuse; you only have technology. I've made you an alien to your own kind. You've made me your shelter, a place to come in from the cold. Did you really think that we could have anything, did you truly believe this could be real?

Ask who keeps the wind
Ask what is sacred

How could we so easily turn our backs on what we are, to become addicted to our deaths? I've turned against my nature in turning to you, in taking you as my lover, turning away humans to feel your cold touch. You are dead, this should be wrong, but you were alive under me and that's all that matters. I should make you my world, and give up on these rules that I believe in less and less each day. I wanted then, I want you now; that should be all that matters. I should be strong enough to stay at your side. I should be strong enough to say that you are mine.

Don't you get tired of killing
those whose deaths have been predicted
and are therefore dead already?

What if we changed ourselves? What if we made ourselves new, fresh in each other's eyes. We don't have to be killers. We could try to live as others live, lost in each other. There is nothing in this world I want more than to stop caring about the people in it. And you have always said you are a rebel. What could be more rebellious than pretending we are nothing more than lovers. If we dream enough, it may become real. This world is fluid; I know that better than most. Our dreams can make things real.

Don't you get tired of wanting
to live forever?

Between my deaths and your immortality, there must be some happy ground, some place where we can meet as equals. I only want you, no matter what lies I've told myself and you. Forgive me my nature as I forgive yours and we will make a new world, one where we can be real to each other.

Don't you get tired of saying Onward?

Stay here. Stay here with me. Be my lover, be my life. I lied then, when I said I could leave. You knew the truth before I did, a strange perception. Say yes, and we can have the world.

And Spike sits and listens, a drink in his hand. And he makes no answers, because we have never needed words.