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AUGUST Nov 2018
Sitting on the corner while Starring
At the glances of your smile all over
Cover the room by your face unveiling
Up to this moment, I want to be near,
(you were a mile from here)

Thinking It was cloudy on my mind,
But when you are here by my side
You are making my day as bright
Showing the beauty behind,
(They have nothing to hide,
nothing to hide.)

How deep is the ocean trenches?
How far is the stars throughout the abyss?
How much warm is your embraces?
How much cold Is your lips to kiss?

l don’t much care about counting all of these,
As long as you are with me, you are my bliss

(I could tell,) heaven’s gate is not the place of happiest
And angels are not those prettiest,
Indeed, God is always be the wisest,
For sending me a fallen angel, I’ve caught the brightest, the brightest

Lately, You stole what between these lungs
You open my chest, You let it pour, my bleeding heart
I cant deny, how i feel, you are my crush
I have been stunned on Your eye lashes, (glances, perfume scents, and blushes)

How deep is the ocean trenches?
How far is the stars throughout the abyss?
How much warm is your embraces?
How much cold Is your lips to kiss?

Do I have to care about all of that anymore,
As long as you are with me, what should I have to ask for?

Emerald, jade, diamond, gold and silver,
I guess nothing is forever, unless me and you
In this world of deception, anyone can be a liar
Just remember, Nothing is to fear, I am always here.
.......I am always here.
Honestly, I did not know what is sonnet and how to make one, but I did it unconsciously. It is true that poets have a universal language in terms of making thier poems.

This was Dedicated for Margaret
Amitav Radiance Nov 2014
Your smile sets ripples
Across the calm waters
As my soul takes a plunge
Into the sea of feelings
Feeling the warmth
That embraces me
I can see myself in the reflection
of your heart
Scattering the colors of love
Your smile always
welcomes me
1
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

2
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with
perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and
vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing
of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and
dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,

The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of
the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields
and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising
from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the
earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of
all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions
of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look
through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in
books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

3
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
increase, always ***,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of
life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not
my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they
discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every ***** and attribute of me, and of any man hearty
and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied - I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the
night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy
tread,
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the house with
their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my
eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is
ahead?

4
Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and
city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old
and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss
or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news,
the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is *****, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with
linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.

5
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to
you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not
even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.

I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over
upon me,
And parted the shirt from my *****-bone, and plunged your tongue
to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my
feet.

Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass
all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women
my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap’d stones, elder, mullein and
poke-****.

6
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more
than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green
stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see
and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the
vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I
receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the ******* of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out
of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for
nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and
women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken
soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the
end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

7
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know
it.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash’d babe, and
am not contain’d between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.

I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and
fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)

Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,
For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the
mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.

Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be
shaken away.

8
The little one sleeps in its cradle,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies
with my hand.

The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,
I peeringly view them from the top.

The suicide sprawls on the ****** floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol
has fallen.

The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of
the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the
clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-*****,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs,
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to the
hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his
passage to the centre of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over-fed or half-starv’d who fall sunstruck or in
fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and
give birth to babes,
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls
restrain’d by decorum,
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances,
rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them-I come and I depart.

9
The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.

I am there, I help, I came stretch’d atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the cross-beams and seize the clover and timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.

10
Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-****’d game,
Falling asleep on the gather’d leaves with my dog and gun by my
side.

The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle
and scud,
My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from
the deck.

The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,
I tuck’d my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;
You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle.

I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west,
the bride was a red girl,
Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking,
they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets
hanging from their shoulders,
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his
luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride
by the hand,
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks
descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach’d to her
feet.

The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and
weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,
And brought water and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d
feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own, and gave him some
coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting piasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass’d north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean’d in the corner.

11
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.

She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.

Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.

Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.

Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth
bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.

The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their
long hair,
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.

An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.

The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the
sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending
arch,
They do not think whom they ***** with spray.

12
The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife
at the stall in the market,
I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break-down.

Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil,
Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in
the fire.

From the cinder-strew’d threshold I follow their movements,
The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,
Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,
They do not hasten, each man hits in his place.

13
The ***** holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags
underneath on its tied-over chain,
The ***** that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and
tall he stands pois’d on one leg on the string-piece,
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over
his hip-band,
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat
away from his forehead,
The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of
his polish’d and perfect limbs.

I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop
there,
I go with the team also.

In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as
forward sluing,
To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing,
Absorbing all to myself and for this song.

Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what
is that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.

My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and
day-long ramble,
They rise together, they slowly circle around.

I believe in those wing’d purposes,
And acknowledge red, yellow, white, playing within me,
And consider green and violet and the tufted crown i
am i ee Sep 2015
hey you!

yeah you!

i’m talking to you!

i’m a big fat bus
with
A!
BIG!
FAT!
BEAUTIFUL!
YELLOW!
BOOTAY!

i say,

NOW!
YOU!

Yeah you!
YOU get outta MY way!

go on now
get outta my way

hey hey hey
get outta my way
way of my 
big fat,
fat big ,
beautiful yellow bootay

hey hey hey!
BIG FAT YELLOW BOOTAY!

hey hey hey

fat bootay

I say
Outta my way!
hey hey hey
if you have a hankerin' to read from the beginning... see the Collections,  The Manly Cowboy & Chronicles of a Big Fat Yellow Bootay
Sarah Jystad Jun 2010
Let's share hands and fall,
fall back into this flowerbed
Let's watch the petals fly
drift downward again

earthly embraces clarify

let's traverse this tree
and the clinging sap
let's sit on this crumbling cliff
and watch the dirt tumble

earthly embraces clarify

let's hold each other close
and dance to this night rhythm
let's escape into the stars
and each other's life-sparks

earthly embraces clarify
6/10/10
pixels Oct 2012
Words swathe me in calm,
Sentences, paragraphs that soothe.

Viridian verbs burst through the grey,
Taunting me into action-
Seducing me into a delicious dance-
Gypsy girl, swing your sentences my way!

Turquoise adjectives wrap around my wounds,
Embracing my flaws and perfections.
Rough olive skin; somber caesious eyes-
Gypsy girl, with amaranthine scars.

I drape myself over sienna nouns,
Steadfast, supporting me proper, improper, always.
Paper, songs, tree, sky, love, Jami Lee-
Gypsy girl, use your words correctly!

Each turn of a page lures me deeper-
Each spoken rhyme embraces me close-

Jami Lee, sweet little girl, get your head out of the clouds,
And your nose out of a book!
Embraces of the fore long ..
the dreams of spirits draws us near
embraces wraps us with love
even when we are gone..

Our pen holds us captive
memories threads us through
each others fingers
kissing the air we breathe..

Our mind holds on to the loneliness
fingers write with a flair
arms draw one near
that loves the most and the deepest
eyes see what is written
of the dearest one of all..

Debbie Brooks 2014
Ayad Gharbawi Dec 2009
WOMAN BUTCHERED



Ayad Gharbawi


Child that gathered knowledge
Knowledge frightening to human nature
Girl-child was awakened
Herself she awakened
Saw the glow of eyes buttery
Glow of hatred molten
Glow of **** howling
Child, pretended innocence pretty
Child smiled all along the paths unknown
Yet, her body recognized colours unimaginable in their serenity sublime
Figures in her sleep strange, yet beautiful
Songs of sweet sleep, yet alerting in their soothing abilities
Little girl, who are you?
Why won’t you let us
Define you?
Little girl
Honourable lady woman
Did you grow up at all?
Or did you just die in your infancy?
As so many before you have
Did you come
To feel and understand
Your sensitive dimensions?
We would have made sure that you would be mature
If you were submissive enough for us!
Child girl, laughs uneasily and seriously
Child girl, sees lofty, exalted visions possessive
Visions of history’s episodes are expressed pointedly in your compulsive embraces
The foolish martyred are reading holy sermons for their self remembrance
Soldier unknown unmasking his face mangled to the surprised horror and utter disgust
Of his family, friends and other serious clowns
Singing an anthem of Fate’s real truth and nature and essence
Heroine unnumbered, chained to deformity
And becoming a mirror of what they did chain you to
Child girl scarred and petrified by disturbed scenes committed lovingly and lavishly by Man
Child girl curls, yet anticipates
Listen! The foot-steps frighten you once more
The shrieking manic clown has arrived again, red eyed and even more
Laughing dreary, spitting words jumbled and aloud
Figure of shame stands in front of you
Intents pre-arranged by his late father
Little girl!
Are you a woman yet?
Hearing swirls of delirious, sickening
Madness, uncontrollable panic and deathly angst
Hearing painter’s brush strokes that scream their gasps of breathlessness out
Loudly and chaotically
Hears the anguish of colours’ contrasts and contradict each other to the point of
Serious suicide
Little child! Sees the begging deaf pleading for choirs heavenly to sing seriously
Sees the miserable, emaciated crumbles crumbling,
Yet foolishly searching for a non-existent tenderness in darkness painted by drunken Satans
With the foulest, blackest oil colours in their leprous fingers
They try to paint you; define you
Analyze you; dissect you
Categorize you; classify you
Little girl; woman; ******?
Alone and sincerely and deceptively guided by complicated, intertwining hatreds
That severely despised the existence of each other’s truths and falsities
Feeling sovereignty abused by casual, bored
Unconcerned sub-humans in powerful positions on earth
Pierced in pain
My sweet girl, you are now
Pierced in deathly, unforgiving
Pains and hatreds never forgotten
Sweet Humanity
Sweet Man
Sweet human beings
How sweet you all truly are!
Heart in embraces of a platonic love is the most highest form of
affection we share with another person.
It is because one will jump into the fire for his love,
knowing that the only kiss he'll get may be a kiss of death.
For all the friendzoned people in the world. You are awesome!


What an "ANGELUS" time it is
These times of LOVE

The "SALATS" of the moment
embraces everything around us

Is it the "FAJR" of birds kissing?
Is it the "ASR" of cats stretching?
Is it the "MAGHRIB" of peacocks screams?

Those are the sound of LOVE I suppose

I can see on the cheeks
The wetness of the kiss
That has not dried yet

Who is the LOVE
(BELOVEDz /  LOVERz) who causes
The tears swell in the eyes
Of the one who LOVES?

Why is the eagerness to touch
The bare shoulders so enticing?

Why the heart longs to
drown into LOVE
(BELOVEDz / LOVERz) core?

Placing one's face on the lap
The flower smells jasmine rains

Close eyes and experience my LOVE
When I seal your pores with my lips?

Can I sing you lullabies
When you sleep besides me peacefully?

Can I snap a new art sculpture
Out of your hair every morning?

Forget your thoughts
While feeling my LOVE
By being in LOVE with me

Why the words become worthless
When we share
A common breathing between our lips?

Who is listening to the music
Of our heart-beats?

Why do roses rain over us
When we share our chromosomes?

Who are they?
There, below the waterfalls
Behind the mountain caves
The two magical unicorns in LOVE?

Who will pray "TEFILLAH"
When we are in
Ultimate union of LOVE?

Who will "TENEBRAE" our lives
To illuminate our souls?

So that we "THEOPHANY" the
LOVE deity of ONENESS

Now tell me...

Will the clouds answer our LOVE-call?
Will the first ray of sun ever find us?
Will the moon ever illuminate dark lives?
Will the stars sparkle over our springs?
Will the dew drop give birth to seedlings?

To save the cosmos & planet EARTH
Let us embrace into
Single semantic of LOVE


I whistle for the Scarecrow to lead the way right after Neur decided to leave. It begins to form a black mist/smoke like essence in the middle of where I stand then it unifies and creates a Scarecrow with red eyes and it makes noise and flies slowly in front of me. Finally it lands in a mysterious cave where I stand in awe as I see ...there the Scarecrow stands on top of a crystalline rock emanating from the entrance of the cave itself. I walk in and I feel an eerie feeling go down my gut...something tells me to look immediately to the right. So when I do there it is the mystical impenetrable rock Aziel was talking about. Then just then I feel a sense of ease and Aziel says telepathically..."So my not what are you waiting for destroy the rock and retrieve the relic." So all the sudden I feel a sudden deepening defining feeling in my chest and I acquire the powers of Darkness for the first time in my quest for revenge is paying off. I command my whole arm to become a sledgehammer and hit the rock directly and it cracks in a half...there stands a beautiful glowing base with a fancy top on it ...made out of red diamonds and showered in Gold. Then I am relieved. "I got it" I tell Aziel telepathically. Then Aziel responds worried ... "Come as quickly as you can because I believe the Goddess is onto you...plus I cannot sustain you with the power of Darkness only 45 more minutes. Therefore,  come friend for you will be handsomely rewarded. " As I am getting out of the cave I hear galloping coming up the path I came. Then to my bewilderment Boom there stood a huge 32 ft tall ElderGloomTree It looked at me and it had a sweet berry like strawberry like scent in the Air it smelled beautifully nice.
The middle of the tree there was a mouth like sideways and it opened inside it slowly took out it's tongue and there was a small what looked like a mustard seed with rainbow like colors all over. There that little seed grew before my very eyes in the matter of split seconds and formed the shape of a beautiful glowing young woman with beautiful green skin and black hair with blue red and white stripes on the hair color. She spoke to me kindly and softly her breath smelled like fresh mint...I was astounded. Frank: "Yyyoouu...mmuusstt....bbb..e..." I stuttered... Nabyah: "Yes Young Mortal I am Nabyah many call me the Goddess Of The Forest Of Whispers. What are you doing here...what is that your carrying and oh one last question...I heard from Neur you was seeking me." Frank: "Indeed I am Frank Deltoro and I am here to request something from you...in return I'll do something you want done. If it's under my power and will to do so I will aid you." Nabyah: " I want to aid my tribe of centaurs and the remote Cyclop  village of Vlakazamuk & Chalekathan *
  We want to stop the killing of Centaurs and the human captures from capturing Cyclops and making them work enslaving all Cyclop population or sometimes brutally **** them and practice known as
Davalkaj Shamanism.

You humans and your inventions to destroy our home-world and natural habitat. Tell me what makes you think I'm going to help You? Should I **** you for trespassing my forest?" Frank: "Well... I didn't come to fight but if i must we can clash but I would rather we handle the situation like 2 Grown up adults here well you for one am sure have lived thousands of years now but hey...help me and I will do my best to remove the curse." Nabyah: " Fine but do come ...come close to me I will kiss you in the lips once and you shall have my blessing..." Aziel shouts telepathically: "Use the power of the Dark to see if she is giving you a curse or a blessing...if you take the kiss and become enchanted well since the power of Darkness is in you it will be removed. But if it's a curse I shall take it and renew your power by some. So either way it's safe go ahead kiddo...I know you want those lips. Get em" I just nod. Then wow I kiss the Goddess and it's by far the most romantic thing that's ever happened to me in my 25 yrs of living. I felt a holy power showering over me then the power of the Dark was immediately removed.
Then all the sudden she makes a beautiful hymn comes out of her mouth and a fairy about 3ft tall with 6 wings flying in mid air hands Nabyah a gorgeous engraved Vial of blood. "Here is what you seek warrior; proceed carefully not only benevolent souls and entities linger here. I leave the area as soon as she hands me the vial of blood. I get about 50 ft away from the area and the power of Darkness consumes me I transform to a Giant Bat and head back to Aziel.
In the Castle am greeted with pleasure and I hand him the vial of Goddesses blood. There and then he drinks the elixir of blood and before my very eyes he regains his youth and full power. Then there stands 5'7 Sharp look young man about 20 to 21 years of age. He disappears and reappears behind me tapping me on the shoulder. Aziel: "Frank I am in complete debt with you for only and even though we do not agree nor do I love him any but thanks the Lord...you helped me regain my full vampiric power. Ahhh it feels amazing. Hahaha  he embraces me in a warm hug.  Now what do you desire my mortal friend?
I think deeply..."I want to help the Goddess remove the curse from the forest." Aziel: "I usually don't meddle in human affairs but I am making an exception I'll help you as long as your willing to help me destroy the Order " Frank: "Does this mean I must look for the Relics Neur Blackthorn asked me to get ...since I got the vial I don't really need to do it no more right?" Aziel: " I'll let you borrow the power of Darkness for 6.5 more hrs till morning comes" Frank: "Thanks Aziel once again for letting me gain more power and knowledge."

