by Ben Bock

There are no words, there are no words.
So let the precious silence reign.
Eyes meet and lock, hearts soar as birds.
The stillness sings out love's refrain.

Each gaze is deep, and finds its mark.
It rivets both, in speechless awe.
Their pulses race, there glows a spark.
Behold each face, each tensing jaw.

This creature who can maim and kill,
This beauty with a pedigree,
Are frozen there, and time stands still.
They touch in ways we cannot see.

Each stares unblinking at Love's face.
Surroundings fade into a blur.
Their eyes are focused on one place.
She yearns for him, he longs for her.

To other worlds transported now,
Their eyes stay fixed, their lips unmoved.
And etched on each expressive brow,
Transcendent love that's now been proved.

They're statues now, they're silhouettes.
An otherworldly aura glows.
Their frozen pose sings love-duets.
Their eyes can speak!  Oh, how it shows!

Oh, would that I could know such love,
Hypnotic as a candle flame.
Where is it found?  Below?  Above?
It needs no words to say its name.

Still deeper now their gazes go
To thrilling hidden inner realms.
Most mortals will not ever know
True love like this that overwhelms.

So if at times your tongue is tied,
Transfix him with a look instead.
Your feelings through your eyes confide.
Outpour your soul with words unsaid.

by Ben Bock
(apologies to E. A. Poe)

Once upon an evening dreary -- at a party -- she grew weary
Over many a cruel and callous comment by a stuck-up bore.
Dating him was sheer Tom-foolery, notwithstanding gifts of jewelry,
He bethought himself a ruler, he issued orders, as in war.
Therefore to this Eve she bade adieu and headed for the door,
Said good-night and nothing more.

Tired and drawn and looking waxy, Catherine went to hail a taxi,
Finding it to be the usual monumental, maddening chore.
Then some aid!  It seemed propitious, but in hindsight quite suspicious.
As a van came, someone vicious threw her in its open door,
Quickly slammed it shut and hurled her savagely upon the floor.
Fear she felt like ne'er before.

Cognizant of growing peril, next she heard herself called "Carol,"
Not a name she even knew but some conventiongoers' whore.
Taken wrongly for a hooker just because she was a looker,
Wondering why her luck forsook her, lying there upon the floor,
Catherine screamed and lapsed unconscious ere the knife-inflicted gore.
Then they flung her out the door.

Soon a strange nocturnal rover, caped in black and all hunched over
Found her lying in the grass and bleeding, clawing at death's door.
Gently he reached out to hold her -- then, beginning to feel bolder,
Lifted her onto his shoulder, hers a plight he'd not ignore,
Took her to a secret haven in a hidden place of yore.
There her health he would restore.

Bandaged, blind, she woke in terror, sensing some great cosmic error. 
Then a magic velvet voice spoke, soothing her like ne'er before.
"You are safe now" -- what an earful, for a soul so lost and tearful
Calmed her, made her much less fearful of whatever lay in store.
Asked her name and told her his; told her the "St. Vincent's" lore,
Changed her life forevermore.

"With my vocal affectations I will read Great Expectations
For your listening ear, so just  relax, your ribs are very sore."
Then he introduced his Father, who was sometimes quite a bother;
Catherine sensed the man would rather not take on this added chore.
Vincent soon explained her placement, down where few would dare explore.
"Keep it secret, I implore."

Dumbstruck by her fragile beauty, overcome by sense of duty,
Vincent felt a growing bond; an oath of loyalty he swore.
While she rested, nearly napping, Catherine thought she heard a tapping
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at her chamber door.
"`Tis some visitor," she muttered, "Who is out there, and what for?"
Answered he, "I'll read some more."

Missing nearly half a month, her father and the smarmy Gunther
Searched the city, never finding that which they were looking for. 
Meanwhile in that place of mystery, wrested from the city's history,
Vincent struggled to assist her, he oozed compassion from each pore.
She, once strong, now seemed a waif -- despondent, frightened, blind and sore.
Pure self-pity, to the core.

Ten days in this strange position with a stranger and physician
Made her restless, so she rose and, yes, her bandages she tore.
Saw her face-scars in the mirror, gasped and looked to see them clearer,
Then stepped Vincent somewhat nearer, startled her like ne'er before.
Catherine flung the mirror at him, not sure which face scared her more,
Sent him slinking out the door.
Later things were less frenetic, and he spoke of things genetic, 
Fateful things which sentenced him to hide his face forevermore.
Notwithstanding his attraction, he still hurt from her reaction,
Felt renewed dissatisfaction with the countenance he wore.
Yet, he put aside his anguish, brushed aside his woes galore,
Vowed her spirit to restore.

"Catherine, you have strength within you -- now your life you must continue,"
Counseled Vincent softly as he walked her to her basement floor.
Quite ashamed of her behavior, knowing he had been her savior,
Catherine hugged him, said "You gave your all to me, and then some more.
What words can I say to thank you?  Hear me please, I do implore."
But he vanished, through the door.
Into surgery on a gurney went the beautiful attorney,
There to have her face fixed and the scars removed forevermore.
Minus fatherly endorsement, took a job in law enforcement.
Catherine knew that this of course meant lesser income than before.
But, her life had found new meaning  -- member of a stalwart corps,
Vanguard in an urban war.

