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Kitten Yvad Jun 2020
The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.




But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress nor egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death”.



It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.




It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. These were seven—an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different, as might have been expected from the duke’s love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose colour varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example in blue—and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange—the fifth with white—the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the colour of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet—a deep blood colour. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.





It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.





But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colours and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.




He had directed, in great part, the movable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fête; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm—much of what has been since seen in “Hernani”. There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There were much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these—the dreams—writhed in and about taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away—they have endured but an instant—and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-coloured panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulged in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.

But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumour of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise—then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.

In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade licence of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood—and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

When the eyes of the Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which, with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.

“Who dares,”—he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him—“who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him—that we may know whom we have to hang, at sunrise, from the battlements!”

It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly, for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.

It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple—through the purple to the green—through the green to the orange—through this again to the white—and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry—and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood ***** and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask, which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.



And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.
by God the most frightening thing I have ever read. And I have been dreading reading this since the beginning of quarantine. But in the 10th grade I studied this poem for 2 months and it terrified me because I thought it was about Ebola, but it is about Coronavirus in modern times as well as ancient plagues.
Emma P Sep 2019
War
War.
The cycle is always the same.
Two parties claim that the other is to blame
and soldiers without names, who think they’ll gain fame,
are slain.
The reasons differ, but peace
is sure to be one.
Tell me, please,
how you can say you fight for peace,
when humans are falling to their knees
without cease,
and dying?
And all I can do is write a poem.
All I can do is leave traces of graphite on wood pulp.
A poem will not change the facts.
or make up for empathy we lack,
or bring the dead back.
We must make friends out of foes
to slow the blood flow
before all that we know is
War.
My attempt at slam poetry. I realize now that this is kinda hard to read, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Willard May 2019
City cops, either
all pigs or all fathers,
break cement curbs with rubber
as the shin of a warm body
brushes a front bumper;
warning sign clearer than headlights.

I stand arrested across the highway.
An idle ghost, mouth agape, eyeballing
the Record Courier parking lot,
officers breaking cement
breaking kneecaps of a civilian.

Where he kisses the ground
I once analyzed the black of the sun,
diseasing slowly from time and the light.
I soaked the now with a present mind
and active heart, living for life

defined by want.
I recall Impressionist interpretations
of Carson Valley sitting on
the windowsill of the Courier,
a hand wrapped around my wrist

using its nails to pick off my skin
naively, so I’ll bleed out
through my scabs and my corpse
will be captured in that moment.
Handcuffed, legs pressed

between my shoulder blades,
but seconds still pass.
Divorced from a faded past,
I wait until three uniforms
shove a man into the backseat

and drive to the station.
We’re now shadows of
our former selves in
the lights of a cop car,
separated from when
our heartbeats were the loudest.
Tiara I S Mar 2019
Its spinning
Everything is spinning- nobody cares
Not a **** soul cares
That the pulsing blood people die for
Can only sustain so long

Don't you hear below your jaw
As it pounds so strong

You're disgusting
All of you disgust me
Carry your heads and walk
Trampling and leaving trails of blood
Soaked in the remnants of you
Shove everyone aside
Placing the brightest light on you
Until you need the transfusion
butterflies can drink blood to gain nutrients
unsxfe Nov 2017
I met someone today.
They seemed nice.
Swallowing my fears, I approach her.
We talked for hours.
She's nice, as my suspicions confirmed.
Why am I doing this?
Set a date and time.
Meet her there.
She's wearing this dress that is so vibrant, it feels like it extends through time.
My legs feel like gelatin.
I sit down with her.
We continue our conversation as planned, an-



wait
      you like
              THAT?

Nevermind.
I thought you were cool,
  But you like THAT.
And to think I...
  THAT?
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Forget it.
Forget me.
  We're through.
This one was me trying to experiment a little, fading in and out of traditional and my style.
Crandall Branch Oct 2017
slaving away
for hours on end
flipping burgers
and sighing inside, knowing that your life is emptie

how are we going to fix this problem?
corporations are evil
but what should we do?

we the peepole must stand united
liberty and justice for all
we must fight
and that is why we need you
please leave comments and feedback below :)
Crandall Branch Oct 2017
oxygen
molecules
h20
o2
co2
its overwhelming sometimes
how things can combine
to make new things

chemistry
biology
aquatic biology
its overwhelming sometimes
how when you think about new things, you have questions
and those questions turn into answers
that only leave you with more questions

books
magazines
newspapers
peoms
its overwhelming sometimes
that the written word, a beautiful method of self-expression
has been corrupted
by Them

The ones that manipulate
that scorch
that ravage the land

we must stand up
we must fight
and only then
can we be free
can we be underwhelmed
we will be strong
with everyone fighting
forming a human wall

we will be stronk.
please comment and feedback below! thanks :)
NeroameeAlucard Dec 2016
Where someone can get jumped or shot due to the color of their skin

Where someone can be judged off of what extremists do for their religion

Where money justifies anything, including the destruction of sacred land

Where "you must pull yourself up! Don't expect a helping hand!"