~ *Meanwhile


At a very remote location deep in the heart of the Forest Of Whispers lived Bethilda Wood. She has lived in a old ruined cabin for 700+ yrs also she is known as The Elder Witch *Empress Of Darkness
known to bestow powerful spells and hexes but also with the gift of healing and releasing souls back to the Almighty One. A young Wiccan woman comes up young in age her skin tan/white heading toward the old rugged cabin...then pauses whistles a delightful melody and a staff appears.  Having been trained in the field of magic this young witch is been taken under Bethilda's wing. Bethilda:  Adrianna  darling come I have a surprise for you. Follow me to the pond of *Greater Enchantment. Adrianna: So... I heard you became the High Dark Empress 1200 years ago. Bethilda: Yes that is true I been a Witch for the past 1600 years or so. I survived the middle ages the dark ages and the years of enlightenment.  It's something I been willing to be all my life for I meet the man who carries my heart a young man known as The Count Of the Night. Dracula! We fell in love and I bore 3 of his children who so I have heard inherited the gift of becoming a vampire and they inevitably became vampires, more like the 3 princes of the night. Vladimir my first born Aziel my middle child and Uriel the youngest of the three. I been on the quest of finding Jesus Tears a small opaque flower the color of silver to complete my spell and relinquish Vladimir's soul to the mortal realm fit it into a red diamond and transfer it's soul essence into a freshly dead human body. With that he will come back to the World of the living and redeem himself and take revenge on the Order. Adrianna: I will help you. I will find this flower you'll see. So then they practiced spells from there on out.

~ Meanwhile

Its 1 a.m. and Frank heads out to seek the Ancient Relic. With the complete power of Darkness at his disposal he sends out 3  scarecrows to look for areas of interest in the Forest Of Whispers. Two of the  scarecrows come back one doesn't so that last one got killed by someone's power. Frank communicates telepathically to Aziel. Frank: I think someone is onto us Aziel guard the Castle it might be the Order. Aziel: already got it covered buddy. Then Frank feels a very strong power slowly emanating from the Southeast part of the Forest Of Whispers.  Frank transforms to a bat and heads there. As he gets there the small village of Chalekathan...
He who has been destroyed there stood a mysterious figure in the middle of the havoc a mysterious strong power could be felt from him. Mysterious Man: Hello adventurer my name is Navarro Castle-worth I am the Warlock of the *Tower Of Frejoird
where I was trained to use magic and rituals to summon strong deities into this plane of existence.  I got here too late someone had destroyed the village before I got here. Frank: Right ...my name is Frank Deltoro and how do I know your not the one who destroyed the village? Why should I trust you? Navarro: Young friend...I do not desire battle but if it's necessary I will satiate your thirst for battle...Navarro Summons his staff and says some words and a Huge Nightmarish Creature that looks like a dog with a fog of Darkness surrounds the Creature. Frank summons the power of Darkness and since its 1:33 a.m he gains the *Wings Of the Desolate Count which makes his power two fold. There Frank stood looking at Navarro in the eyes and him looking at Frank with perspicacity. All the sudden a trembling can be felt and a Huge Cyclop comes out of the Wilderness. Mysterious Cyclop: Hold one moment ...this man is telling you the truth young Mortal. Frank: Woah a Cyclop what how did you get here? Frank loses his fighting stance and so does Navarro...My name is *Jhino Velvermount I am from the Tribe Of Chalekathan* known Village Of the Largest Cyclop population. "Come I show you what the Witch Of the Tavern Of Doom Dragons* done her name is ...whispers Bethilda N. Lement. Raised originally in Sweden in the small farming town of Wrellender* learned Martial Arts Of Taijutsu and Ninjutsu. Able to control Lighting/Air/Water/Fire/Metallic energies. Coming from a family that practiced Zetzou Buddhism. Who are thought at a very young age to control the Chi* Energies of the body how to practice Re-Vitalizing and Re-Energizing the Chi to be able to stay in a meditative/active blending of consciousness with the subconscious to make Ninjutsu possible. She is known to have rested 1322-1555 A.C. about 250 not been too active but her Great Grandmother. Nayya M. Element who was born 1119 A.C. in the same village one of the co-founders of it who placed the curse on the Forest Of Whispers and it's being sustained by her Great Granddaughter Mrs. Lement. Now me and Navarro follow Jhino to the Village. We go thru extensive difficult paths that leave me tired for an excruciating 5 hrs of walking. Finally arrive at the village... and there is about 30-40 Thousand Cyclops gathered around the Village to hear Gromm ElderLord of the Village Of Chalekathan. Gromm: My stance stands I am here to protect my people from the evil that has left this village wrecked record in the past 300 years. I will NOT allow Bethilda to wreak havoc here no longer. There Me and Navarro and Jhino stand behind the large crowd waiting for the speech to end. The speech finally ends and strong Cyclop incense is burn to allow other high ranking tribe members to know the Elders speech ended. <br>
<br>
~Meanwhile in Aziel's Castle~
"Hello" a young woman with Long Red Hair that hits the ground as she walks White Pearl Eyes with Black Pupils and with a Long  *Black Ceremonial Dress known as Akashaic Black Tunic Of the Dark Empress from the Land Of Necromancers.
There appeared in a Dark WindAziel Governale in a White Taxedo like Suit Welcome Home... Iris Senteno ...Oracle Of the Shadows Of the most powerful Magicians from the Tower Of Frejoird. I have seen your prodigal human who's name is Frank Deltoro...handsome young man who encountered Navarro in The Forest Of Whispers. Will he be trouble? Or shall I eliminate his presence?"
Aziel: No he is working for me...you shall have him without delay at the end.

                         ~To Be Continued
Work in progress.
Brandi R Lowry Nov 2015
She weeps not for the shore
As distance creates a shadow
She embraces the current
Becoming the wave
And gently pushes her sea home

She chases not the sun
As the day is put to rest
She is the moonlight
That cradles the stars
Tightly to her *******

She yearns not
Her pain-streaked tears
That fall below her feet
She is the soil beneath her toes
Her pain now colors the tree

She worries not
The flowers' bloom
Or the leaves that fall like rain
She is the wind
That will kiss the ground
And sweep it all away
Patrick Austin Oct 2018
A lifetime ago, I was younger like you,
before my dreams faded and life was still new.
I wish I knew then, all that I know now,
I wanted our life but didn’t know how.
I settled for less and tried the right things,
and cashed in my soul for all that it brings.
I’ve made my mistakes, like others before,
forgiveness more fleeting, ‘til you closed the door.
Waiting for answers, I went into shock,
you left me no choice but to turn back the clock.
I walk this new path while finding myself,
forgetting our past is best for my health.
As I move along, a decade removed,
my body more fit now to go with my mood.
I realize by now we could have had more,
alone I will see what life has in store.
I so miss the comfort of you every night,
kindness from others, brings love at first sight.
Each new encounter, just gives me a shove,
reminding myself not to fall back in love.
When, where and who will be the right one?
I’ve so much to give, just let it be done.
I may never take them, to become my wife,
but I need embraces to sustain my life.
Addiction exists with drugs and affection,
I’m itching for love at each intersection.
How long must I wait to rip out the sutures?
Pleasure Delayer, indefinite future.
This poem is about my feelings of transition from one place to another. I lost my career which pushed my wife to leave me. I have few answers but this poem can be applied to both difficult situations. I feel more than I should and still can't trust my emotions when entertaining relationships.
tonight we gather
to mark a
commencement day

four decades on
from a late June
afternoon

exchanging
embraces and
bon voyage wishes

departing a grand
chandeliered Rivoli
embarcadero

bound
to glorious
destinations

our bold sails
welling with
youthful
exuberance
in pursuit of
dreams
and intrepid
endeavors

our life
journeys
are blessed
with rich
abundance,
the grace of
challenge and
the gift of days

this evening
as we reconnect
to share the joys
and wisdom gleaned
from well lived lives
we will also celebrate
in multicolored splendor
the lives of classmates
who have commenced
journeys to other
destinations

though their
earthly sojourn
is complete
passed friends
remain alive
in our memory

surely the spirits
of the beloved
will walk this
room tonight

forever young
their quiet presence
will gently touch
tender hearts

they’ll appear
as they once looked
on their finest day

and as we relive
the bits of our lives
we shared with
one another

we may feel
the grasp of a
warm hand
as we once did
during that
snowy evening
west end walk

we’ll dance with them again
around Tamblyn Field bonfires
gyrating in a shared
ecstatic ebullience

we’ll applaud most likely
to succeed lives
most beautiful smiles
and crack up
to the hilarity of
class clown jokes

we’ll taste the kiss
of an after dark
Lincoln Park
rendezvous

groove to the
rock steady
beat of a
bad company tune  

we’ll submerge again
in a Yellow Submarine
to embark on an epic
Greenwich Village
journey

we’ll roll down
the shore on old
Thunder Road
windows open
hair blowin
radio blastin

we’ll taste the sweet sip
of Cherry Cokes
and Root Beer floats
at Roadrunners

chasing lost love salty tears
spilled over ***** upperclass home boys
and the soft blush sentiment of a
first French kiss

wouldn't it be nice
to swoon to the
fantasy and
winsome yearnings
of favorite
summer songs

filling our head’s
with mind
blowing collages
starring
team mates
drama club
second takes
heady chess club
checkmates

we’ll marvel at the disruption of
premillennial breakthrough science projects
created by pocket protected slide ruling
entrepreneurial math wizards

we'll recall droll gossip
by drab hall lockers
dim gym showers
awkward dances
Yippie people power

patriotic assemblies
cool sharp dressers
right on brother
Que Pasa lil sista

rock and roll album covers
Simon and Garfunkel poetics
Go Go Boots kickin
FM radio psychedelics

Midnight Confessions
emphatically blared
from the cafeteria jukebox
Civil Rights, Earth Day
and righteous
anti war activism

tribes of hoods, Ra’s,
jocks, artistes and tie dye hippies
everything is groovy
lets get a sandwich at Ernie’s

first carnal explorations
Moody Blue Tuesday trysts
man could she speak German
boy do I dig her dress

we did hard time together
at split session detention centers
ate chocolate chip cookies
cracked up to Mr. Thomas’s
Ides of March tragedy

took first tokes and
sips of Boones Farm
we partied hard
and did no harm

admired academic brainiacs
and the civic commitment
of student govie reps
shut down the gubmint
was never a threat 

basketball rumbles
Bulldog football
**** Ludwig soccer teams
nimble cheerleaders

leggy majorettes
kick *** marching band fanfares
compelling masquer presentments
Park Avenue wayfarers

they were
crew mates
on The Soul Boat
rode shotgun
to Midnight Rambler
Doobie Concerts

cruised hard in
the Root Hog
Rat Raced Louie
in tiny white Pintos

we booked
many a mile
with our lost
friends

on the road to
this evening

authoring
volumes of
fabled odysseys
and fantastic
recollections

their stories
are our stories
telling our stories
keeps them alive

some may say
gone too soon
but the measure of
a well lived life
is not counted
in days, nor
accomplishments

but how one has loved
and how much one was loved

quietly there
always with us
forever to be
a wholesome
part of us

as the brothers
from Cooley High
would say

lets tip a sip
for the brothers
and sisters who
ain’t here….

God bless
Godspeed
enjoy the evening
vaya con dios mis amigos

Music Selection:
Pat Metheny
Mas Alla


RHS 74
Class Reunion
Elks Club
Rutherford
11/29/14
Ted Scheck Jan 2014
She visited my house, home
Wife, Boys:
Soaking up what little she could of Little Brother’s life;
And I hugged her, I put my arms around her frailty,
My big sister, now tiny and ravaged by the word
That shouldn’t rhyme with
Dancer, but
Does.

Here in her last September, last
September.
A
Final tour of her
Favorite Places, a
Preacher’s Mountain.
And looking into her
Eyes kind and squinty,
I had the feeling that
One hand held the
Times I would see her.
I was off by two,
minus the thumb.

Forward-fast to Dec.
27th, my Niece’s Wedding
I held her again, and
She was more frail
And unsteady and her
Eyes rimmed red with
Spreading Pain;
The rain relentlessly
Hammering on the roof of the
Membrane-thin
Quonset Hut-Shell.

Walking unsteadily steady back
To her Dear Friend’s car
My heart in tatters, sad, yet
Glad for her to visit that
Distant Shore
That her eyes so longed for.

And now, in this frozen January of
2014
Wintry-Mixed Nut Group
(That is my family)
I enter her ineptly-named
Living room, where she is
Laid prostrate before God
And everybody.
And I enter into such a blender of
Sweet-sour-bitter-salty
Emotional juices.

I take her hand
And kiss her cheek, and an
Eye perks up at the sight of
Little Brother.
Yet that eye is tired of
The uphill worn treadmill that
Life has turned into.

(Please God take her away
With You. Deliver my
Sister Amy
From the planet’s
Gravi-pain-tiful
Pull)
And that prayer flew out of
Me driving back to Indy
Sunday at about 2:00 pm
Central Time.

And at 11:30 pm UGT
(Universal God Time)
An Angel wakes a
Slumbering Saint.

And Amy Scheck closes her
Eye on this world
(And opens the eyes of her
SPIRIT
To the
Next)

(And we are in the presence
Of God’s Messengers,
That Warrior Race of
Angel Guardians).

He is of a height much,
Much greater than her
Small yet intensely curious
Form.

He has mysterious and utterly fabulous
Wings tucked and tightly-sprung
Beneath impossibly-broad
Shoulders; his sword
Gleams like a hundred
Suns glistening on the dew of
A thousand worlds.
Radiant! Radiant and
Mighty is he!
And he is here
For her.

A voice of velvet thunder, low
Mixed with music and fury.
“Rise, Little One.
Child of God!
Rise, and grab hold
Of my tunic!
It’s time to enter
Into the Throne Room of
The Most High!”

And, forgive me for imagining
(What cannot be imagined, but
Longed for, yes. Longed for
By countless numbers).
I write in faith, hope, and
Love for my dearly-
Departed sister.
I use the tool
God gave me
Before I was born.

I imagine the transition
Of death to life
Of life from death.

A unimaginably-large soul
Trapped in a dead husk of
A Mortal Shell
Winds down like the biological
Clocks we resemble; metering,
Measuring heart beats of time,
Of counted breaths breathing
No longer. Of pain, and suffering,
And the emotions swirling off both
Like streamers moved by the wind.

Amy Winifed Scheck
Dies. She breathes in/not out, or
Opposite so.
Her heart goes
Blub/Dub
And then stops
Forever.

But something amazing begins to happen.
In her soul is a key.

This key has a name unknown to us.
That name defines the soul of
Her New Existence.
To me - to us - it is...
UNSPEAKABLE.

The fleshy fleshly tongues
Are as worthy as uttering it
As slugs are equipped to hit
102-mph fastballs.

It’s her soulprint, though it does
Not belong to her;
It’s the print from the Soul
Of Jesus Himself.
HIS mark. HIS claim.
HIS.
It is the manifestation of
Amy’s Name
(Written in the Book of Life).
There can be no better assurance
Than to know, without that
Demon of Uncertainty, known as
(Doubt?)
That YOU are in THAT BOOK!
Are you?

So Amy’s soul is
Delivered, birthed, taken-
TRANSFORMED and
Enters the Waiting Room
Of Heaven.
Holy, Holy, Holy...

Feathers weigh millions of
Tons compared to the
Lightness of Being
Amy feels as, nearly
Transparent, she is a more
Solid creature than the largest
Pod of Blue Whales ever to
Swim and sing.

Her Angel takes Amy
To the Throne Room.
Falls prostrate for a moment,
Amy sees a burly tree
Fall, then, instantly,
Stand; the tree rumbles words.
“I have done my duty,
Precious Little One, as
Your Angel Guardian.”
He bows his head,
And then is on one knee,
So that his great shaggy head
Is nearly level with his
Little Charge.

His voice is surprisingly gentle, for
Before Amy was created:
This supernatural being was
Assigned this precious little bundle
Of joyful humanity, and he fought:
Fought! Fought the great battles
Against the ravages of the earthly
Realm; the seizures, the sickness, the
Angel Guardian was inside the baby's
Heart as it struggled to do its job, to
Deliver the blood to the extremities, to
Live, to grow, to fight, fight!
This one, in a little over half a
Century, became close to Jesus,
And, by proxy, close to the Being
Who created Angels!
Man! Woman! Child!
Did she not have the heart of a
Lion?
Did she take on the Spirit
Of a prayer Warrior?
Yes. Indeed she did.

Heaven's tears are thick, syrupy. Alive
With the Immense Sadness and
Immeasurable Joy of Christ Jesus.
They flow slowly down the shaggy
Angel's scarred face. God only
Knows how close this Angel was/
Is to Amy.

His voice is choked with emotion.
“It was my pleasure to serve and protect you,
Amy Winifred Scheck.
You must Wait."
He wipes tears from his eyes,
Knowing he has done his job,
HIS job, protecting, serving,
Ministering to this Little One,
As he soon will Minister to
The next Little One.
"You must wait. Wait upon the Lord
You heard His Call
In your life on Earth."

