Don't Let Them Break You Down

he wanders alone through a town that's not his
keeping his lover in his frame of mind.
he's broken the glass, but the picture remains:
a young man, a fine man, not quite a man - still a boy
a boy who would give the world only himself
never one for pretenses, he put forth no facade.

he wanders alone, a stranger to these streets,
and he remembers his lover exactly as he was.
he'll never be the same in his lover's mind
because he was the coward full of all but himself
and the fear made him say things he couldn't retract:
'the most dangerous thing that i could be is myself.'

his lover always said
'don't let them break you down
don't let them take you back
and don't ever sway'
and yet he broke down
it was better that way
he felt safer that way

he wanders with friends that he doesn't know
and they don't know him, but they go where he goes.
they think he's intriguing 'cause they've heard the rumors;
they know the story and where it's going to take him -
he'll go over a bridge or try russian roulette,
drowning in torrents of images that he can't quite forget.

he doesn't know what they know about him
he doesn't know how he let his love get away
he doesn't know why he's still around
he doesn't know who to go to today

no one will listen now - they've heard it already
no one will see him now - they see a has-been
no one notes his grief - his tears fall copiously
no one gives a damn now that he's gone.

the boy always told him
'don't let them break you down
don't let yourself go
to the ones you don't know
don't let yourself down
and don't let me down
please don't break down
when i can't fix you again'

and this boy was the one who watched from the sky -
unseen by all with his all-seeing eye.
he saw his earth-bound love end it for certain
he reappeared above to give penance for his sins
the boy tried to touch him, but he went through the skin
and he tried to save him, but there was no one within.

the cracks raced through him, shattering his spirit
the drugs shot through him; he lost his merit
the life drained away from him, he was merely bone
the love was wept by him; it was all he had known.
the boy's now-unbound lover was a shell with no soul
and he therefore was no one with nowhere to go.

© Jess Zelhart, 2003. Thou shalt not steal.

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