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.

 

Where Did the Magic Creatures Go?

Where did the magic creatures go?

Perhaps they’re sealed inside the wall:

the fairies, elves, and goblin kings

are waiting for the children’s’ call.

 

Where did the magic creatures go?

Perhaps they’re drowning in the sea.

I hear them in the quiet night.

They’re coming from inside of me.

 

Where did the magic creatures go?

They walk above in skies of blue

The trip and fall into the mind.

And now they come from inside you.

 

Fate’s Laughter

We mourned him as the rain poured down

and mingled with our tears.

We watched him shrink in on himself

through dark and lonely years,

a bitter man whose bitter soul

was conquered by his fears.

He faces an eternal judge,

no jury of his peers.

No counselors or comfort now,

no riotous crowds with jeers.

He’d seen death coming for us,

but his cries fell on deaf ears.

He begged and begged us for their lives,

but still we killed the seers.

So now we wait here for the end,

surrounded by our biers.

And through the silent, empty hall

we hear the demon voices call.

We run, and run and fall, and fall.

Fate’s laughter washes over all.

We killed the heralds of our hell,

and did not hear the killing knell,

the minor notes of broken bell.

And me, the one who’s left to tell,

was once a man, but now a shell.

 

Blood Writes

The spells ignite.

The runes writhe and undulate to

make strong the binding spells that

keep me here among

the ivory skulls

and black candles.

The innocent blood

in the ink jar

smells like copper roses.

A scarlet droplet

poised on a silver nib

shines in the firelight,

an unholy star

chained to hell.

It desires to spread

and seep into the vellum,

recording for all time

the gibbering words and thoughts

of madmen,

and the noble speeches of

martyrs andĀ kings.

More often than not,

blood writes them

the very same.

 

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.”