The Angel looks gravely
At the tiny, frightened
(Yet terribly excited)
Little Child of God.
And does something rare,
Even for the Guardians.
He spreads massively-wide arms and
Draws the trembling
Child into his protective embrace.
Her small hands grasp mountains
Masquerading as shoulders,
Hugging the Being with surprising
Might.
And Amy does quite an amazing
Thing. She senses her Angel's
Distress, and gently, lovingly,
Pats his shaggy beard, his cheek,
Praying! For the Messenger and
Deliverer!
Her little form squeezes strength
(Love)
Into her own Angel Guardian.
And Jesus, Everywhere,
Smiles and wipes tears of His own
From his face.

The Angel speaks in a
Whisper as gentle as a soft hush of
A breeze after the first
Spring shower.
“You will hear His Call
Again.”
And the Angel does not
Vanish comically in a puff
Of cloud; it is as if he
Fades away into the
Multitude of the
Heavenly Fold.

Seraphim, and Cherubim,
And fantastical wing’d and claw’d creatures
Amy has only dimly dreamed about,
Sing, and shout with sound-ful colors that
Could never exist on earth, for
They would melt the bonds
Of reality itself
And drive mad all the ears and eyes
Which suffered to sense it.

Off in the strange
Far-close distance
One Figure Stands
Above, Most High Above Every Thing
He created:
The Most High
Being Who Was Ever,
Is, Will Be,
And Is To Be.
It is Him

Jesus Christ
(And the people of earth,
Myself included, sing, sing! SING!
Blessed is the Name of the Lord!)

“My Child, Precious child,
Enter the Holy Throne of God.”
And in steps that cannot be
Measured by any earthly
Standard, Amy Winifred Scheck
Enters Her Savior’s Throne Room.

With her new feet, Amy
Walks bravely, surely, securely,
Eyes low, her countenance recognizable
To the One Whom it resembles;
And:
All around her is a Living
Chorus of Beings shouting
Holy! Holy! Holy is The Lord!”
Yet within the cacophony resides
The Still and Quiet Presence
Of The Lord of Lords.
The Prince of Peace.
Upon His Throne, He sits,
Waiting and Being
Waited Upon.
Worshiped.
As only God should be.
It is Through Him - Jesus Christ -
That Amy enters into the Kingdom of God,
The Presence of the King of Kings.

Amy speaks, using a voice that she never dreamed
She had with her long-gone forgotten
Vocal chords.
“Here I am, Oh Lord.
Oh Lord, I am Here!”
Her life is Measured
Judged.
Because JUDGMENT
IS HIS!

Of:
The Judgment Seat
Of Christ:
I will not insult
My Creator
By imagining the content
Of my sister’s
Heart,
Or what goes on there,
In the most important moment in the history of a human being.
I will experience it;
So shall you, Dear One,
Who reads and contemplates the meaning
Within these words.
(ALL will experience
The very same thing)
So, human beings, get
Your affairs in order, for
We know not the hour
Of our demise.
If there is any doubt about what
Happens to you when you die...
Seek Him!
Accept Jesus Christ as your
Personal Lord and Savior!

Amy Scheck
Loved Jesus, and spoke His Name
With a rare form of deep and wide
Conviction.
She was a Christian, a Child of God.
She had a smile for everyone,
And most everyone left her
Smiling.
She loved Jesus on earth.
She was an obedient servant.
And what do we take with us
To Heaven?
What is in our HEART.

Jesus loves us all, all of us.
So I will believe,
Believe, I will, that
Amy’s love for Her Savior,
And her acknowledge, public,
Amidst scorn, ridicule, love, and
Acceptance
Were the Words
That Jesus used
To write
Amy's Name in His Book
She sowed and reaped, and
Reaped and sowed, and led
Others away from sin,
And, more importantly,
To Jesus Himself.
Amy’s life was full of
Good Fruit from
The Vine.

Interlude: The Other Side of Grace
And Jesus Christ spoke to Satan,
Who said, of this new soul:
(As he says to EVERY single
New soul entering into God’s
Eternal Kingdom):
Because, you see, we are fallen...

“What of THIS one, Lord?
She is MINE, I should think!
I have a long list of her
Considerable
Sins.”

And His voice the Thunder of Heaven,
Jesus stands for Amy Winifred Scheck.
(As Amy counted times stood for Jesus)
Her love for Him in no way can equal
HIS love for HER, but that is the great
Sacrifice that Jesus took upon Himself
On the Cross-the staggering weight of
Humanity's sin.
The equation does not have to be
Equal to be right, and true, and real.

So now Jesus raises His voice, and
Speaks, and the Foundations
Of Eternity shake, and every One
Within Heaven’s Realm
Trembles at Glory
Personified in Voice,
At Love, walking upright.
“CAST YOUR GAZE AWAY FROM HER, SATAN!
GET THEE BEHIND ME!
THIS ONE BELONGS TO ME.”
And Satan slinks away, knowing,
Knowing the answer already,
Yet eagerly awaiting one of
His
Coming to him soon, soon...
Soon.
Satan is, if anything,
Patient.

“You are Amy Winifred Scheck,
Born to Ed and Mary Scheck on
January 11 of the year
1960! Your body died
January 27, 2014.”

Amy is simply in the State of
Eternal Awe.
Jesus. Is speaking. To her.
Her new tongue must not be
Functioning properly.

“Well done, good and faithful Servant!
You have been faithful with what
I bestowed upon you! I gave
You a seed, which you
Planted in good soil, and
Tended it; watered it; pruned it
So that it
Multiplied many, many times over!
The Fruit of your life resides
All around you!
You led many who were
Astray to My Kingdom!
Enter!”

“OH! MY JESUS!”
She exclaims, her voice
Accompanied by the blasts
Of trumpets and a chorus
Of Angels.

Amy runs with joy as her feet and
Hugs the shoulders
Of The Almighty, feels
Scarred hands cupping her
Tiny face, as eyes blazing
Brighter than a thousand
Stars gaze into hers.
Everything that ever mattered,
That matters now, that will
Matter on down mortality’s
Road
Resides in the Sweet, Lovely
Kind eyes of Our Savior,
Jesus Christ.
He speaks:
“I’ve a place prepared for
You, Dear One.
For there are many rooms
For the Names in the Book of Life!
I have great
Adventures planned for you!
Eternity awaits! Does your new
Spirit thirst? Are you ready for
Your celebratory banquet?”

Amy can only cry and weep and sob
With joy so pure she will have
To learn an entirely new
Vocabulary to give it substance, depth, and
Clarity.
She looks around, seemingly,
For the first time, and sees the
Familiar form of Mary Elizabeth,
Her earth mother, now
Transformed, as she herself has been
Transformed.
Amy sees her new form in
The form of her loving mother.
They embrace, Mother and
Child.
And the applause of Heaven
Is Sweet Thunder.

Amy’s earthly father,
Edward James, is there,
Joking and smiling
With his older brother
Michael and his wife,
Tess.
He sees his daughter,
And shouts with Joy.
More embraces.
Heaven is a place of
Embraces, the birth
Place of Joy itself.

“WELCOME, TO HEAVEN’S TABLE,”
And Jesus speaks Amy’s new name.
“LET US REJOICE, MY FRIENDS,
FOR AMY IS NOW,
FINALLY,
HOME.”
ryn Jan 2015
Backdrop of hues from heaven's palette
Two silhouettes stood hand in hand
A pair so in love on their deserted islet
Only witnesses were the sky and the sand

Two silhouettes with roles of lovers
Frolicked forever in the setting, evening sun
Only they'd know what laid under covers
Secrets of pure passion in their blood did run

Their merriment presented bare in a playful dance
Two silhouettes engulfed in their own private universe
Kisses and embraces offered in a reciprocative trance
Dark lips matched the other's voiceless whispers

Two silhouettes then dissolved with the set of sun
Strained my eyes to unravel this sweet shadow clad mystery
Last few moments pierced through like a shot from a gun
Because I realised that one was you while the other wasn't...

                            me...
Nat Lipstadt Jan 2014
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
Ecclesiastes 3:5.

long, long long
have I known
the contradictory meaning thereof,
for I authored it,
time immemorial

till the day came
when understanding parted,
left for another prophet,
another poet,
for this how the world's words go,
round and around

left me
re commencing
re imaging
re imagining,
new era words,
newer versions,
new heards
newer mergings

stones and embraces
ha!

"Two of my favorite things"

no, that's been done...

"Let's go get ****** and..."

nope, that's been done

So,
spark sublime divine
give me a second chance,
compose me a vision
that gathers these
mutual funds of
contrasting similarities
in a bow tied connection
singular, worthy of
song and daily recitation!

her embrace was a stone necklace
around my throat,
sackcloth was my shroud,
to the sea bottom was impaled,
by the stony apparition
of the unrequited embrace


Ugh

My beloved's embrace,
cracked the stones that surround
my uncaring register,
the cold still waters that hid it
now boiling from
her gathering me in

better.

one last try before I repent

embrace the stones
that obstacle the journey,
gather them in, together keep,
for they are the markers,
you have used,
you have been,
you have exhausted,
so long after the body ashed,
these words will trace for
those that follow the path
you marked with
these same stones
you gathered in
olden days of
simple joyous embrace*

this will,
must have to
do,
for the stones of
the angels of sleep have
arrived and undeterred,
upon my chest have,
inscribed and placed,
while bidding me adieu,
tucking me in,
gathering me to my rest,
a closing eyeing embracing,
in drowsy voices half clear:

sleep prophet,
the work done,
the words piled,
the stones now
mark your the
you final resting place
upon them ecrivez,
In The Future,
Keep It Simple Stupid
Pretty bad poetry, bad pretty poetry...but the spoof is the goof!
Our faith embraces mystery;
      a celestial echo of our Triune God.
Our Holy Catholic Church
       mans only road to salvation.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord.
      Let us receive Your strength
      to counteract our weaknesses.

My faith embraces mystery;
      a celestial echo of my Triune God.
My Holy Catholic Church is
      my only road to salvation.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord.
      Let me receive Your strength
      to counteract my weaknesses.

Earth is formed in a liturgy of Your image;
It sighs with Your perpetual presence.
Your always revising map of redemption
      brings glory rightfully to Your Sacred Heart.
We offer glory to the Father,
      glory to the Son,
      and glory to the Holy Spirit.

I was formed in a liturgy of Your image;
      I sigh with Your perpetual presence.
Your always revising map of redemption
      brings glory rightfully to Your Sacred Heart.
I offer glory to the Father,
      glory to the Son,
      and glory to the Holy Spirit.

Holy Mary, ****** Mother,who is Queen over
      all of heaven and earth;
Who holds our Rosary of prayers
      in Her Sacred hands.
Shed your sacred tears on our behalf,
      and with prayer deliver them
      to your Son.
We are clay of many different characters
      moulding ourselves into the vessels
      we are called to be.

Holy Mary, ****** Mother,who is Queen over
      all of heaven and earth;
Who holds my Rosary of prayers
      in Her Sacred hands.
Shed your sacred tears on my behalf,
       and with prayer deliver them
      to your Son.
I are clay of many different characters
      moulding myself into the vessel
      I am called to be.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
      and of the Holy Spirit,
Our voices combine into a choral blend of
      praise and celebration
my dreams are
the texture of the earth
softened by the monsoon
a clairvoyant fragrance rises
from the green sprouts
pushing their way through-out
and through-in
my rain-coloured mental canvas
a cool drop snakes down
my ready spine
i’m dissolved
in the frissons that ensue
even as your warmth
embraces me
every numbing night
the winds detach the flowers
from every mourning tree
and i give you myself
as you rain on me
incessantly

- Vijayalakshmi Harish
   13.06.2013
   Copyright © Vijayalakshmi Harish
Darkness pervades; an empty whole.
Tears fill this broken bowl.
The nectar too salty to quench the thirst
A brutal reminder of what came first

A Blackness, a Void. God illuminated into being.
Beauty, Belief, Faith - a false way of Seeing.
The futile attempts to make the hole whole,
but it's Loneliness that resides in our Soul.

In every being sprung into existence
the Romantic effort of Man's resistance
is Love, hailed as the Cure.
But ask yourself, "Are you sure?".

At a life with Loneliness by our side
Love's importance becomes amplified.
But Love is just a wishful lie
it is Loneliness that embraces us as we die.
guy scutellaro Oct 2019
The rain ****** through a darkening sky.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles. Softly, he whispers, " Man, you're the biggest, whitest, what hell are you anyway?"

The pup sits up and Jack Delleto caresses her neck, but much to the mutt's chagrin the man stands up and walks away.

Jack has his hand on the door about to go into the bar. The pup issues an interrogatory, "Woof?"

The rain turns to snow.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles, "My grandma used to say that when it snows the angels are sweeping heaven. I'll be back for you, Snowflake."

Jack shivers. His smile fading, the night jumps back into his eyes.

Snowflake chuffs once, twice.

The man is gone.



The room would have been a cold, dark place except the bodies who sit on the barstools or stand on the ***** linoleum floor produce heat. The cigarette smoke burns his eyes. Jack Delleto looks down the length of the bar to the boarded shut fire place and although the faces are shadows, he knows them all.

The old man who always sits at the second barstool from the dart board is sitting at the second bar stool. His fist clenched tightly around the beer mug, he stares at his own reflection in the mirror.

The aging barmaid, who often weeps from her apartment window on a hot summer night or a cold winter evening, is coming on to a man half her age. She is going to slip her arm around his bicep at any moment.

"Yeah," Jack smiles, "there she goes."

Jack Delleto knows where the regulars sit night after night clutching the bar with desperation, the wood rail is worn smooth.

In the mirror that runs the length of the bar Jack Delleto sees himself with clarity. Brown hair and brown eyes. Just an ordinary 29 year old man.

"Old Fred is right," he thinks to himself, "If you stare at shadows long enough, they stare back." Jack smiles and the red head returns his smile crossing her long legs that protrude beneath a too short skirt.

The bartender recognizes the man smiling at the redhead.

"Well,  Jack Delleto, Dell, I heard you were dead. " The six foot, two hundred pound bartender tells him as Dell is walking over to the bar.

"Who told you that?"

"Crazy George, while he was swinging from the wagon wheel lamp." Bob O'Malley says as he points to the wagon wheel lamp hanging from the ceiling.

"George, I heard, HE was dead."

The bartender reaches over the bar resting the palms of his big hands on the edge of the bar and flashes a smile of white, uneven teeth. Bob extends his hand. "Where the hell have you been?"

They shake hands.

Dell looks up at the Irishman. "I ve been at Harry's Bar in Venice drinking ****** Marys with Elvis and Ernest."

Bob O'Malley grins, puts two shot glasses on the bar, and reaches under the bar to grab a bottle of bourbon. After filling the glasses with Wild Turkey, he hands one glass to Dell. They touch glasses and throw down the shots.

"Gobble, gobble," O Malley smiles.


The front door of the bar swings open and a cold wind drifts through the bar. Paul Keater takes off his Giants baseball cap and with the back of his hand wipes the snow off of his face.

"Keater," Bob O'Malley calls to the Blackman standing in the doorway.

Keater freezes, his eyes moving side to side in short, quick movements. He points a long slim finger at O'Malley, "I don't owe you any money," Paul Keater shouts.

The people sitting the barstools do not turn to look.

"You're always pulling that **** on me." Keater rushes to the bar, "I PPPAID YOU."

As Delleto watches Keater arguing with O'Malley, the anger grows into the loathing Dell feels for Keater. The sauve, sophisticated Paul Keater living in a room above the bar. The man is disgusting. His belly hangs pregnant over his belt. His jeans have fallen exposing the crack of his ***, and Keater just doesn't give a ****. And that ragged, faded, baseball cap, ****, he never takes it off.

When Keater glances down, he realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto. Usually, Paul Keater would have at least considered punching Delleto in his face. "The **** wasn't any good," Paul feining anger tells O'Malley. "Everybody said it was, ****."

The bartender finishes rinsing a glass in the soapy sink water and then places it on a towel. "*******."

Keater slides the Giant baseball cap back and forth across his flat forehead. "**** it," he turns and storms out of the bar.

"Can I get a beer?" Dell asks but O"Malley is already reaching into the beer box. Twisting the cap off, he puts it on the bar. "It's not that Keater owes me a few bucks, "he tells Dell, "if I didn't cut him off he'd do the stuff until he died." Bob grabs a towel and dries his hands.

"But the smartest rats always get out of the maze first," Jack tells Bob.


Cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and losing lottery tickets litter the linoleum floor. Jack Delleto grabs the bottle of beer off the bar and crosses the specter of unfilled wishes.

In the adjacent room he sits at a table next to the pinball machine to watch a disfigured man with an anorexic women shoot pool. Sometimes he listens to them talk, whisper, laugh. Sometimes he just stares at the wall.

