CLOSET SHADOWS

The nightmares of the innocent

begin when the

closet doors

are left open,

and foul and hungry things

creep under the beds

and hide

in the corners.

The barrier to the netherworld

is shored up and reinforced

by closet doors.

Be vigilant

in their care and cleaning.

Keep them free of shadows

and they will leave,

and wait

until

a more opportune time.

THE FEATHERED WAND

The hatchlings’ tiny, shiny feathers

gild and grace the handle of the pipes,

and all the peace in the world

that was never attained,

broken by the strife and suffering

of humanity’s merciless

love of power

over other forms of dust,

is healed in the smoke,

blessed by

colorful fledgling feathers

that will never

feel the sun and wind and rain,

and

master the sky.

SPELLS IN THE SAND

All those ages past.

All these ancient gods.

All of these organs, bodies, and bones

tossed into all these fires.

All these prayers and offerings

of flesh, gold, and precious stones.

And the scent of all these flowers

and perfumes to hide

the stench of rot.

All these signs and sigils,

symbols, runes, and ruins.

All these spirits of light and dark,

summoned by all these tongues

speaking spells of power.

All silent now.

All dead forever.

All covered

in soil and sand

for

all time.

The untold

The tales grow brittle,

left untold,

The incantations, dry.

The knight, the dragon,

and the maid forgotten,

left to die.

The warrior and the quarry

cease their endless chasing game,

and all the wild in all the world

is culled, and dulled, and tame.

The story-laden stars go dark.

The magic creatures cry.

The lantern flowers give no light,

and fae no longer fly.

Beware the rift of magic

separated from the earth.

No hero comes to save the day.

There is no death or birth.

The stories lay forgotten now

on dusty, splintered shelves.

Thus we abandon to the void

the better of ourselves.

The Gauntlet of Forgotten

Silent now,

this once rambunctious band

of warriors.

All of them

silent now,

except me.

All these years later,

I still remember

the Elder’s advice

as she covered her knees

with her blanket.

“The cause you fight for

will never be absent

in the world,

for the hearts of men are

ever self-serving.”

She watches from among the stones

and remembers the day

she saw her son die.

I mourn with her,

prayerful, fearful,

in the light as she fades from view,

her tears gray as

rainclouds,

and colder than

death.

Tamed Voices

I’ve been made to understand

you’ve tamed the voices in your head,

and slaughtered to silence those

around your heart.

It’s no small thing you’ve accomplished.

You must yell ever louder,

and cut yourself until they bleed too.

Twist them slow and painfully,

like a rusty top forcefully pried

off the warped rim of a broken jar.

Grind them until their screams stop.

Take, then, the piece of you that survived the

furnace and the crucible,

and withstood the elements

of scientific arrogance

eroding the world,

and escape to

the quiet of your soul.

Watch the chaos of life leak,

streaking down the windows,

streaking down your face,

in the silent wailing

of the tamed voices,

and name yourself their

Master.

The Candles in the Hall

How are there candles burning

in these shadowed, drafty halls?

How is it that I gaze upon

the bones within the walls?

There are no parties held here now,

no balls or grand affairs,

so why do I see people laugh and drink

and talk in pairs?

The voices started softly, gently,

calling out my name.

And by the end I yelled and cried,

but no one ever came.

The halls are bright and festive now,

and full of fever dreams.

The voices and the laughter drown

the terror in my screams.

And still the candles burn here,

ever melting, never gone.

I guess I am the lighter then,

so I’ll be moving on…

Noisome Love

The darkness is an old friend and familiar lover.

Evil slips me on like a knife’s sheath,

and the demons of dead things walk in my wake.

They whisper love as evil,

and cut to drink from feeding veins

like children with straws bent and circled

back on themselves, watching

the dizzy, helpless liquid

unable to resist the pull

of its destiny.

The darkness smiles at me,

releasing a hint of lavender to

bring me through the

noisome rot of old, toppled stones

and trees that have seen too many

secret trysts of betrayal.

It is all one to me,

a final wanton plunge into

forbidden pleasures of torture eternal,

and I am forbidden to ever return.

The Fiendish Things

For I am old and lonely, child.

My time is growing short.

The fiendish things inside this place

now hunt us for their sport.

 

For I am tired and weary, child,

of things that chase and bite.

The fiendish things within these walls

pursue us through the night.

 

Well I am sick of running, child.

I think that I will stay

to fight the fiendish at our backs,

so make your getaway.

 

I only ask, remember me

as you live out your days,

and never use your magic gift

for learning fiendish ways.

 

I hear them growing closer, child.

My violent end is nigh.

To die in crimson polyglot’s

a soldier’s way to die.

 

Now run! Make haste! Go quickly, child.

But first, a kiss farewell.

And don’t look back to see the swarm

of fiendish things from hell.

 

Alone within the shadowed crypt,

I face the demon horde.

And make my peace with holy gods,

and draw my heathen sword.