Where the youth are criticized for not making those same mistakes

Where you can be criticized for every single breath you take

Where love, or hell even a baby dying inside of you. Isn't supported by those that call themselves pro life

Where life was once precious, but now comes closer to collapsing every day

Where you're spit on or disowned for even suggesting that you're gay

Where we cant accept abnormality, where wanting and desiring change is a sin

That's the country we live in.
NuBlaccSoul Aug 2016
This waiting room is painted of pain,
featuring faces with mouths down-turned,
impatience taking up these empty seats,
of family members already lost,
we feel like the least loved
in the mighty grasps of almighty fate's
crushing hands,
we feel like the last patients
to be visited during the night shifts,
by nurses and doctors,
the times of day when the most dust
is swept back to the humble soil
by an unseen, yet not-so-invisible bashing broom.
the old fan - barely hanging -
is closing in full circle,
a whole life lived.
dull curtains, some unhooked and five minutes to falling,
alongside the walls' stripes
designed with a print of doctors' usual words,
"I'm so sorry for your loss."  

If life truly begins at forty,
then hers ended at the starting line.
this would be a misplaced and mixed metaphor
if it weren't for olympics silently running in the background on the tv
reminds me of my mute cries, surprised eyes bulging, gaping mouths with no sound.

It ought to be a preventative measure; just a routine operation
a possibly cancerous lump.
I am flipping aimlessly through these magazine pages,
each catching a tear-drop for the dog-ears
(whoever reads them next will turn the pages over better).
Some puzzled maze pieces fall out of a box,
my baby cousin tries to gather the cardboard paper of a family tree picture,
but the least important twigs are lost, and the last friendly branch found missing.
The many portraits that make up the landscape go away from time to time.
It was just a little, smallish lump.
these news are hard to swallow.
my eyes are peeling onions.
my throat is winter-hands dry.
mum says she saw her the most alive
a few odd minutes before time clocked aunt out.
Grandma's sister blames herself for suggesting, advising, and in retrospect putting "pressure".
neutral colours ***** the Scrubs' floors,
hypothermia lurking in the corridors,
but the coke from the vending machine is medicine lukewarm.

It was a game of musical chairs,
But when the seven trumpets sounded,
the stools remained still, they stood facing eastward in hexagonal formation.
An angel ascended, the remnants were six shadows now.
With a plot twist, it's less players each round.
Who dies first wins, I've tossed too much soil on dust, my hands are *****.
We wash our hands clean with this paraffin.
Open-casket, the last sight took my breath away - the whitened clay still one,
but with the breath of life taken away, by the One, who giveth and taketh.

It's also winter our hearts,
dips of grief, dabs of black clothing, grim-reaper the thief, we still loath him.
another weekend
another sad-a-day
another funeral.
And his life was a summary,
too brief a breath, as the contraction is.
No sympathy to bother saying
"I am".
Public or private hospitals, dark clouds gather above all.

Twenty-twelve was a scar,
for four years now we are still scooping our scabs, from the bottomless pits,
that fell from ever-fresh wounds picked at a tad too prematurely,
so very early.
Some of the things we will take to our graves
will take us to our graves, as we exhume our pre-mourning selves.
And hurt still drops in drips,
red-bottomed-sticky feet from the blood-washed tiles,
the pain and the paint in permanent.
Some matters you can only think about
when you are half-awake and half-asleep, because these nightmares
are too real to be dreams.

uThixo Ovayo unoNobantu, nabantu bakhe bonke ngamaxesha onke.

~ by New-Black-SoUl #NBS
(C) 2016. Phila Dyasi. Copyrighted 31 August 2016. NuBlaccSoUl™. Intellectual property. All rights reserved. Please quote poem with author name, poem title and date published if sharing to external sites without the link or/and if sharing an excerpt of the poem. || Thank you to Brian Walter and Lewish Bosworth for helping with the editing. I sincerely appreciate it.
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