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.

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 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.

 

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.

Errant and True

The scratching of the quill is like

an errant clock that’s ticking.

 

The drumming of my fingers is

a stuck gear wheel that’s clicking.

 

My fondest memories of you

like flies to glue are sticking.

 

My darkest dreams meander

through sharp nettles that are pricking.

 

The birds of paradise do flee

as hellhounds scent the sadness.

 

They howl their invitation loud

to join them in their madness.

 

I turn and try to run away,

and demons fill the darkness.

 

To brand upon my wretched heart

a beauty turned to starkness.

 

But there are no regrets here, friend.

Just tears and sighs and crying.

 

And now the morning sun so bright

is rising while I’m dying.

 

The drumming fingers start to slow,

eventually grow still.

 

The heart that beats so softly now,

keeps time with errant quill.

 

 

The Herald of the Vampire Queen

I gave her word

he waited in his

dark and incensed lair,

to taste once more

her grave-cold flesh,

and stroke her

fiery hair.

 

She ran upon the

cobbled streets

as fleet as I could wing,

To find him slumped

and bleeding

in the strong hands

of her king.

 

“This thing that you

betrayed me with,

you love it more than me?”

 

“Did I not come at midnight here?

Have you not eyes to see?”

 

The king had slain the vampire lord

with sword of silver true.

“And now, my unclean, tainted love

I’ll do the same to you.”

 

She fought him hard but

futilely, ‘til I removed his eyes.

“Good servant, feathered herald.

You have helped me win the prize.”

 

My head was at a curious tilt

as she breathed out her words.

She struck the blind king fatally,

and fed her carrion birds.

 

A woman’s heart is fickle,

and its motives e’er unseen.

It will betray a vampire lord

or mortal king,

for Queen.

The Souls of Her Lovers

I follow this girl in the hopes of

something uncertain,

even as

the sea wind tugs at me like

a small child with entreating, urgent

hands.

 

There are threats within the deep

to snatch me from the air,

and so I must be wary.

 

These orbs,

bright and small and pink,

have voyaged here from

watery graves

to surround her with

the fervid attention

she drew from them

in life.

 

When she tires

of their

flickering affection,

she will feed them to me.

 

Then I will feast,

and dream

of being a man

worthy of

her love.

 

For now,

we dance

together

on the storm-churned

surf,

as the

souls of her lovers

circle us

to the music

of the wind.