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.

 

 

Land of Lingering

I walk among preserves,

not people.

A world-weary wanderer

weary of his travels,

but restless in his soul.

 

These stone and ivy ruins,

these empty, rain-slicked city streets,

these brown, bare, and dying forests,

these deserts, almost empty of their sands

as if the old gods turned a

cosmic hourglass

all turn to ash beneath a

merciless sun.

 

I see them, these presences.

They hail me in greeting, waving as I pass,

weep in their newly refreshed grief,

and chase and curse me

in their superstitions.

 

Their children run up to me,

and sing to me,

tugging at my clothes and hair,

encircling me in their games

that light up their young, ancient faces,

their silent laughter fully formed in echoes of time.

 

They all linger just outside the senses

like lights flickering on the sea,

instantaneous glimpses

of what was,

and what will be again.

 

“Wait for us,” they say. “We will return.”

 

I long to sit, and eat, and rest,

but over it all,

the emptiness and solitude

goad me ever onward,

my own essence

lingering still among them.

 

I hope it brings them comfort.

 

The Bardic Gates

They bring the dead musicians here

inside the Bardic Gates.

There’s always music playing when

another grave awaits.

Another bard to fill it,

or perhaps a troubadour…

It doesn’t really matter.

If you’re resting here, you’re poor.

Beware of passing late at night.

The music pulls you in,

and once inside there’s no escape.

You can’t outrun your skin.

The music slowly changes you

to something that you’re not.

And spirits wander restlessly

as bodies slowly rot.

The spectral dancers waltz across

the brittle, frozen grass.

But here, there’s no nobility,

nor wretched underclass.

For music is a thread of life

that stitches trouble’s tolls,

so ever will eternal Death

fill earth with Bardic souls.

 

The Echoes of Ruins

Inside the old ruins

with vermin filled walls,

their boisterous voices still

ring through the halls.

 

How dazzling the jewelry,

the elegant gowns,

the best of the people from

best of the towns.

 

The thrill of the invite,

the calling by name

of every arrival

with fortune or fame.

 

The dark spirit no one saw

enter the space

was spreading his presence

all over the place.

 

The party grew louder,

and lewder, and crude.

The nobles were commoners,

servants were rude.

 

The atmosphere shifted

from festive to hate.

The dark spirit, watching,

decided to wait.

 

The sounds of the bacchanal

split the night air.

The dark spirit giggled

and fired a flare.

 

His cohorts arrived

and the violence began,

the fights and the sex

and the red sins of man.

 

The fires raged free

and the screaming was shrill,

the stones rained like hail

over castle and hill.

 

The dark, evil spirit’s

residing there still.

Don’t stop there. Don’t go there.

Your soul he will kill.