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Crow May 2022
arise vehement sea
and hammer
with your suffering fists
all the crags
and lonely stones
upon the shores of
the naked coast

where crouches
at edge of bluff
the foundations raw
cantilevered walls
and the arcing buttresses
that shelter dreams
held secret

hurl your agonized and
eager waters
at stone and mortar
shake the bedrock
on which rest
the touchstones
in the deepest cellars

let your echoing tremors
buffet and rebound
within the resonant chambers
hidden below

your ululating winds
calling to memories
in their veiled towers
peering from windows
narrow and high

their fluttering lamps
clinging to the light

they search the tumult
with eyes fearful and uncertain
cloaking forsaken desires
that thirst without end
Juju Jul 2021
We built a home
made of lies,
A room
filled with secrets,
The walls
witnessed our highs,
And sighs
That silenced the crickets.

- Juju
Stygian Dec 2020
I have forgotten what skin feels like.
I have touched it many times but sometimes it feels like silk and other times it has felt like concrete.
It has felt like velvet but also felt like sandpaper.
I’ve avoided the texture of those around me for so long it has become an unfamiliar touch.
I have grown sick at the thought of melting into someone else’s epidermis.
The fact that just giving someone a delicate touch means I am vulnerable worries me that I have not built walls
I have built an entire castle
A fortress around me that no one can penetrate.
I sit on a throne that no one else is allowed to even look at
You can’t have what I’ve experienced
You can’t be a part of what I have built.
This is because of you. I have worked so hard to keep you out
I sit in the aftermath of your disappointment and remember the times you shattered me and I keep building.
And building.
And building.
Until finally I’ve built something sturdy enough to never be broken down again. Not even by you.
like a winter wind you whisper through
the smallest imperfections in the
brick and mortar walls i’ve built around my heart

i didn’t even build windows or doors this time around
thinking it would keep this fortress

even so you’ve somehow managed to infiltrate
erode my defenses
the tiniest pores in the brick and split them open, exposing me to the elements again

i shiver, unprotected and afraid
the salt still streaks my face from the last hurricane
the sword still at my side
too heavy now to lift against you
and even if it wasn’t
would it pierce you, or would i simply hurt myself again?

at any rate, you move too quickly for me to anticipate

the wind is too strong
now that my cliffside fortress is in ruins
my eyes water and it is far too difficult to predict your next move when all i can see is your wild eyes and feral smile

i don’t want to fight you
even if it means i will be undone
because i would rather be broken
than break you
for mur
I am a fortress.
"Build," was the command; I did.
Need a ladder out.

wherever you go
you will find a family there
climb over yourself
August 2020
Sadie Grace May 2020
I sleep when the sun does
to hide from the dark in a fortress of sleep
But running doesn't make it go away
only more traumatic when you have to face it
I sleep when the sun does
missing the beauty of the stars
They speak a language I can’t understand
A language I might never learn
If I'm scared of the dark
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Be That Rock
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt Sr.

When I was a child
I never considered man’s impermanence,
for you were a mountain of adamant stone:
a man steadfast, immense,
and your words rang.

And when you were gone,
I still heard your voice, which never betrayed,
"Be strong and of a good courage,
neither be afraid ..."
as the angels sang.

And, O!, I believed
for your words were my truth, and I tried to be brave
though the years slipped away
with so little to save
of that talk.

Now I'm a man—
a man ... and yet Grandpa ... I'm still the same child
who sat at your feet
and learned as you smiled.
Be that rock.

I don't remember when I wrote this poem, but I will guess around age 18 in 1976. The verse quoted is from an old, well-worn King James Bible my grandfather gave me after his only visit to the United States, as he prepared to return to England with my grandmother. I was around eight at the time and didn't know if I would ever see my grandparents again, so I was heartbroken—destitute, really. Keywords/Tags: Grandfather, Grandpa, rock, shelter, fortress, strength, courage, angels, years, time, age, loss, truth, voice
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
by Michael R. Burch

... Among the shadows of the groaning elms,
amid the darkening oaks, we fled ourselves ...

... Once there were paths that led to coracles
that clung to piers like loosening barnacles ...

... where we cannot return, because we lost
the pebbles and the playthings, and the moss ...

... hangs weeping gently downward, maidens’ hair
who never were enchanted, and the stairs ...

... that led up to the Fortress in the trees
will not support our weight, but on our knees ...

... we still might fit inside those splendid hours
of damsels in distress, of rustic towers ...

... of voices of the wolves’ tormented howls
that died, and live in dreams’ soft, windy vowels ...

Published by The Chariton Review

Keywords/Tags: Childhood, dreams, enchanted, stairs, fortress, trees, damsels, maidens, towers, wolves, howls, oaks, elms, paths, pebbles, playthings, toys, moss
my way
is this
boundless spirit
of sound
splashing and
wise that
keen to
law this
Prodigy and
express thier
existence here
in count
with drama
and material
is facto
and witness    
of nation
ritual of law
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