Eight months passed and Vincent noticed e'en at distances remotest,
She was in his senses still, and this was too much to ignore.
On a whim a little flighty, went to see her in her nightie --
Beautiful as Aphrodite -- and they talked outside her door.
"One last time, I wished to see you," Vincent said, and eyed the floor.
"I am strong now," Catherine swore.

She, now toiling for Joe Maxwell, missed some work but hid her tracks well,
Save from spunky Edie who had often seen the type before.
"In this office you come bopping, then you go and do your shopping,
Meanwhile holy hell's a-popping -- it's a mindset I abhor."
Catherine fought to gain her friendship, earned respect, and won her o'er,
Not to argue ever more.

Aided by this office hacker, Catherine tracked down her attacker,
Having found the mystery "Carol" whom the knife had been meant for.
Asked her help and Carol gave it, swearing out an affidavit;
This was truly very brave, it put her in a full-scale war.
For her safety, Catherine hid her, ere the trial, her civic chore.
Be a victim?  Nevermore!

In a brownstone in the Village, there was further bloody spillage,
Catherine's slashers found their prey and ruthlessly renewed the gore.
Rage within his darker twin  sent fury into gentle Vincent.
Catherine, wide-eyed, no more inn'cent of his strength, his claws, his roar,
Saw the maulings, saw his shame, and whisked him  to the basement door,
Bonded now forevermore.

Thus began a tender story, often sad and sometimes gory,
Of a special something that has never, never  been before.
She a beauty downward-mobile, he a beast grotesque but noble,
Theirs a tale unique yet global, one we thoroughly adore.
Facing odds impossible, they dared to dance, to love, to soar...
What a wondrous metaphor.

by B. Bock

Unchoreographed is its dance in the dark
Far under the starry skies'  nocturnal spark
Beneath silver clouds and the flight of the lark
And underneath even the moonshadowed  park.

It rumbles and roars and it mumbles and moans;
It blows and it bites and it bumps into stones;
It whistles untroubled through catacomb bones,
A ghostly spelunker in netherworld zones.

It bounces and ricochets off the rock walls
Through mist of the likewise mysterious falls;
Its spirals and eddies in cavernous halls;
No face and no form  -- yet a message it calls:

"I sweep the unwanted from way up above
To clandestine refuge where they might find love;
Unfit were they there, yet now fit hand in glove
Into a utopia that's scarcely dreamt of."

A love from afar travels airborne with ease;
A blondish mane wafts in the whispering breeze;
The wind reinforces a bond by degrees;
Two hearts exchange spiritual intimacies.

It transports emotions -- the zephyr is strong;
It bridges the gap between lovers who long
To kiss and embrace and transcend all that's wrong
With distance  -- and sing love's mellifluous song.

It stiffens, it softens, it ebbs and it flows;
Its gently delivers the scent of the rose;
It tugs at his cape and it rustles her clothes,
Their secrets its cargo wherever it goes.

It courses through tunnels where nothing's amiss;
It chills and it thrills and it fills the abyss,
Caresses her tresses and carries her kiss
To him who had never known rapture like this. 

"The depths of the earth are not silence's sphere;
I deem it alive and announce to all here,
There's life, there is love, there is everything dear,
A truth beyond knowledge, a grand gondolier.

A lifestyle completely collaborative,
They share and they care and they always forgive;
Overtly they love while covertly they live;
While nothing they own, they yet constantly give."

It whines and it weeps and it weaves and it wends,
It swirls and it whirls and it curls around bends;
It moves disembodied, it nudges, portends,
And softly conveys all the feelings its sends.

Down, down and still downward it wanders and strays
Past Dantean depths in the black murky maze.
Secure in earth's womb it curls up and it stays,
Untouched by the sun for the rest of its days.

But let it be known that there once was a day
The wind never ventured below, come what may;
It now pirouettes in the darkness to stay, 
Exults and then fades, then crescendos to say:

"The planet I knew is in slow suicide;
Civility gone, nature's laws all defied;
Within lies true beauty, so here I reside;
Below I can sing, while above I just cried."

About the Author

Ben Bock is originally from Ohio but has lived in Los Angeles for the last 10 years, working at an insurance company. Ben, a romantic at heart, has been a Beauty and the Beast fan since 1988 and cites "Orphans" as his favorite episode. Ben only recently started writing poetry but says he isn't quitting his day job. He enjoys baseball, travel and puzzles and created a book of Beauty and the Beast crossword puzzles, which is available through Martin Enterprises, P. O. Box 1211, Burke, VA 22009-2211. Ben is also the editor of "The Mirror Pool", a quarterly Beauty and the Beast hard copy newsletter. Contact for more information.