The Hollow Offering

“And is there nothing left to say?”

the ancient goddess cried.

“No, we have nothing left to give.

“We heard that you had died.”

“A goddess cannot die, you fool!

She feasts upon your prayers.”

“But none has come for centuries

to walk these haunted lairs

of marble stone and precious gems,

now rubble on the ground.

The prayers have all gone silent, here,

since you could not be found.

“You only have such power, goddess,

as we choose to give,

and it seems our decision has been

not to let you live.”

And with those words the goddess

slowly faded out of view,

and all her power left her

for her reign was truly through.

But sometimes when the moon is new

and hidden from our sight,

a crystal constellation

shows her crying through the night.

Weeping at the empty altar,

crying through the night.

 

Fortune Untold

A glowing candle in the dark,

an old man sits alone.

Across the dusty table,

there sits an older crone.

 

“I’ll tell ye of yer fate,” says she,

her eyes aglow and wide.

“I’d like to know if good or bad.”

He sat his chair astride.

 

She closed her eyes and muttered

at a fast and fevered pitch.

He didn’t see

the demon woman form

behind the witch.

 

She smiled with a dripping grin,

and stared with hungry eyes

so longingly, she’d come to cause

his dimming soul’s demise.

 

She pinned his body to the chair

and feasted on his heart.

“Your fate is bad,” the old witch said.

“And that completes your chart.”

 

She laughed as she got up to leave.

“Enjoy your meal, my dear.”

“Well, why stop now?” the demon said.

“The two of you are here.”

The Story Worm

The words rasp like a pitted file against my mind.

They are whittled, pondered, sundered, and then reformed.

‘Reworded,’ if you will.

What is it that you want to say?

This story is a worm squirming through my veins,

writhing against my consciousness,

twisting into boneless loops

that pulse and sting and tickle and hurt as

I try to sleep, and close my senses to its persistent cry.

But it will not stand to be unwritten.

Do you fall asleep, now?

“The thought of you will wait, and remain until I return.”

Are you sure we will remain,

or sure you will return?

 

 

*The Worm* 3D art by Jon Botros

 

 

Forsaken Souls

The fallen, forsaken, forgotten souls

are ashes in urns and bones in deep holes,

Consumed by the likes of the earthworm and voles,

That tunnel and burrow as deep thunder rolls.

Washed out with the deep tide of shallows and shoals,

The fire for the pyre burns white hot on black coals.

And you can now rest with your incomplete goals.

Unearthed

Perhaps the artifact you unearthed

was waiting for you.

Perhaps not.

The ancient wraiths of your fathers bear witness

to your own thievery.

Doubtless, the dormant curses will

begin to manifest.

The sleeping souls of the past

stumble as they walk toward the light

they’ll never reach.

The old soil encrusting your stolen treasure

is crumbly with dreams, fertile with memories,

and yet, nothing grew.

The redolent scent of the earth’s loam

gives way

to an afterbirth of blood.

Perhaps the artifact will break your clutching fingers

and release itself.

Perhaps not.

Worlds Within

The blood on my fingertips

is mine.

It holds worlds within its oxidated spheres

that some, walking down this city street,

can taste on their tongues

like vipers.

 

Their eyes change color and form

when you look deep enough,

the eyes of reptiles

and

things that fly in the night

to hunt.

 

They smile at me,

knowing I see them

as they think to

savor the worlds within

my blood,

rich with learning.

 

Their leader smiles at me too,

ferocious, flirtatious, and feral

as she mouths the words, ‘No escape.’

 

I drip the blood on the tip of my tongue,

and offer it to her.

 

Laughing, she approaches,

eager to begin

the dance of worlds within.

 

I Kissed My Vices

The moon was high,

the hour late,

and my vices came to me with gleams in their eyes,

dresses unbuttoned, hanging off their shoulders,

skin sweaty with shiny sins,

promising, in sibilant whispers,

pleasures unparalleled in

a paradise unknown.

I opened my arms,

and they came in a pleasing swarm that caressed my shoulders,

soothed my mind, ceased my pain,

and stole my soul.

Night after freezing, endless night,

I walked back to the lair that beckoned with smoky eyes, neon lights, and phony smiles as my pockets deflated

and my ego burst beneath long fingers, teasing lacquered nails,

my deceiving reflection lifting yet another whiskey in hollow celebration of a dying life as his murderers smiled

and professed their undying love.

And one night, I kissed them all, my vices, every one,

losing myself in the scent of perfume that didn’t quite hide the corruption.

They slipped their poisoned nectar tongues past my lips

and bid me suck.

And I fed like a flitting hummingbird.

When the sky turned from black to indigo with the coming dawn,

they bit my bleeding lips and left their blight behind, a

as they fled from me, their laughter mocking me

in birdsong

and the susurration  of taxi tires

on dewy, steaming streets.

In the morning light heralding the void of a plagued and restless sleep,

the crows and flies of hell gathered to feast on the remnants of myself,

now repenting in the light of the sun,

while the consequences of all I lost gibbered among themselves

and nipped at my heels like jackals

not waiting their turn

for the lions feasting on a carcass.

“Forgive me,” I said to the emptiness slipping about me like a filthy blanket,

The paper trash and gutter dirt rolled in eddies of laughter,

as the cold breeze slapped my face, and said, simply,

“Never.”

It stripped another piece of me and swirled down the block,

leaving me diminished, depleted, defeated,

a split rock with no chance

of ever being whole.

I stopped walking, not knowing where I was,

trembling from the stripping of the cloak of night,

the dread comforts of my kissing vices

breaking apart like cirrus clouds ripped asunder

to make way for the storm.

And I despaired of ever seeing home again…

But before me, right there in front of me,

in a crack on the sidewalk caught in a brightening ray of  light

was a small, sprig of transcendent green, with one tiny, verdant leaf

dancing on the wind like a miniature banner

unfurled and raised

in a hopeless battle.

It blurred once, and then again,

as drops of salty water filled my eyes,

and said to me, in all its infant glory,

Begin again…