"We have a winner, "the pinball machine announces, "come ride the ferris wheel."



"I'm part Indian. "

Jack looks up from his beer. The Indian has straight black hair that hangs a few inches above her shoulders, a thin face, a cigarette dangling from her too red lips.

"My Mom was one third Souix, " the drunken women tells Jack Delleto.

The Indian exhales smoke from her petite nose waiting for a come on from the man with the sad face. And he just stares, stares at the wall.

Her bushy eyebrows come together forming a delicate frown.

Jack turns to watch a brunette shoot pool. The woman leans over the pool table about to shoot the nine ball into the side pocket. It is an easy shot.

The brunette looks across the pool table at Jack Delleto, "What the **** are you starin at?" She jams the pool stick and miscues. The cue ball runs along the rail and taps the eight ball into the corner pocket. "AH ****," she says.

And Jack smiles.

The Indian thinks Jack is smiling at her, so she sits down.

"In the shadows I couldn't see your eyes," he tells her, "but when you leaned forward to light that cigarette, you have the prettiest green eyes."

She smiles.

" I'm Kathleen," her eyes sparkling like broken glass in an alley.

Delleto tries to speak.

"I don't want to know your name," she tells Jack Delleto, the smile disappearing from her face. "I just want to talk for a few minutes like we're friends," she takes a drag off the cigarette, exhales the smoke across the room.

Jack recognizes the look on her face. Bad dreams.

"I'll be your friend," he tells her.

"We're not going to have ***." The Indian slowly grinds out the cigarette into the ashtray, looks up at the man with the sad face.

I met my older sister in Baltimore yesterday. Hadn't seen her since I was nine, since Mom died. I wanted to know why Dad put me in foster homes. Why? I had so many questions and you know what?
I didn't ask one."

Jack is finishing his beer.

"Maybe if you knew the reasons, now, it wouldn't matter anyway."

The man with the black eye just doesn't get it. She lived with them long enough. Long enough to love them.

She stands up, stares at Jack Delleto.

And walks away.


It's the fat blondes turn to shoot pool. She leans her great body ever so gently across the green felt of the pool table, shoots and misses. When she tries to raise herself up off the pool table, the tip of the pool cue hits the Miller Lite sign above the pool table sending the lamb rocking violently back and forth. In flashes of light like the frames from and old Chaplin movie the sad and grotesque appear and disappear.

"What the **** are you starin at?" The skinny brunette asks.

Jack pretends to think for a moment. "An unhappy childhood."

Suddenly, she stands up, looking like death wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

"Dove sta amore?" Jack Delleto wonders.

Death is angry, steps closer.

"Must be that time of the month, huh," Jack grins.

With her two tiny fists clenched tightly at her side, the brunette stares down into Delleto's eyes. Suddenly, she punches Jack in the eye.

Jack stands up bringing his forearm up to protect his face. At the same time Death steps closer. His forearm catches her under the chin. The bony ***** goes down.

Women rush from the shadows. They pull Jack to the ***** floor, punch and kick him.

In the blinking of the Miller Light Jack Delleto exclaims," I'm being smother by fat lesbians in soft satin pants."  But then someone is pulling the women off of him.

The Miller Lite gently rocks and then it stops.

Jack stands up, shakes his head and smiles.

"Nice punch Dell," Bob O' Malley says, "I saw from the bar."

Jack hits the dust off of his pants, grabs the beer bottle off of the table, takes a swallow. Smiling, he says, "I box a little."

"I can tell by your black eye." O'Malley puts his hand on his friends shoulder. "Come on I'll buy you a shot. What caused this spontaneous expression of love?"

"They thought I was a ******."


2 a.m.

Jack Delleto walks out the door of the bar into the wind swept gloom. The gray desolation of boarded shut downtown is gone.

The rain has finally turn to snow.

His eyes follow the blue rope from the parking meter pole to its frayed end in the plowed hill of snow at the corner of Cookman Avenue.

The dog, Snowflake, dead, Jack thinks.


The snow covers everything. It covers the abandon cars and the abandon buildings, the sidewalk and its cracks. The city, Delleto imagines, is and adjectiveless word, a book of white pages. He steps off the curb into the gutter and the street is empty for as far as he can see. He starts walking.

Jack disappears into empty pages.


Chapter 2


Paul Keater has a room above Wagon Wheel Bar where the loud rock music shakes the rats in the walls til 2a.m. The vibrations travel through the concrete floor, up the bed posts, and into the matress.

Slowly Paul's eyes open. Who the hell is he fooling. Even without the loud music, he would not be able to sleep, anyway.

Soft red neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks into his room.

Paul Keater sits up, sighs, resigns himself to another sleepless night, swings his legs off the bed. His x-wife. He thinks about her frequently. He went to a phycologist because he loved her.

Dump the *****, the doctor said.

"I paid him eighty bucks and all he had to say was dump the *****." He laughs, shakes his head.

Paul thinks about *******, looks around the tiny room, and spots a clear plastic case containing the baseball cards he had collected when he was a boy.

He walks to the dresser and puts on his Giant's baseball cap. Paul sits down on the wooden chair by the sink. Turns on the lamp. The card on top is ***** Mays. Holding it in his hand, it is perfect. The edges are not worn like the other cards.

It was his tenth birthday and his dad had taken him to his first baseball game and his father had bought the card from a dealer.

Oblivious to the loud rock music filtering into his room, he stares at the card.

Fondly, he remembers.

Dad.


                                     *     

It arrives unobtrusively. His heart begins to race faster.
Jack Delleto rolls away from the cracked wall. He sits up and drops his legs off the bed.

Jack Delleto thinks about mountains.

When he cannot sleep he thinks about climbing up through the fog that makes the day obscure, passing where the stunted spruce and fir tees are twisted by the wind, into cold brilliant light. Once as he climbed through the fog he saw his shadow stretching a half a mile across a cloud and the world was small. Far down to the east laid cliffs and gullies, glaciated mountains and to the west were the plains and cities of everyday life.

The army coat is draped over the back of the chair. In the pocket is his notebook. Jack stands and takes the notebook from the pocket. When he sits in the wooden chair he opens the book and slides the pen from the binder.

When he finishes his story he makes the end into the beginning.



                                           Chapter 3


"I want a captain in a truck." The 10 year old boy with the brown hair tells his mom. "I want it NOW."

His blonde haired mom wearing the gold diamond bracelet nods her head at Jack Delleto. Jack looks up at the clock on the wall. It is only 9a.m. After four years of college Jack has a part time job at K.B. Toy store. "We're all out of them," he tells her for the second time.

"Honey," Blondie tells her boy, "they're all out of them."

"YOU PROMISED."

"How about a sargeant in a jeep?

"OK, but I want a missile firing truck , too."

Delleto turns to the display case behind the counter. Briefly, he studies his black eye in the display case mirror and then begins searching the four shelves and twenty rows of 3 inch plastic toys. He finds the truck. His head is aching. He finds the truck and puts it on the counter in front of the boy.

"Sorry, we're all out of the sargeant," Jack tells the pretty lady. The aching in his head just won't go away.

"Mommy, mommy, I want an ATTACK HELIOCOPTER, MOMMMEEE, I WANTAH TTTAAANNNK..."

Jack Delleto leans over the counter resting his elbows on the glass top. The boy is staring at the man with the black eye, at his bruised, unshaven face.

"Well, we haven't got any, GODDAMED TANKS. How about a , KICKINTHE ***."

Finally the boy and his mother are quiet.

"My husband will have you fired."

She grabs the boy by the hand. Turns to rush out of the store.

Jack mutters something.

"MMOOOMEEE,  what does..."

"Oh, shut the hell up," the pretty lady tells her son


                              
     

The assistant manager takes a deep drag on her cigarette, exhales, and crosses her arms to hold the cigarette in front of her. Susan looks down at Jack sitting on the stool behind the counter. He stands up. "Did you tell some lady to blow you?" She crushes the cigarette out in the ashtray on the shelf below the counter. "Maybe you don't need this job but I do."

"Sue, there's no smoking in the mall."

"Jack, you look tired," the cubby teenager tells him, "and your eye. Another black eye."

"I was attacked by five women."

'Oh, I see, in your dreams maybe. I see, it's one of those male fantasies I'm always reading about in Cosmo. You re not boxing again, are you Dell?" Sue likes to call him Dell.

"I go down to the gym to work out. Felix says I've got something."

"Yeah, a black eye." Susan laughs, opens the big vanilla envelope, and hands Jack his check.

She turns and takes a pair of sunglasses from the display stand. "You 're scaring the children, Dell ." Susan steps closer looks into Dell's brown eyes and the slips the sunglasses on his face. "Why don't you go to lunch."

                                        
     

It's noon and the mall is crowded at the food court area. Jack gets a 20oz cup of coffee, finds a table and sits down.

"Go over and talk to him. " Susan says. Jack turns his head , looks back, sees the Indian walking towards his table.

"Hello, Kathrine," says Jack Delleto.

"My names not Kathrine, it's Kathleen."

Jack pulls the chair away from the table, "Have a seat Kate."

Her eyebrows form that delicate frown. "My names Kathleen." As soon as she sits down she takes a cigarette from the pack sticking out of her pocketbook. "I had to leave. I told the baby sitter I'd only be gone an hour. Anyway you weren't much help."

"So why did you come over to talk to me?"

"You were alone, the bar full of people and you were alone, always alone."

"You've seen me there before?"

"Yeah, sitting by the pin ball machine staring at the wall, and sometimes, you'd take out your little blue note pad and write in it.
"What are you writing? Are you goin to write about me..."

"How many kids do you have?"

"Just one. A boy, and believe me one is enough. He'll be four in June," Kathleen smiles but then she remembers and abruptly the smile disappears from her face. "Sometimes I see Anthony's father in the mall and I ask him if he'd like to meet his son, but he doesn't.

Kathleen draws the cigarette smoke deep into her lungs, tilts her head back, and blows the smoke towards the skylight. Suddenly caught in the sunlight the smoke becomes a gray cloud. " I didn't want to marry him anyway, I don't know why he thought that."

She hears the scars as Delleto talks, something sad about the man, something like old newspapers blowing across a deserted street. She hears the scars and knows never, never ask where the scars came from.


                              
     

As Jack walks towards the bank to cash his check, he glances out the front entrance to the mall. It is a bright, cold day and the snowplows are finishing up the parking lot plowing the snow into big white hills. That is the fate of the big white pup plowed to the corner of Cookman and Main buried deep in ***** snow. At that street corner when the school is over the children will play on the hill never realizing what lay beneath there feet.

The snow must melt; spring is inevitable.

His pup will be back.



                                           Chapter 4


The 19 year old light heavyweight leans his muscular body forward to rest his gloved hands on the tope rope of the ring. He bows his head waiting to regain his breath as his lungs fight to force air deep into his chest. Bill Wain has finished boxing 4 rounds with Red.

Harry the trainer, gently pulls the untied boxing gloves from Red's hands. "Good fight, he says, patting Red on the back as the fighter climbs through the ropes and heads to the showers. Harry hands the sweat soaked gloves to Felix who puts one glove under his arm while he loosens the laces on the other 12ounce glove. He makes the sleeve wider.

"Do you want the head gear?" Felix asks.

Jack Delleto shakes his head and pushes his taped hand deep into the glove.

The old man takes the other glove from under his arm, pulls the laces out, and holds it open. Without turning his head to look at him, Felix tells Harry, "Make sure Bill doesn't cool down. Tell him to shadow box. Harry walks over to Bill and Bill starts shadow boxing.

Jack pushes his hand into the glove. "Make a fist." Jack does. Felix pulls the laces and ties it into a bow.

Felix looks intently into Delleto's eyes. "How does that feel?"

"About right."

"You look tired."

"I am a little."

"Are you sick or is it a woman."

"I'm not sick."

A big smile forms across the face of the former welterweight champion of Nevada. The face of the 68 year old Blackman is lined and cracked like the old boxing gloves that Jack is wearing but his tall body is youthful and athletic in appearance. Above Felix's eyebrows Jack sees the effect of 20 years as a professional fighter. He sees the thick scar tissue and the thin white lines where the old man's skin has been stitched and restitched many times. As he gives instructions to Jack, Felix's brown eyes seem to be staring at something distant and Jack wonders if Felix has chased around the ring one time too often his dream.

"And get off first. Don't stop punching until he goes down. You've got it kid and not every fighter does."

Jack and Felix start walking over to the ring.

"What is it I've got?" Jack Deletto wonders.

Felix puts his foot on the fourth strand of the rings rope and with his hand pulls up the top strand and as Jack steps into the ring, "You've got, HEART."

In the opposite corner Bill Wain waits.

"Will he be alright?" Harry asks.

"Bill's tired, " Felix replies, then he tries to explain. "It's not about money. I'm almost 70 and I want to go out a winner." Felix pauses and the offers, he can hit hard with either hand."

"Yeah, but at best he's a small middleweight and he only moves in one direction, straight ahead."

"Harry, I love the guy," Felix puts his hand on Harry's shoulder, he's like Tyson at the end of his career. He'd fight you to the death but he's not fighting to win anymore."

Harry puts his hands in his pocket and stares at the floor. "Do you want me to tell him to go easy." Harry looks up at Felix waiting for an answer.

"I'm tired of sweeping dirt from behind the boxes of wax beans and tuna fish. I'm sick of collecting shopping carts in the rain. A half way decent white heavyweight can make a lot of money. It's stupid for a fighter to practice holding back. Bill's a winner. Jack'll be alright."

Felix hands the pocket watch to Harry so he can time the rounds.

Bill Wain comes out of his corner circling left.

Jack rushes straight ahead.

Felix winks at Jack Delleto and whispers, "The Jack of hearts."



                                           Chapter 5


The front door of the Wagon Wheel bar explodes open to Ziggy Pop's, "YOU'VE GOT A LUST FOR LIFE." Jack Delleto steps over the curb and vanishes into the dark doorway.

"HEY, JACK, JACK DELLETO," The lanky bartender shouts over the din.

Delleto makes his way through the crowd over to bar. How the hell have you been Snake?" Jack asks.

"Just great," says Snake. "You're lookin pretty ****** good for a dead man."

"Who told you that? Crazy George?"

The bartender points across the room to where a man in a pin stripe suit is swinging to and fro from a wagon wheel lamp attached to the ceiling.

"Yeah, I thought so. Haven't seen Crazy George in a year and he's been telling everyone I'm dead. I'm gonna have to have a long talk with that man."

Snake hands Jack a shot of tequila. The men touch glasses and throw down the shots.

How's the other George? Dell asks.

"AA."

"How's Tommy? You see him anymore?"

"Rehab."

"What about Robbie?"

Snake refills the glasses. "He's livin in a nudist colony in Florida, he has two wives and 6 children."


Jack looks across the room and sees Bob O'Malley trying to adjust the rose in the lapel of his tuxedo. Satisfied it won't fall out O'Malley looks up at the man swinging from the lamp. "Quick, name man's three greatest inventions."

"Alcohol, tobacco, and the wheel," Crazy George shoots back.

O'Malley smiles and then jumps up on the top of the bar and although he is over six feet and weighs two hundred pounds, he has the dexterity and grace of a ballerina as he pirouttes around and jumps over the shot glasses and beer bottles that litter the bar.

Wedding guests lean back in their chairs as strangers fearful of his gyrations ****** their drinks off the bar. Bob fakes a slip as he prances along but he is always in control and never falters. Forty three year old Bob O'Malley is Jim Brown who dodges danger to score the winning touch down.

When Bob reaches the end of the bar he jumps to the floor, pulls two aluminum lids from the beer box, and with one in each hand he smacks them together like cymbals.

Some guests clap. The bemused just stare.

In the back of the room sitting at the wedding table the father of the bride leans over, whispers into the ear of his crying wife, "If I had a gun I'd shoot Bob."

The bride raises a glass of champagne into the smoke filled air and Bob takes a bow but then heads towards the kitchen at the other end of the room.

" Hey, Bob," Jack Delleto shouts to the groom.

O'Malley stops under the wagon wheel lamp and turns as Delleto steps into the  circle of light cast onto the floor.

"Congratulations, I know Theresa and you are goin to be happy. I mean that." Delleto offers his hand and they shake hands.

"Thanks, Mr. Cool."

Jack takes off the sunglasses.

"TWO black eyes. Your nose is bleeding. What happened?"

Dell takes the handkerchief from his back pocket, wipes the blood dripping down his face. "It's broken."

"What happened?" O'Malley asks again.

"Bill Wain."

"He turned pro."

"Yeah, but he's nothing special. Hell, he couldn't even knock me down."

O'Malley shakes his head. "Put the sunglasses back on, you look like a friggin raccoon."

