The case against empathy

It’s getting hard to keep caring.

but now I know

the problem with empathy: you have to feel everyone —
even those without souls — you’re supposed to be open
to reavers who could care less about you, who shun
connection, who are poised, fingers over the buttons

that will send us all to hell, who celebrate meanness,
and bow down for garden variety dictators with death star
obedience. it’s a cold trip, inhabiting their gleeful hardness,
tasting their sour hatreds. i should be at some greasy bar,

blotting out my failure with bourbon. instead, i keep trying
to reach them, to connect, to find that infinitesimal spark
i assume they were born with, and kindle it against their dying,
against their blind determination to cut out their own hearts

and offer them in sacrifice to their plastic kings. oh my soul,
sometimes i wish i could drink you down and let them go