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Count Dracula Returns Home to Find His Castle's Become a Monastery
World’s got no place for vampires these days,
or maybe just the opposite. Too many places,
vampires like Starbucks on Manhattan corners.
Guess that’s what you should expect
when your fifteen minutes lasts a millennium.
Be grateful. Even Fonzie jumped the shark eventually.
Never should’ve let that Stoker fellow
into your life. Consider me a friend,
he said, go about your business, pretend
I’m not here and I’ll make you look good. That’ll
teach you to trust a writer. All the wrong
people think you’re cool. And retirement
planning’s a bitch when you live forever. So after
a guest shot on Law and Order,
after busting out in the first hour
at the World Series of Poker, climbing
Everest, skydiving, missing the cut
to be on Survivor, cruising with the old folks
along the Alaska shoreline, what’s left to do
but head for home? Back to a castle
three generations of villagers gave
their lives to build, inspired
partly by the neighbors’ heads on stakes,
true, but also by love. Surely at least a little.
Fear alone could not motivate such art
as this, could not keep backs bending,
arms and pulleys straining to lift
granite and marble blocks, ton by ton,
up a hundred feet of cliffside. Lost
some strong men that way. But worth
every drop of blood. Nothing like coming home
at sunrise after a hunt, white spires
gleaming at first light, crimson slate roof alive
in the lifting mist. Makes sense
monks would live there now. Who else
would have the patience to climb a rope ladder
down ten stories of rock to check the mail?
Easier to fly, of course, but not everyone
has that option. Ask one robed disciple
if they ever replace the rope and he says,
Sure we do, whenever it breaks.
You’ve got to respect that kind of inner peace.
Love what they’ve done with the place, too.
Nice little garden out back full of tomatoes
and herbs, a few goats and chickens.
Turns out they’re making spaghetti sauce,
selling it on the Internet to pay
for robes, incense, a gasoline generator.
You know, you could be happy
here. So take the brothers up on their offer
of a small room with a great view
of the Gurghiu Valley. Help with chores,
catch up on your reading, sleep. And wait.
Wait for the night you know will come
when the moon is new and an old thirst
burns on your tongue, when your throat aches
for the sweet warm taste of iron, when you
are consumed by the need to touch and be
touched in return. Which is all you ever wanted.
After 15 years as a reporter and editor, Amorak Huey recently left the newspaper business to teach writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His poetry has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Rattle, Oxford American, Contrary, PANK and other journals.