Dell smiles. The blood running down his lips."Thersa's beautiful, Bob, you're a lucky guy."

"Thanks Dell." O'Malley puts his hand on Dell's shoulder and sqeezes affectionately. Bob looks across the room at Theresa. "Yeah, she is beautiful." Theresa mother has stopped crying. Her father just stares at the wall.

O'Malley looks away from his bride and passed the archway that divides the poolroom from the bar and into the corner. With the lamp light above his head gleaming in his eyes Bob seems to see a ghost fleeting in the far distant, dark corner. Slowly, a peculiar half smile forms uneven, white, tombstone teeth.  A pensive smile.

Curious, Dell turns his head to look into the darkness of the poolroom, too.

At night in July the moths were everywhere. When Dell was a boy he would sit on his porch and try to count them. The moths appeared as faint splashes of whiteness scattered throughout the night, odd circles of white that moved haphazardly, forward and then sideways, sometimes up and down.

Sometimes the patches of moths flew higher and higher and Dell imagined the lights those creatures were seeking were the stars themselves; Orion, the Big Dipper and even the milky hue of the Milkyway.

One night as the moths pursued starlight he saw shadows dropping one by one from the tops of the trees. The swallows were soundless and when he caught a glimpse of sudden darkness, blacker than the night, the shadows erased the dreamer and its dream.

His imagination gave definition to form. There was a sound to the shadows of the swallows in his thoughts, the melody and the song played over and over. Perhaps he saw his reflection in the night. Perhaps there are shadows where nothing exists to cast them.

"Do you hear them, Bob?"

"Hear what?" Bob asks.

"All of them."

"All of what?"

"Nothin," Delleto candidly tells his friend, "Nothin."

O'Malley doesn't understand but it does not matter. The two men have shared the same corner of darkness.

Bob calls to Paul Keater. Keater smiles broadly, slides the brim of his Giant baseball cap to the side of his forehead. The two men disappear through the swinging kitchen door.


                                          Chapter 6


"Hello Kate." Jack Delleto says and sits down. She has a blue bow in her hair and make up on.

"My names Kathleen."

She fondles the whiskey glass in her slim fingers. "Hello, Dell, Sue thinks Dell is such a **** name. Kathleen takes a last drag on her cigarette, rubs it out in the ashtray, looks up at him, "What should I call you?"

"How about, Darlin?"

"Hello, Jack, DARLIN," her soft, deep voice whispers. Kathleen crosses her legs and the black dress rides up to the middle of her thigh.

Jack glances at the milky white flesh between the blue ***** hose and the hem of her dress. Kate is drunk and Dell does not care. He leans closer, "Do you wanna dance?"

"But no one else is dancing."

"Well, we can go down to the beach, take a walk along the sand."

"It's twenty degrees out there."

"I'll keep you warm."

"All right, lets dance."

Jack stands up takes her by the hand. As Kathleen rises Jack draws her close to him. Her ******* flatten against his chest. He feels her heart thumping.

The Elvis impersonator that almost played Las Vegas; the hairdresser that wanted to be a race car driver; the insurance salesman with a Porche and a wife.  Her men talked about what they owned or what they could do.

And Kathleen was impressed.

But Dell wasn't like them. Dell never talked about himself. Did he have a dream? Was there something he wanted more than anything?

Kathleen had never meant anyone quite like Dell.

She rests her head on his shoulder. "What do you what more than anything? What do you dream about at night?"

"Nothing."

"Come on," she says," what do you want more than anything? Tell me your dreams."

Jack smiles, "Just to make it through another day."  He smiles that sad smile that she saw the first time they met. "Tell me what you want."

Kate lifts her head off of his shoulder and looks into his eyes."I don't want to be on welfare the rest of my life and I want to be able to send my son to college." She rests her cheek against his, "I've lived in foster homes all my life and every time I knew one day I'd have to leave, what I want most is a home. Do you know the difference between a house and a home?"

"No."

Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear, "LOVE."

The song comes to an end and they leave the circle of light and sit down. Kate takes a cigarette from the pack.

Dell strikes a match. The flame flickering in her eyes. "Maybe someday you'll have your home."

"Do you want me to?"

"Yeah."

Kate blows out the match.


                                  
     


"Can you take me home?" Kate asks slurring her words.

Kathleen and Jack walk over to where the bride and groom are standing near the big glass refrigerator door with Paul Keater. When Paul realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto he rocks back and forth on the heals of his worn shoes, slides his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead and walks away.

O'Malley bends down and kisses Kathleen on the cheek and turns to shake hands with Dell. "Good luck," says Dell. Kathleen embraces the bride.

Outside the bar the sun is setting behind the boarded shut Delleto store.

"That was my Dad's store, " Jack tells Kate and then Jack whispers to to himself as he reads the graffiti spray painted on the front wall.
"TELL YOUR DREAMS TO ME, TELL ME YOU LOVE ME, IF YOU LOVE ME, TELL ALL YOUR DREAMS TO ME."


                                         Chapter 7


An old man comes shuffling down the street, "Hello Mr. Martin, " Jack says, "How are you?"

"I'm an old man Jack, how could I be," and then he smiles, "ah, I can't complain. How are you?"

"Still alive and well."

"Who is this pretty young lady?"

"This Kate."

Joesph Martin takes Kathleen by the arm and  gently squeezes, "Hello Kate, such a pretty women, ah, if I was only sixty," and the old man smiles.

Kathleen forces a smile.

The thick eyeglasses that Mr. Martin wears magnifys his eyes as he looks from Kathleen to Jack, "Have fun now because when you are dead you are going to be dead a long, long time."

"How long?  Delleto inquires.

The old man smirks and waves as he continues up the street to the door leading to the rooms above the bar. He turns to face the door. The small window is broken and the shards of glass catch the twilight.

Joesph Martin turns back looking at the man and young woman who are about to get into the car. He is not certain what he wants to say to them. Perhaps he wants to tell them that it ***** being an old man and the upstairs hallway always smells of ****.

Joesph Martin wants to tell someone that although Anna died seven years ago his love endures and he misses her everyday. Joesph recalls that Plato in Tamaeus believed that the soul is a stranger to the Earth and has fallen into matter because of sin.

A faint smile appears on the wrinkled face of the old man as he heeds the resignation he hears in his own thoughts.

Jack waves to Mr. Martin.  Joesph waves back. The mustang drives off.

Earth, O island Earth.


                                               Chapter 8


Joseph pushes open the door and goes into the hallway. The fragments of glass scattered across the foyer crunch and clink under his shoes. The cold wind blowing through the broken window touches his warm neck. He shivers and walks up the stairs. There is only enough light to see the wall and his own warm breathing. There is just enough light like when he has awaken from a  bad dream, enough to remember who he is and to separate the horror of what is real from the horror of what is dreamt.

The old man continues climbing the stairs following the familiar shadow of the wall cast onto the stairs. If he crosses the vague line of shadow and light he will disappear like a brown trout in the deepest hole in a creek.

By the time he reaches the second floor he is out of breath. Joseph pauses and with the handkerchief he has taken from his back pocket he wipes the fog from the lenses of his eyeglasses and the sweat from his forehead.

A couple of doors are standing open and the old man looks cautiously into each room as he hurries passed. One forty watt bulb hangs from a frayed wire in the center of the hallway. The wiring is old and the bulb in the white porcelain socket flickers like the blinking of an eye or the fearful beating of the heart of an old man.

When he opens the door to his room it sags on ruined hinges.

Joesph searches with his hand for the light switch.  Several seconds linger. Can't find it.

Finds it and quickly pushes the door shut. He sits down on the bed, doesn't take his coat off, reaches for the radio. It is gone.

Joseph looks around the room. A small dresser, the sink with a mirror above it. He takes off his coat and above the mirror hangs the coat on the nail he has put there.

Hard soled boots echo hollowly off the hallway walls. The echoes are overlapping and he can not determine if the footsteps are leaving or approaching.

The crow bar is under his pillow.

He grabs it. Holds it until there is silence.

He lays back on the bed. Another night without sleep. Joseph rolls onto his side and faces the wall.

Earth, O island Earth.



                                           Chapter 9


Tangled in the tree tops a rising moon hangs above the roofs of identical Cape Cod houses.

Jack pulls the red mustang behind a station wagon. Kathleen is looking at Dell. His face is a faint shadow on the other side of the car. "Do you want to come up?" she asks.

Kathleen steps out of the car, breathes the cold air deep into her lungs. It is fresh and sweet. Jack comes around the side of the car just as she knew he would. He takes her into his arms and kisses her and they walk beneath the old oak tree and the roots have raised and crack the sidewalk and in the spring tiny blue flowers will bloom. The flowers remind Jack of the columbines that bloom in high mountain meadows above treeline heralding a brief season of sun and warmth.

"Did you win?" Kathleen asks as she fits the key into the upstairs apartment door. The door swings open into the kitchen.

Dell, standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts. "It doesn't matter."

"You lost?"

"Yeah."

Crossing the room she takes off her coat and places it on the back of the kitchen chair. When Kate leans across the kitchen table to turn on the radio the mini dress rides up her thigh, tugs tightly around her buttocks.

The radio plays softly.

Jack stands and as Kathleen turns he slips his arms around her waist and she is staring into his eyes like a cat into a fire. His body gently presses against the table and when he lifts her onto the table her legs wrap around his waist.

Kathleen sighs.

Jack kisses her. Her lips are cold like the rain. His hand reaches. There is a faint click. The room slips into darkness. It is Eddie Money on the radio, now, with Ronnie Spectre singing the back up vocals. Eddie belts out, "TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I WON"T LET YOU LEAVE TIL..."

When Jack withdraws from the kiss her eyes are shining like diamonds in moonlight.

The buttons of her dress are unfastened.  Her arms circle his neck and pull him to her *******. "Don't Jack. You mustn't. I just want a friend." His hands slide up her thighs. "I'll be your friend, " says Jack.

"*** always ruins every thing," Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear. He pulls her to the edge of the table as Ronnie sings, "O DARLIN, O MY DARLIN, WON'T YOU BE MY LITTLE BAABBBY NOOWWW."


They are sitting on a couch in the room that atone time had been a sun porch.

Now that they have gotten *** out of the way, maybe they can talk. Sliding her hands around his face she pulls him closer.

"Jack, what do you dream about? You know what I mean, tell your dreams to me."

"How did you get those little round scars on your arm," Jack wonders. "Up and down, hear and there."

"Do you really want to know?" There is anger in her voice and Jack does not understand.

"Why, yeah."

"My foster mom always wanted me to be clean and if I didn't I got hit with the belt. I tried to keep my face clean but it didn't do any good.

He was the worst, though, dad. He'd burn me with his cigarette. That's how I got these ****** scars. And when I knew he was coming home I'd get sick to my stomach and when I heard his key in the door, I'd wet myself.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

When they didn't beat me or burn me they ignored me, like I didn't exist, like I wasn't even there."



                                             Chapter 10



All the windows in the apartment are open. The cool breeze flows through her brown hair. "You're getting too serious, Jack, and I don't want to need you."

"That's because I care for you."

The rain pounds the roof.

Jack Delleto sits down on the bed, caresses her shoulder. "I hate the rain. Come on, give me a smile. "Kathleen pulls away and faces the wall.

"Well I don't need anyone."

"People need people."

There is silence, then, "I only care about my son and Father Anthony."

"What is it with you and the priest?" You named your son Anthony is that because he's the father."

"Your an *******. Get out of here. I don't love you." And then, "I've been hurt by people and you'll get over it."

The lingering silence. Jack gets up from the bed, stares at her dark form facing the wall. "Isn't this how it always ends for you?"

The room is quiet and grows hot. When the silence numbs his racing heart, he goes into the kitchen, opens the front door and walks down the steps into the cold rain.


"Anthony," Kathleen calls to her son to come to her from the other bedroom and he climbs into the bed and she holds him close. The ghost of relationships past haunt her and although they are all sad, she has she clings to them.


On the sidewalk below the apartment window Jack stops. He thinks he hears his name being called but whatever he has heard is carried off by the wind. He continues up the  dark street to his Harley.

High in reachless branches of the old oak tree a mockingbird is singing. The leaves twist in the wind and  the singing goes on and on.



                                            
     



The ringing phone.

"Who the hell is this?" The clock on the dresser says 5a.m.

"Jack, I'm scared."

"Kate?"

"Someone broke into my apartment."

"Is he still there?"

"No, He ran out the door when I screamed."

"I'll be right over."



                                         Chapter11


"How hot is it?" Kathleen asks.

The bar is empty except for O'Malley, Keater, a man and a woman.

"98.6,"Says Jack. The sweat rolls down his cheeks.

"Let's go to the boardwalk."

"When it's hot like this, it's hot all over."

"We could go on the rides."

"I've got the next pool game, then we'll go."

"It's my birthday."

"I bought you flowers."

"Yeah, carnations."

Laughing, Paul Keater slides the brim of his baseball cap back and forth across his forehead.

Jack starts for Keater, Katheen steps in front of Jack, puts her hands on his shoulders. She looks into his eyes.

"What is it with you , two? But as always you'll say nothing, nothing." As Jack tries to speak she walks over to the bar and sits on the barstool.

"It's my birthday," she tells O'Malley.

When Bob turns from the horse races on he T.V., he notices her long legs and the short skirt. "Hey, happy birthday, Kate, Jack Daniels?"

"Fine."

Filling the glasses O'Malley hands one to Kathleen, "You look great," he tells her.

"Jack doesn't think so. Thanks, at least someone thinks so."

"Hope Jack won't mind," and he leans over the bar and kisses her.

Kathleen looks over her shoulder at Delleto. Jack is playing pool with a woman wearing a black tight halter top. The woman comes over to Jack, stands close, smiles, and Jack smiles back.

The boyfriend stares angrily at Jack.

When Kathleen turns back O'Malley is filling her shot glass.

Jack wins that game, too.



                                                 Chapter 12



"Daddy,"the little girl with her hands folded in her lap is looking up at her father. "When will the ride stop? I want to go on."

"Soon, Darling, "her father assures her.

"I don't think it will ever stop."

"The ride always stops, Sweetie." Daddy takes her by the hand, gently squeezes.


When the carousel begins to slow down but has not quite stopped Kathleen steps onto the platform, grabs the brass support pole. The momentum of the machine grabs her with a **** onto the ride, into a white horse with big blue eyes. Dropping her cigarette she takes hold of the pole that goes through the center of the horse. She struggles to put her foot in the stirrup, finds it, and throws her leg over the horse. The carousel music begins to play. With a tremble and a jolt, the ride starts.

Sitting on the pony has made her skirt ride well up her legs. The ticket man is staring at her but she is too drunk to care. She hands him the ticket, gives him the finger.

The ticket man goes over to the little girl and her father who are sitting in a golden chariot pulled by to black horses.

"Ooooh, Daddy, I love this."

"So do I," The father smiles and strokes his daughters hair.

The heat makes the dizziness grow and as the ride picks up speed she sees two of everything. There are two rows of pin ball machines, eight flashing signs, six prize machines. All the red, blue and green lights from the ride blend together like when a car drives at night down a rain soaked street.

Kathleen feels the impulse to *****.

"Can we go on again?" The little girl asks.

"But the ride isn't over, yet."


Kathleen concentrates on the rain soaked street and the dizziness and nausea lessens. She perceives the images as a montage like the elements that make up a painting or a life. She has become accustom to the machine and its movement. The circling ride creates a cooling breeze that becomes a tranquil, flowing waterfall.

The ponies in front are always becoming the ponies in the back and the ponies in back are becoming the ponies in the front. Around and around. All the ponies galloping. Settling back into the saddle she rides the pony into the ever present waterfall.

You can lose all sense of the clock staring into the waterfall of blue, red and green. Kathleen leans forward to embrace the ride for a long as it lasts.

Just as suddenly as it started, the ride slowystops, the music stops playing.

Coming down off the pony she does not wait for the ride to stop, stumbles off the platform and out the  Casino amusement park door."****, *******," she yells careening into the railing almost falling into Wesley Lake.

She staggers a few steps, sits down on the grass by the curb, hears the carousel music playing and knows the ride is beginning again, and all the her dreams crawls into her like a dying animal from its hidden place.

And it all comes up from her throat taking her breath away. A distant yet familiar wind so she lies down on the grass facing the  street of broken buildings filled with broken people. From the empting lot of scattered thoughts the mockingbird is singing and the images shoot off into a darkening landscape, exploding, illuminating for a brief moment, only to grow dimmer, light and warmth fading into cold and darkness.




                                      
     

"Your girlfriend is flirting with me," Jack Delleto tells the man. "It's my game."

The man stands up, takes a pool stick from the rack, as he comes towards Jack Delleto the man turns the pool stick around holding the heavy part with two hands.

