What’s the measure of obsession – when beauty’s luster pales to gloom?

Is it wasted flower petals, river boatwrecks under a moon?

Is it love letters from baby turtles read aloud to bashful girls,

Or earrings strung and pasted with paper clips and river pearls?

Is it sewer pipe professions, a granddad’s aluminum canoe?

Or a voicemail clogged with accents, a past week’s disjointed news?

It’s tandem-ridden motorcycles, reeling red around a curve

And delayed gratification’s endless plodding dirge

It’s the cracked bells of an existence tolling hollow someone’s name

The dead embers of a poison hope flickering eternal flame.