There is an explosion of light inside his head, Delleto sees two spinning lizards playing trumpets, 3 dwarfs with purple hair running to and fro, intuitively he knows he has to get up off the floor, and when he does he catches the bigger man with a left hook, throws the overhand right. The man stumbles back.

His girlfriend in the tight black halter top is jumping up and down, screaming at, screaming at Jack Delleto to stop, but Jack does not. Stepping forward, a left hook to the midsection, hook to the head, spins right, throws the overhand right.

The man does down.

Jack wins.



                                                  CHAPTE­R 13

"It's too much," and Jack looks up from the two lines of white powder at Bob O'Malley. "I'll never be able to fall asleep and I hate not being able to sleep."

" Here," Bob takes a big white pill from his shirt pocket.

Jack drops the pill into his shirt pocket and says, "No more." He hands the rolled up dollar bill to Bob who bends over the powder.

"Tom sold the house so you're upstairs? O Malley asks, and like a magician the two lines of white powder disappear. Straightening up, he looks at Dell, "I know you 're hurting Dell , I'm sorry, I'm sad about Kate, too."

Jack becomes quiet, walks through the darkened room over to the bar. Leaning over the bar he grabs two shot glasses and a bottle of Wild Turkey, walks back into the poolroom. He puts the shot glasses on top of the pin ball machine. "We have a winner, "the pin ball machine announces. Dell fills the glasses.

"Felix came in the other day, he's taken it hard. Bill Wain knock down four times in the sixth round, lost consciousness in the dressing room, and died at the hospital," Bob tells him.

"What's the longest you went without sleep? Jack asks.

"Oooohhh, five, six days, who knows, after awhile you loose all track of the clock."

They take the shots and throw them down.

"I wonder if animals dream," Jack wants to know. "I wonder if dogs dream."

"Sure they do, " O'Malley asures him, nodding his head up and down, "dogs, cats, squirrels, birds."

"Probably not insects."

"Why not? Sure they do, june bugs, fleas, even moths, it's all biochemical, dreams are biochemical, mix the right combination of certain chemicals, electric impulses, and you'll produce love and dreams."

                                          
     

Jack Delleto goes into the room, studies it. The light from the unshaded lamp on the night stand casts a huge shadow of him onto the adjacent wall. Not much to the room, a sink with a mirror above it next to a dresser, a bed against the wall, a wooden chair in front of a narrow window.

The rain pounds the roof.

The apprehension grows. The panic turns into anger. Jack rushes the white wall, meets his shadow, explodes with a left hook. He throws the right uppercut, the over hand right, three left hooks. He punches the wall and his knucles bleed. He punches and kicks the blood stained wall.

At last he is exhausted, collapses into the chair in front of the open window. Fist sized holes in the plaster revel the bones of the building. The room has been punched and kicked without mercy.

The austere room has won.

The yellow note pad, he needs the yellow note pad, finds it, takes the pencil from the binder but no words will come so he writes, "insomnia, the absence of dream." He reaches for the lamp on the night stand, finds it, and turns off the light. Red and blue, blue and red, the neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks soft neon into his room. The sign seems to pulsate to the cadence of the rock music coming from the bar.

Taking the big white pill from his shirt pocket, he swallows it, leans back into the chair watching the shadows of rain bleed down the wall. The darkness intensifys. Jack slides into the night.



                                           Chapter 14


The rain turns to snow.

With each step he takes the pain throbs in his arm and shoulder socket. His raw throat aches from the drafts of cold air he is ******* through his gaping mouth and although his legs ache he does not turn to look back. Jack must keep punching holes with his ice axe, probing the snow to avoid a fall into an abyss.

The pole of the ice axe falls effortlessly into the snow, "**** it, another one."

Moonlight coats the glacier in an irridecent glow and the mountain looms over him. It is four in the mourning and Jack knows he needs to be high on the mountain before the  mourning sun softens the snow. He moves carefully, quietly, humbly to avoid a fall into a crevasse. When he reaches the top of the couloir the wind begins to howl.

"DA DA DUN, DA DA DUN, HEY PURPLE HAZE ALL AROUND  MY BRAIN..."

Jack thinks the song is in his head but the electric guitar notes float down through the huge blocks of ice that litter the glacier and there standing on the arête is Jimi, his long dexterous fingers flying over the guitar strings at 741 mph.

"Wait a minute, " Jack wonders, stopping dead in his tracks. The sun is hitting the distant wind blown peaks. "Ah, what the hell," and Jack jumps in strumming his ice axe like an air guitar, singing, shouting, "LATELY THINGS DON'T SEEM THE SAME, IS THIS A DREAM,  WHATEVER IT IS THAT GIRL PUT A SPELL ON MEEEE, PURRPPLLE HAZZEEE."


                                        
     


Slowly the door moans open.

"Jack, are you awake?" her voice startles him.

"Yeah, I'm awake."

"What's the matter, can't sleep?"

Jack sifts position on the chair. "Oh, I can sleep all right." He recognizes the voice of the shadow. "I want to climb to a high mountain through ice and snow and never be found."

"A heart that's empty hurts, I miss you Jack Delleto."

"I'm glad someone does, I miss you ,too."

There is silence for several minutes and the voice comes out of the darkness again.

"Jack, you forgot something that night."

"What?" The dark shape moves towards him. When it is in front of him, Jack stands, slips his arms around her waist.

"You didn't kiss me goodbye."

Her lips are soft and warm. Her arms tighten around his neck and the warmth of her body comes to him through the cold night.

"Jack, what's the matter?" She raises her head to look at him, "Why, you're crying."

"Yeah, I'm crying."

"Don't cry Darlin," her lips are soft against his ear. "I can't bare to see you unhappy, if you love me, tell me you love me."

"I love you, I do," he whispers softly.

"Hold me, Jack, hold me tighter."

"I'll never let you go." He tries to hug the shadow.


                                          
      *


The dread grows into an explosion of consciousness. Suddenly, he sits up ******* in the cold drafts of air coming into the room from the open window. Jack Delleto gets up off the chair and walks over to the sink. He turns on the cold water and bending forward splashes water onto his face. Water dripping, he leans against the sink, staring into the mirror, into his eyes that lately seem alien to him.



                                            Chapter 15


Someone approaches, Jacks turns, looks out the open door, sees Joesph Martin go shuffling by wearing a faded bathrobe and one red slipper. Jack hears Martin 's door slam shut and the for thirty seconds the old man screams, "AAHHH, AAAHHH, AAAHH."
Then the building is silent and Jack listens to his own labored breathing.

A glance at the clock. It is a few minutes to 7 a.m. Jack hurries from his room into the hallway.  They pass each other on the stairs. The big man is coming up the stairs and Jack is going down to see O'Malley.

Jack has committed a trespass.

When the big man reaches the top of the stairs, the red exit light flickers like a votive candle above his head. The man slides the brim of his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead, he turns and looks down, "Hello, Jack, brother. Dad loved you, too, you know." An instant later the sound of a door closing echoes down the hallway steps.


Jack Delleto is standing in the doorway at the bottom of the steps looking out onto the wet, bright street.

"Hey, Jack, man it's good to see you, glad to see you're still alive."

Jack turns, looks over his shoulder, "Felix, how the hell are you?"
The two men shake hands, then embrace momentarily.

"Ah, things don't get any better and they don't get any worse," shrugs the old man and then he smiles but his brown eyes are dull and Jack can smell the cheap wine on the breath of the old boxer. "When are comin back? Man, you've got something, Kid, and we're going places."

"Yeah, Felix, I'll be coming back."  Jack extends his hand. The old fighter smiles and they shake hands. Suddenly, Felix takes off down Main Street towards Foodtown as if he has some important place to go.

Jack is curious. He sees the rope when he starts walking towards the Wagon Wheel Bar. One end of the rope is tied around the parking meter pole. The rest of the rope extends across the sidewalk disappearing into the entrance to the bar. The rattling of a chain catches his attention and when the huge white head of the dog pops out of the doorway Jack is startled. He stops dead in his tracks and as he spins around to run, he slips falling to the wet pavement.

The big, white mutt growls, woofs once and comes charging down the sidewalk at him. The rope is quickly growing shorter, stretches till it meets it end, tightens, and then snaps. Now, unimpeded by the tension of the rope the mutt comes charging down the sidewalk at Delleto. Jack's body grows tense anticipating the attack. He tries to stand up, makes it to his knees just as the dog bowls into him knocking him to the cement. The huge mutt has him pinned down, goes for his face.

And begins licking him.

Jack Delleto struggles to his knees, hugs her tightly to him. Looking over her shoulder, across Main Street to the graffiti painted on the boarded shut Delleto Market...

                               FANTASY WILL SET YOU FREE

                                                 The End

To Tommy, Crazy George and Snake, we all enjoyed a little madness for awhile.


"Conversations With a Dead Dog..."
Jody-Anne Cauchi Dec 2014
Darkness embraces the mind
Feathered wings beat within ear shot,
Eye's peering through a window of life.

Flashes of past lives, try to take hold
Mystery still living unsolved,
Darkness embraces the mind.

Grappling bones reach from within
Clawing the soul, rippling emotions
Eye's peering through a window of life.

Depths of sorrow, burrow in the heart
Draining light and shadows into abyss,
Darkness embraces the mind.

Boats stay afloat upon salted tears,
Waves crash upon stoic rocks,
Eye's peering through a window of life.

Movies of old play once again black and white,
No words spoken, mimes left wordless
Darkness embraces the mind,
Eye's peering through a window of life.
Copyright JA Cauchi
Let love's sunset into my heart
With sullen greys tinged in pink
With last rays of warmth
Before there comes the chill

Let the last breath of fulfillness
Ease around my heart
Take away the sunny memories
Softly as the light fades away

Fading fast empty embraces
And kisses that have no taste
As softly whispered I love yous
Fall into the Atlantic sea

Come nightness surround now
My empty heart
Console my ache and care
So come now , sunset of my heart
Umi Mar 2018
Urges through the night, a blade dancing with its mistress, discarding what has summoned up in her way alike a ****** crazed devotion,
Scarlet tears make their way down her cheek, washing the sand off as the pillars around begin to collapse alike cards one by one at the time,
Phantoms rage as a pure flower appears to commence blooming,
The warped moon embraces the shadows of such fools as it rises,
Actions with not much meaning seek their rampage as the battle field becomes frail and soulless through this sleepless night of lunacy,
When the flood of realisation arrives she will be swept away unlike the wise who make a more solid, stadfast decision. How trecious,
Does she want to take a dance with this cruel world she rampages on, are her ideals fitting for this battle she is about to win for now,
Drenched in blood and impurities of her work, her mind remains pure, innocent, not even sweating one thought to the consequences,
Mercy nor compassion are unlikely to be granted in this darkening realm, not to her dancing knife or her lunatic ****** devotion,
Time is moving, as she sacrafices her soul for her actions,
Taking another dance in this distorted dark

~ Umi
: 'Its Holiday season'
Here are lists of things you need teach your child
at early age.
.
1: Warn your girl child never to sit on anyone's
laps no matter the situation including uncles.
.
2: Avoid getting dressed in front of your child
once he/she is 2years old.
Learn to excuse yourself.
.
3: If you have to hire a house-help, please kindly
take them for *** screening to determine their
*** status, properly interview them and make up
your mind to
treat them well.
.
4: Never allow any adult refer to your new born
as 'my wife' or 'my husband'.
.
5: Never tempt your husband with your younger
sister. (Else he'd say its her's and the devil's
fault)
.
6: Whenever your child goes out to play with
friends, make sure you look for a way to find out
what kind of play they played
together because young people now sexually
abuse themselves.
.
7: Never force your child to visit any adult he or
she is not comfortable with and also be
observant if your child becomes too fond of a
particular adult.
.
8: Once a very lively child suddenly becomes
withdrawn you might need to patiently ask alot of
questions from your child. If you don't teach your
children
about ***, the society will teach them the wrong
values.
.
9: It is always advisable you go through any new
Material like cartoons you just bought for them
before they start seeing it, you may Blue Movie
themselves.
.
10: Teach your 3 year old how to wash their
private parts properly and warn them never to
allow anyone touch those areas and that includes
you (remember, charity begins at home and with
you)
11: Once your child complains about a particular
person, don't keep quiet about it Take up the
case and show them you can
defend them always.
.
Then make sure they embraces God.
The bible said 'Train up a child in the way he
should go, And when he is old he will not depart
from it.
Shofi Ahmed May 2017
She is pyramidon spreads down the pyramid
Led by him up the pyramid that keeps climbing high.
Continues to straighten his straight line but her
curve off the top embraces full is an enduring spiral!

Off the apex of the pyramid the butterfly has slipped out
Still a circle still a cut whatsmore is concealed in the pi?
Future is in now, deathless in death only a pi away!
Nicklaus Bailey Oct 2019
1-Establish Lux as a farmer with his brother, father, mother. Show dissatisfaction at a lot in life, yearning for more, however Lux feels compelled to stay with family and help them. Establish a close relationship between the brothers, a good mother/son relationship, though a testy relationship with his father. Strange symbol branded on Lux’s chest, been there since he was a baby, no one is sure what it means- or no one is telling him. This is Lux’s L.S. beginning. Establish also is the world Lux is in, the facts of the ministry and the church, the knights and wars of before.
2-Introduce a festival in town with knights from “The Brotherhood” being present, establish them as knights capable of magic and swordplay, “The Brotherhood” knights are taking new recruits at the festival. Wanting to join, Lux goes through the trials and passes, though after a harsh reaction from his father, Lux does not leave with the knights. With Lux out of scene, a conversation between the mother and father should reveal the man is not in actuality Lux’s father, but his uncle, and his brother had been married to Lux’s mother (now his wife) though died fighting in a war between “The Brotherhood” as a member of their ranks, against a rival faction known as “The Order”  peak lux’s curiosity and focus on the desire to leave as established in the previous chapter. This and the next chapter are Lux’s “Go The Distance”
3-The end of the week long festival nears, and Lux is on a hunting trip with his younger brother, returns and is questioned by his father why he wants to leave so much. The truth of Lux’s true father is revealed, and though Lux’s uncle expected this to convince Lux to stay and not go into danger, Lux is angered rather, and leaves in a hurry to catch “The Brotherhood” knights before they leave. Lux is put under the tutelage of a man who claims to have known Lux’s father, though it is revealed Lux’s little brother followed him, and is taken into the recruit pool as well, despite never going through the testing. Note- perhaps have Lux refuse to go with the knights if his brother is not also offered a spot? Hero’s journey, he needs a moment of hesitation and refusal to go. This should be reflected like Lukes refusal to join ben, or Bilbos refusal of gandalf, but quickly change their minds.
4-Training begins the moment they arrive at a camp. Lux and his brother are immediately outfitted with leather armor, dark and gritty in contrast of the shining metal of the rest of the knights. Lux is doing well in training, sword play coming natural, shakey with a bow, and ofcourse a natural talent at magic, (though make a point that in fire spells Lux only manages to start small flames that he can throw, and struggles with healing magic) though his brother is struggling in all aspects and is beat by his trainer. Lux’s trainer urges Lux to ignore it,though Lux finally snaps and challenges the man. The two enter a circle made in the dirt with training swords, and though Lux appears to have the advantage at first, he is quickly beaten and left gasping and ****** on the floor. The trainer leaves Lux there, and soon a hand reaches down to Lux. A female trainee named Ciara picks up Lux and, joined by his brother, the three wander off for more training for the instructors. Introduce Peter, a man deeply infatuated by Ciara, rather than a knight Peter is a Father to the holy church, unable to fall in love and forbidden to marry. Subtle on Peter’s infatuation with Ciara, should really build Peter as a good friend to Ciara,
5. Lux, his trainer, CIara, and her trainer are all out in the forest doing patrol after reports that remnants of “The Order” have picked up their pace in activity in the surrounding areas, raiding small towns and taking young men and women as recruits. Lux and Ciara are separated for a time and grow closer through talk and laughter when they see two knights in armor that is shining silver on almost the entire body though the right arm and pec are a scarlet red, drinking water from a stream. Confirming with each other that is the description of “The Order” Ciara says they should find their trainers though Lux charges. Ciara is close behind, catching the two off guard. Both are quickly overpowered through the use of advanced magic from “The Order” but Ciara’s trainer jumps in, kills one, but is killed by the second. As he turns, Lux throws his dagger and hits the man in the eye, killing him. Lux and Ciara carry her trainers body back to camp. Ciara refuses to speak and when greeted at the gate by Peter, she embraces him and cries into his shoulder. Have both Lux and Ciara attempt healing magic to no avail. Have Lux grow frustrated at feeling the ABILITY to heal, but unable to do so.
6. Lux is punished for charging, while his trainer is taken to a secret meeting where they discuss what to do with Lux, but out of respect for his father, they keep him in “The Brotherhood”. Lux has not seen Ciara since the incident, though he can see her in the crowd when he is being taken to be whipped, and receives 10 lashes, to Peter’s dismay who recommends either banishment or death. After the punishment, he is cut loose from the posts holding him up and Lux’s brother charges the ground, picking his brother up and taking him to his bed. As they pass Lux manages an apology, but is unsure if she accepts it. Lux is informed she will be trained alongside him. Make Peter do some ******* **** idk. Resenting “The Brotherhood” Lux should vent to his brother about his growing distrust of the situation, asking if his brother has felt the growing gap between what they feel they can do, and what they can do.
7. Show training between Lux, Ciara, and brother, distinguish a growing connection between Lux and Ciara, much to Ciara’s surprise and reluctance. Show Lux go into his trainers room while he is absent, and sees a sword on the wall, bearing a strange symbol. Lux trainer will explain that the sword should belong to Lux as it was his fathers, and when it is time he will inherit the blade but for now he must leave the blade alone. Lux asks about the situation behind his father's death. Explain the following: The Brotherhood were not always the knights guarding the royal family, before his birth the royal family was guarded by The Order, who are the reason The Brotherhood practice both swordplay and magic, as the Order are master swordsman and powerful wizards, prolific in blood magic and necromancy. When one member of The Order desired the throne for himself, he split The Order in 2. The Brotherhood worship the Gods, but in his desire and lust for power, the man struck a deal with the old gods, evil barbaric entities who require blood and death as sacrifices for their eternal power. This is Nero, a man that Lux’s father took in and treated as a brother, both being trained as knights for The Order. During the civil war, Nero attacked the Royal Palace and though he was badly defeated, he did **** Lux’s father in the battle. End chapter on this story. This chapter should be shows as Lux is uncertain of The Brotherhood and his trainer, but with the story of his father, he is conflicted. If it is true, then they are just. If it is wrong, how many more lies has he been told?
8. Show Lux becoming prolific with a blade and very intimidating magically. When he, Ciara, and his brother are sent on a mission with no trainers for the first time, Lux naturally takes charge. They track knights of The Order down to a cave, where they are tested both physically and magically. Ciara and Lux both protect brother as much as they can, though brother is able to hold his own. They manage to corner one who instead of being taken prisoner, stabbed himself in the stomach after giving an ominous warning. As Lux approaches the body, he sees on the cave wall a crude drawing of a man with the same symbol on his chest as Lux’s, holding a sword with the same symbol as Lux’s fathers, a figure resembling a large black and red dragon behind the man. Dismissing it, Lux tells Ciara and brother to not bother approaching, and the last of the knights are dead. The report back to base, and Lux informs trainer of what happened, leaving out the symbol.
9. Word carries out on base that more and more caves are being found with members of The Order, all with strange paintings on the walls. Peter speaks with the knights, explaining he has been praying and granted visions of a large scale battle. Have Ciara grab Lux’s arm at the sound of war, which Peter will notice (important for later) and in a hesitation to prepare for a battle that may or may not come, the commander of the camp demands the trainees be knighted, their proper gear be made, and to meet with the main force.
Cut from Lux to Peter alone in a church, praying to the Holy Mother begging for guidance away from the desires of his heart, and in his prayers Peter slowly realizes that he will not give up his desire for Ciara and decides to betray the Brotherhood in hopes Lux may die and he may be able to gain Ciara’s affection. Peter is seen leaving by Lux, though when questioned says he is going for more Fathers to pray and meditate on the matter.
10. Peter tracks down members of The Order, informing them that he wishes to give them valuable information, surrendering to them. Peter is taken to the leader of the knights operating in the area, and in exchange for one thing, is willing to tell The Order where The Brotherhood is, where they are going, their numbers, and anything else that will be of use. All he wants is them to make Ciara fall in love with him./ While Peter is doing this, Lux is kneeling in front of his trainer who knights him with fathers sword. (maybe do a crusader knight knighting, this is oath/this is how you remember it) When Lux is handed his father's sword, the cold metal instantly feels warm and the grip adjusts to his fingers and though it looks heavy, appears just the right weight to Lux. Lux is given armor, though when he takes his shirt off he sees the symbol on his chest glowing, same as the symbol on the sword. Trainer only says “magic is a strange thing, boy” and Lux is put into armor and finally leaves the shed a knight after only 2 months of training./back to Peter who is given a potion, told to have Ciara drink it and leave with her before they make their move. As Peter leaves, the leader barks orders to men who address him as Nero. Perhaps instead of Peter getting the potion straight from Nero, have him get it on a witch in the woods who is secretly affiliated with Nero, have to work out how she gets the information from Peter, but she could use magic to contact Nero after. Perhaps part of the agreement is Peter must turn his back on his abandoned faith and be her student and as a test of loyalty he must tell her everything he knows.
11. As The Order masses its numbers, knights of the Brotherhood are entering the giant city dedicated to The Brotherhood(Remulus? Romulus?) and Lux is in awe as he sees the a giant palace, and near it a graveyard with tombs. The tombs are the resting place of knights of The Order who gave their lives in service to the royal family, and now knights of The Brotherhood join their numbers. A newly marked grave is standing as a monument to Ciara’s trainer. The day is given to them to explore the city, and Lux/Ciara are alone together. Share a kiss. Witnessing the kiss, Peter comes from the shadows and informs them that curfew is near, and they should be heading back to the castle/as Peter watches the two make way to the castle laughing/holding hands, he heads to a monastery. He kneels before a picture of his god, praying asking to be told what to do. He knows he is a man of faith, so why are lust and desire even capable of entering his heart? He begs for pardon from sin as he sets his heart on giving Ciara the potion.
12. Now that the trainees have been knighted and the generals have been informed of Peter’s vision, prepare for war. The inhabitants of the city and many villages around are all pulled into the Castle’s walls, able bodied men and boys are given swords, women and girls find refuge in the newly emptied dungeons (all criminals hung/drafted?) Lux is witness to a battle plan, and overhears that during the last battle at the capitol city, The Order had used dragons to its aid, and though there were no confirmed sightings of dragons now, The Brotherhood should still set up catapults and bastilles on the off chance. Lux finds his brother and Ciara and informs them of what he has heard, though Peter comes and informs them that Lux must just be tired from nerves, and no one has seen a dragon in a generation. End with Ciara stopping a near brawl between the two, and Lux heading to his bed alone, and Peter now with Ciara, when a sound fills the halls. Scouts are reporting a massive army on the outskirts of the city.
13. Rain. Silence. Lux, Ciara, and his brother are among the numbers at the front gate. Rain hitting the ground. Hitting armor. Men are vomiting. Peter along with other priests are swinging burning incense between the rows of men, chanting prayers and songs of their god. Pounding. Pounding so hard that when it hits the front gate, the rain flies off the door and hits Lux’s face. Lux looks to his brother. The two nod. Lux looks into Ciara’s eyes. The two kiss. Confess love. The gate is broken open and the war begins with a thunderous roar in the sky, a dragon spewing fire on archers perched on castle walls as troops charge. Lux and the other knights hold their positions with a great clash the two armies finally meet. In screaming and fighting, Lux loses his brother, and The Brotherhood are pushed back, further and further. Lux manages to grab Ciara’s arm and the two run to a set of stairs going down to one of the dungeon entrances to warn the others that they are losing, when the dragon knocks over a giant pillar, stones hitting the two. Lux stays conscious from the first hit, and sees Peter approaching an unconscious Ciara with the potion in hand. Stuck beneath rubble, Lux watches as Peter pours it in her mouth and wakes her with a kiss. Begging Ciara for help frantically, she walks away with Peter, and as Lux cries out for his brother, more stones hit, causing him to go unconscious.
14. Lux awakens in an unfamiliar setting, on his knees. His hands shackled to the wall, his armor and sword feet in front of him, a man standing behind them. The man asks if Lux knows who he is. Looking up, Lux can see from the torches a tired face. Shaking his head, the man informs Lux, “I am Nero, commander of The Order, Captain of the Conquered Reaches, and rightful heir to the throne. And you are Lux. My nephew,” Nero smiles, touching Lux’s face. Accusing Nero of killing his father, Nero softens his eyes at Lux and stops moving. A look of sadness. “Your father's mistake is the single most regrettable accident in my life,” tells Lux more and more about his father. Informs Lux why the symbol is on his chest. Its magically bonded to the blade. It makes blood magic more powerful. Nero then informs Lux that his father had found a dragon egg just like Nero did, as Nero pulls the egg from his robes, shiney and black with streaks of scarlet. Nero offers Lux out of this cell, and he will gladly show him the ways of blood magic and make sure that Peter pays for his betrayal of the other knights. “I do not find The Brotherhoods newest members traitors, how can they betray a cause they never were offered? But how do you think we knew you were going to be there when we did? All of this has been for you, Lux.” with a wave of his hand, the shackles fall off Lux’s wrists and he falls forward. Reaching to the egg, Lux hesitates slightly, looking down and seeing his reflection in the water. With a wave of his hand, Nero projects the image of Peter kissing Ciara deeply. “That passion she gives him should be yours. I cannot create love. Only transfer it with a potion. When peter described the man who took his beloved, I should have realized. But together, I can rid the potions course and Peter will pay, Lux,” and as Lux watch Ciara enter Peter’s bed, he firmly grabs the egg, which begins to shake and crack in his hand, emerging a tiny dragon. Nero’s past: Nero will portray his story as such: He discovered that Lux’s mother is the illegitimate daughter of the queen. When Nero went to tell Lux’s father, he was stopped by the queen who attempted to have him killed, for if it was discovered that her late husband had an offspring, she would have a claim to the throne. In the ongoing fight, Nero claims he accidentally killed the queen and was discovered by Lux’s father. The fight was a misunderstanding and he was never able to tell him the truth of his soon to be (pregnant) wife. The split of The Order were those who believed Nero and those horrified at the death of the queen. Nero claims the royals betrayed him and those who followed the truth. Show a refusal to believe at first, though as his imprisonment lasts, and he goes over it again and again in his head, for weeks as Peter gets further away with Ciara, left with visions of Peter and Ciara making love, his Nero pleading with Lux’s father, and the conflict. Ambiguous if this is actually true or just indoctrination.
15. Lux’s training begins immediately. He is placed in the middle of a circle, men attacking from all directions and must fight them off with his blade and newly learned blood magic. Slicing his palm before gripping his blade, the warm metal now burns hot in Lux’s hands, and he drops the blade. Scolded with beatings and lashings, Lux learns how to embrace the pain. Magic flows through him stronger than ever as he adapts. Fire flows from his tips when before he could only manage an ember. He heals fatal wounds when before he could hardly manage a small cuts and broken bones. Lux is routinely beaten and whipped, his dragon growing and watching all the while. Weeks go by. Lux concentrates only on killing Peter and revenge. Pain, anger, and of course blood fuel blood magic to its extremes.
16. Lux’s brother is brought into a small room with other generals who managed to escape the battle of the capitol. He is questioned if he has heard from Lux, Peter, or Ciara as their bodies were never found. All the remaining forces are falling back to the capital, where a final stand will once again be made. Lux’s brother is told he may visit home one last time and must report to the capital in no more than 5 days, and his trainer will accompanying him/Lux is kneeling once again before Nero, though he feels the sword tap either shoulder as he is knighted into the brotherhood. He is given shiney armor and as he puts it on, is instructed to place his sliced palm on the opposite shoulder and watches as his blood flows into the metal, turning that arm and shoulder scarlet red. He is officially in The Order. Lux is tasked with one task to prove his loyalty. **** his stepfather and attempt to convince his mother to come swear loyalty to nero if she refuses, **** her too. If he does that, when he returns his dragon will feed on the personal sacrifice and be ready for battle, and in return Nero will make sure both Peter and Ciara are waiting for him. “It will be done, Lord Nero.” show conflict in Lux if he is truly willing to do all of this, and conflict on loyalty to Nero. The Dragons growth and power is connected to Lux’s ability in blood magic. The more anger, hate, and pain he puts into his abilities, the stronger the dragon will become.
17. Chapter starts with Lux standing outside his old house in the early hours of the morning, the sun peeking out of the mountains but being quickly covered by storm clouds. As darkness settles over the brief light illuminating the house. Lux enters the house. His stepfather enters the room hearing the door open but is grabbed by the throat.during the fighting, Lux manages to strangle his step father and throws his body to the door as his mother is running into the room. As she surveys the situation, there is a cry from the door, and Lux’s brother and trainer are standing in the door, sword in hand. Lux begins to unsheathe his sword but his mother moves between them, talking to the brothers. Lux demands to know from his trainer if what Nero said is true and that his mother is the rightful heir. Confirming Nero’s story partially, though claims that Nero attempted to blackmail the queen with the knowledge of the heir to gain more power. Lux tries to persuade his mother to join him and come be with Nero, that his father would have wanted this. When she refuses, he explains that she would not understand what he HAS to do to end this war, and when he is done the conflict will be resolved and order restored. Argument between lux and brother over oaths broken. Mother approaches Lux, touching his face tenderly speaking softly watching as her son is breaking. She offers him to leave the conflict entirely and to just live home with her, though as she turns to face Lux’s brother, Lux stabs her. Gasping she looks back to Lux, touching his face once more, “You look so much like your father in that armor” Lux , trainer and brother fight, Lux leaves his brother unconscious in the house quickly, though he kills his trainer outside, taking the bodies with him back to Nero.
18.Lux returns to the agreed upon spot to meet Nero, but is instead met by Ciara, who in his confusion and hesitation desperately tries to convince her to leave with him when out steps Peter with a staff in hand, who has now learned the magic of the old gods. When Lux raises his hand, his dragon lands behind him with a mighty roar. With a smirk, peter does the same, and a white and blue dragon lands behind him, a roar just as mighty. The dragons take to the air, circling and roaring, spitting blue and black flames at one another as Lux and Peter fight to the death. Just as Lux manages to defeat Peter after taunting and back and forth, there is a loud crash as Lux’s dragon lands on the other teeth in its neck, ripping its head off entirely. Ciara comes to her senses immediately, seeing Lux in armor of The Order standing over a wounded and ****** Peter, the blood spraying on them. Stepping toward Ciara, Lux is surprised when she steps back in fear. Allowing her to leave, Lux watches as she sprints away. The conversation between Lux and Ciara should be that of both trying to convert the other. When no understanding is made between the two, it is Lux’s love for Ciara that allows her to leave, she sprints to the horses and makes her way back to The Brotherhood. Turning back to a wounded Peter, Lux raises his sword when his eye catches sight of a faint glow on Peter’s chest. Kneeling to rip the man's shirt out of the way, Lux finds the same symbol that is on his sword and own chest. Peter is Lux’s lost twin.
Will add more, unsure how to end the first book. (Have a trilogy in mind)
Nature has divine qualities
Beyond national divides
So heart enfold immortal love
Where one sees mountain dance and move

In this do love has no color
Skin pigment shouldn't be honor
For all bears reddish clot
As we tread on earth path

So soil of time embraces our body
As the enlived soul transpired to the sky
All become one in a starky heaven
Where no divide and rule leaven

Only unending peace it brings
Shrinking hearts with joy and unending smiles
As they commune in glows of divine instinct
For the greatest commandment is love

As bird fly above
So cloud of hate gives love as chance
Embracing one with will of divine
So our earth become an undying paradise

written by
Martin Ijir
I

The Trumpet-Vine Arbour

The throats of the little red trumpet-flowers are wide open,
And the clangour of brass beats against the hot sunlight.
They bray and blare at the burning sky.
Red! Red! Coarse notes of red,
Trumpeted at the blue sky.
In long streaks of sound, molten metal,
The vine declares itself.
Clang! -- from its red and yellow trumpets.
Clang! -- from its long, nasal trumpets,
Splitting the sunlight into ribbons, tattered and shot with noise.

I sit in the cool arbour, in a green-and-gold twilight.
It is very still, for I cannot hear the trumpets,
I only know that they are red and open,
And that the sun above the arbour shakes with heat.
My quill is newly mended,
And makes fine-drawn lines with its point.
Down the long, white paper it makes little lines,
Just lines -- up -- down -- criss-cross.
My heart is strained out at the pin-point of my quill;
It is thin and writhing like the marks of the pen.
My hand marches to a squeaky tune,
It marches down the paper to a squealing of fifes.
My pen and the trumpet-flowers,
And Washington's armies away over the smoke-tree to the Southwest.
'Yankee Doodle,' my Darling! It is you against the British,
Marching in your ragged shoes to batter down King George.
What have you got in your hat? Not a feather, I wager.
Just a hay-straw, for it is the harvest you are fighting for.
Hay in your hat, and the whites of their eyes for a target!
Like Bunker Hill, two years ago, when I watched all day from the house-top
Through Father's spy-glass.
The red city, and the blue, bright water,
And puffs of smoke which you made.
Twenty miles away,
Round by Cambridge, or over the Neck,
But the smoke was white -- white!
To-day the trumpet-flowers are red -- red --
And I cannot see you fighting,
But old Mr. Dimond has fled to Canada,
And Myra sings 'Yankee Doodle' at her milking.
The red throats of the trumpets bray and clang in the sunshine,
And the smoke-tree puffs dun blossoms into the blue air.


II


The City of Falling Leaves

Leaves fall,
Brown leaves,
Yellow leaves streaked with brown.
They fall,
Flutter,
Fall again.
The brown leaves,
And the streaked yellow leaves,
Loosen on their branches
And drift slowly downwards.
One,
One, two, three,
One, two, five.
All Venice is a falling of Autumn leaves --
Brown,
And yellow streaked with brown.

'That sonnet, Abate,
Beautiful,
I am quite exhausted by it.
Your phrases turn about my heart
And stifle me to swooning.
Open the window, I beg.
Lord! What a strumming of fiddles and mandolins!
'Tis really a shame to stop indoors.
Call my maid, or I will make you lace me yourself.
Fie, how hot it is, not a breath of air!
See how straight the leaves are falling.
Marianna, I will have the yellow satin caught up with silver fringe,
It peeps out delightfully from under a mantle.
Am I well painted to-day, 'caro Abate mio'?
You will be proud of me at the 'Ridotto', hey?
Proud of being 'Cavalier Servente' to such a lady?'
'Can you doubt it, 'Bellissima Contessa'?
A pinch more rouge on the right cheek,
And Venus herself shines less . . .'
'You bore me, Abate,
I vow I must change you!
A letter, Achmet?
Run and look out of the window, Abate.
I will read my letter in peace.'
The little black slave with the yellow satin turban
Gazes at his mistress with strained eyes.
His yellow turban and black skin
Are gorgeous -- barbaric.
The yellow satin dress with its silver flashings
Lies on a chair
Beside a black mantle and a black mask.
Yellow and black,
Gorgeous -- barbaric.
The lady reads her letter,
And the leaves drift slowly
Past the long windows.
'How silly you look, my dear Abate,
With that great brown leaf in your wig.
Pluck it off, I beg you,
Or I shall die of laughing.'

A yellow wall
Aflare in the sunlight,
Chequered with shadows,
Shadows of vine leaves,
Shadows of masks.
Masks coming, printing themselves for an instant,
Then passing on,
More masks always replacing them.
Masks with tricorns and rapiers sticking out behind
Pursuing masks with plumes and high heels,
The sunlight shining under their insteps.
One,
One, two,
One, two, three,
There is a thronging of shadows on the hot wall,
Filigreed at the top with moving leaves.
Yellow sunlight and black shadows,
Yellow and black,
Gorgeous -- barbaric.
Two masks stand together,
And the shadow of a leaf falls through them,
Marking the wall where they are not.
From hat-tip to shoulder-tip,
From elbow to sword-hilt,
The leaf falls.
The shadows mingle,
Blur together,
Slide along the wall and disappear.
Gold of mosaics and candles,
And night blackness lurking in the ceiling beams.
Saint Mark's glitters with flames and reflections.
A cloak brushes aside,
And the yellow of satin
Licks out over the coloured inlays of the pavement.
Under the gold crucifixes
There is a meeting of hands
Reaching from black mantles.
Sighing embraces, bold investigations,
Hide in confessionals,
Sheltered by the shuffling of feet.
Gorgeous -- barbaric
In its mail of jewels and gold,
Saint Mark's looks down at the swarm of black masks;
And outside in the palace gardens brown leaves fall,
Flutter,
Fall.
Brown,
And yellow streaked with brown.

Blue-black, the sky over Venice,
With a pricking of yellow stars.
There is no moon,
And the waves push darkly against the prow
Of the gondola,
Coming from Malamocco
And streaming toward Venice.
It is black under the gondola hood,
But the yellow of a satin dress
Glares out like the eye of a watching tiger.
Yellow compassed about with darkness,
Yellow and black,
Gorgeous -- barbaric.
The boatman sings,
It is Tasso that he sings;
The lovers seek each other beneath their mantles,
And the gondola drifts over the lagoon, aslant to the coming dawn.
But at Malamocco in front,
In Venice behind,
Fall the leaves,
Brown,
And yellow streaked with brown.
They fall,
Flutter,
Fall.
the crisp morning air
embraces my skin
greeting each pore
with a welcome
to wake up
Written before my morning bike ride to work.
Nickols Oct 2014
His blue eyes are like glacial-lakes, wrapping around his heart till he's chilled to the bone from the cold.
A deadly place where treading is no longer permitted.
His eyes are transparent and distant as the impersonal clouds passing overhead.

Even as I stands before him, reflecting off him.
I am still merely a reflection.

He knows my face, I reason silently.
From the hills of my cheeks, down towards the valley separating my lips.

He should recognize it all.

Instead a blank expression greets me.    
A look of cold, solid insouciance.
I'm immediately angry with myself for wanting to justify his indifference's.

A reflex I've never been able to expel.
The vestigial limb on a skeleton.
A party favor from another time forgotten for the newly discovered toy.

I twist in the fridged winds wrapping around him.
My force giving under the great pressure magnified by his powers.

I never wanted to dance upon his breeze.
This realization makes me burn hotter.
My anger brighter than the northern star.

I welcome it, my amounting rage.
I embraces it with a raging smile.

His glaciers may be cold, immovable at times.
A pretentious notion I might freeze.

For I am the sun swirling in nova's ring and cannot be affected by his black iced personality.
O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw
The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud,
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
Came furious down to be revenged on men,
Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now,
While time was, our first parents had been warned
The coming of their secret foe, and ’scaped,
Haply so ’scaped his mortal snare:  For now
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,
The tempter ere the accuser of mankind,
To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell:
Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth
Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
And like a devilish engine back recoils
Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The Hell within him; for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step, no more than from himself, can fly
By change of place:  Now conscience wakes despair,
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;
Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,
Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in Heaven against Heaven’s matchless King:
Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged; what burden then
O, had his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
Ambition!  Yet why not some other Power
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
But Heaven’s free love dealt equally to all?
Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
O, then, at last relent:  Is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
The Omnipotent.  Ay me! they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
With diadem and scepter high advanced,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery:  Such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore?  Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow,
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall:  so should I purchase dear
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging, peace;
All hope excluded thus, behold, in stead
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear;
Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven’s King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face
Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair;
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear.  Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge:
Yet not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
He marked and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
Access denied; and overhead upgrew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;                        

Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed:
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
That landskip:  And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair:  Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils.  As when to them who fail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse
Of Tobit’s son, and with a vengeance sent
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick entwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east
On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,
At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet.  As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o’er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o’er the tiles:
So clomb this first grand thief into God’s fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
Of immortality.  So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views,
To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room, Nature’s whole wealth, yea more,
A Heaven on Earth:  For blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Of where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar:  In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordained;
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill
Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden-mould high raised
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Watered the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy errour under pendant shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierced shade
Imbrowned the noontide bowers:  Thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,
Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind,
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste:
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose:
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o’er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall
Down the ***** hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned
Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams.
The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on the eternal Spring.  Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea’s eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
Mount Amara, though this by some supposed
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus’ head, enclosed with shining rock,
A whole day’s journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange
Two of far nobler shape, ***** and tall,
Godlike *****, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seemed lords of all:
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,)
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their *** not equal seemed;
For contemplation he and valour formed;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him:
His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed;
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of nature’s works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banished from man’s life his happiest life,
Simplicity and spotless innocence!
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair,
That ever since in love’s embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side
They sat them down; and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind,
Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they.  About them frisking played
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declined, was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.
O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
Sunny Johnson Sep 2011
On a great mountainside, a beautiful river ran, reaching all creatures across the great expanse. Glowing crystal and clear as the fresh alpine air, the water ran, as yet undiscovered and unmarred by civilization. It knew not of the impurities that other waters knew, free from the grasp of humanity and completely pure in it's design. Each spring as the snow melted, the river would charge through the forges and ravines, reshaping the ground in it's wake, changing the surface of the mountain in it's path. Stones would tumble and trees would crack under the raw power of it's force, as it gained in size and speed over the spring months. This spring however, it met upon a larger rock, seemingly a boulder. "Ha," thought the river, as it began growing rapidly, the melting snow empowering it as it crashed into the boulder, slightly changing course and returning to it's usual path. "I will be back soon." The river promised. As summer grew nearer and the sun seemed to burst from it's cloudy shield of winter, it began to show more steadily and with a greater heat than it had in springtime past. The blazing sun caused avalanches as it bore into the icy crust of the mountain top. The river suddenly felt something new, something changing, it was surely larger and more powerful than it had been in previous months, and as it charged down the mountain, it was sure of it's victory upon the great boulder. "Surely now this rock will not remain unmoved!" exclaimed the river as it flooded down the ravine, in search of the unchanging obstruction of mineral. The sun's rays had created an avalanche, dumping hundreds of tons of ice into the rushing river, melting the snow and creating a great roar as the river grew abruptly to 3 and 4 times it's previous size. As the river grew it felt a giant to all the objects on the mountain, proud and sure of it's eminent victory over the great boulder in it's way. As the water gained momentum and seeming to contain all of it's new fury in the roaring flood just for the great rock. A sleeping rock awoke suddenly to a roar and a crack as it heard many smaller boulders tumbling into the trees nearby, and the rumbling river rushing straight for him. "Aww, thought the old stone, yawning. "This will surely be interesting." As the rushing water advanced upon the rock, it had no idea what was to become of it's proud and boastful ways. Rushing water carrying all types and sizes of large rock and debris smashed into the great stone with all of it's might. The rock was unmoved. Little did the river know, this stone was rooted deep, a branch of mineral deposit coming from the very core of the mountain itself. The river had no chance. At the impact the water and debris scattered, and the river, suddenly defeated, splashed against the side of the rock and continued its usual path of the many years before. As it continued on, it felt something moving, carrying itself somewhere else, like someone or thing was pulling part of it away from itself, and it roared in agony, sending more boulders to crack into the trees nearby. Alive and kicking, and carrying it's own cry came a beautiful new stream caressing the side of a great stone in it's beginning, almost as if to thank it for it's place in giving birth to the new life. "You are welcome." Spoke the stone, supporting the stream in it's new path, as the water began to run fresh and new across the bare ground. The stream seemed to caress everything it came across, the roots of the plants and trees feeling thankful for a new source of water. Although the smallest seedlings would be lost in the stream, it was a good sacrifice to make for a source of that precious water so generously given to the side of the mountain with the large river. As the stream carried on, moving pine cones and pine needles aside, it brought new nourishment to all the life of the dry side of the mountain. As a small child just learning to walk, running to meet new people and see all the new things, experience the new life, the river ran. It glanced upon the tall oaks and the thinner pines and the smaller saplings. It rushed to meet the squirrel, carrying with it acorns fallen on the ground higher on the hill. It ran to bring uprooted fresh seedlings to the young deer. It brought with it fallen nuts and berries and left them near the bear's den. It brought freshly dropped dry twigs and branches to the wary ******, hunting for a new home. It brought with it pine needles and dropped them next to the trees with sparrows and blue birds hopping about for new materials to strengthen their nests. The stream ran free, bringing gifts to all it met with and inviting all to join it in it's path. The young of the forest gathered together, foxes and rabbits and badgers alike, to join the small stream in its journey down the mountain. Never carrying too much water as to uproot or change the surface of it's new found paradise, the stream was grateful to be a part of the dry side of the mountain, and that side of the mountain was never so dry. That side of the mountain never knew the fear of falling rocks or boulders. It never knew the fear of the flood of spring. It flourished with new life and greenery as it became privy to the little stream's side of the mountain to live happily without fear of flood or the dangers it brought. Each new day more bushes and saplings followed the little stream . The animals began to move from the great river's side of the mountain to the little stream's side. The river became lonely in it's wrathful wake, having only the rocks and logs it carried along as it's companion. Even the trees were scared to grow near it's threatening wrath. Loved by all and continually becoming the renown of the mountain, the little stream never knew such hardships. Such is why a little stream can be more changing than a great roaring river. To be feared by all or to be loved by all, is in the makings of every gaining current. The little stream never grew much larger than a dear's jump or a squirrel's leap. Except in the hearts of the lives around it. May we all be as little streams, not hungering to change the surface of our world, or to be feared. May we all live as the one who embraces all the forms we meet, being grateful for our own place among them. Then may we know what it is to live among many and loved by all. Then may we never know fear, or lose ourselves to a great boulder. May we change with the small movements of the ground beneath our feet, and carry with us gifts to all those we meet. May we be mightier in the heart than in the mind, leaving our hunger behind. May the little stream meet us too, and may we hear it's message clearly.
°••°••°••°
°•°◇°•°

There are no
Monsters here...

this, the
abandoned
soft, fertile soil,
that was
to feed the
Family Gardens.

No evil creatures, lurking behind
these timid
hurting hearts.

a painful place...
this invasive, pervasive,
clusterfuck
of Us .

Here lay
The raw,
The ragged
mashed up
mis-understandings.
An onslaught
of hurts,
that float and fester
in our cauldron
of tears.

'Canvas of Colors'
tells Our story...
Melding together
The frozen and
unthawed moments of
all the
Precious
Forever
Embraces

There are no Monsters here

We are the tender
beings that continue
to breathe ragged
after the forest fire,
tripping through
Crumbling Ashes
turned wet black.
Dank and slippery.

Yearning to find
strong footing
amongst these
ruins of our
own doing

No evil creatures, lurking behind
these timid
hurting hearts

There are no Monters here
Addiction uprootes and infects
The most loving of families
Nestor was sitting over his wine, but the cry of battle did not
escape him, and he said to the son of Aesculapius, “What, noble
Machaon, is the meaning of all this? The shouts of men fighting by our
ships grow stronger and stronger; stay here, therefore, and sit over
your wine, while fair Hecamede heats you a bath and washes the clotted
blood from off you. I will go at once to the look-out station and
see what it is all about.”
  As he spoke he took up the shield of his son Thrasymedes that was
lying in his tent, all gleaming with bronze, for Thrasymedes had taken
his father’s shield; he grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod spear, and
as soon as he was outside saw the disastrous rout of the Achaeans who,
now that their wall was overthrown, were flying pell-mell before the
Trojans. As when there is a heavy swell upon the sea, but the waves
are dumb—they keep their eyes on the watch for the quarter whence the
fierce winds may spring upon them, but they stay where they are and
set neither this way nor that, till some particular wind sweeps down
from heaven to determine them—even so did the old man ponder
whether to make for the crowd of Danaans, or go in search of
Agamemnon. In the end he deemed it best to go to the son of Atreus;
but meanwhile the hosts were fighting and killing one another, and the
hard bronze rattled on their bodies, as they ****** at one another
with their swords and spears.
  The wounded kings, the son of Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon son
of Atreus, fell in Nestor as they were coming up from their ships—for
theirs were drawn up some way from where the fighting was going on,
being on the shore itself inasmuch as they had been beached first,
while the wall had been built behind the hindermost. The stretch of
the shore, wide though it was, did not afford room for all the
ships, and the host was cramped for space, therefore they had placed
the ships in rows one behind the other, and had filled the whole
opening of the bay between the two points that formed it. The kings,
leaning on their spears, were coming out to survey the fight, being in
great anxiety, and when old Nestor met them they were filled with
dismay. Then King Agamemnon said to him, “Nestor son of Neleus, honour
to the Achaean name, why have you left the battle to come hither? I
fear that what dread Hector said will come true, when he vaunted among
the Trojans saying that he would not return to Ilius till he had fired
our ships and killed us; this is what he said, and now it is all
coming true. Alas! others of the Achaeans, like Achilles, are in anger
with me that they refuse to fight by the sterns of our ships.”
  Then Nestor knight of Gerene answered, “It is indeed as you say;
it is all coming true at this moment, and even Jove who thunders
from on high cannot prevent it. Fallen is the wall on which we
relied as an impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet. The
Trojans are fighting stubbornly and without ceasing at the ships; look
where you may you cannot see from what quarter the rout of the
Achaeans is coming; they are being killed in a confused mass and the
battle-cry ascends to heaven; let us think, if counsel can be of any
use, what we had better do; but I do not advise our going into
battle ourselves, for a man cannot fight when he is wounded.”
  And King Agamemnon answered, “Nestor, if the Trojans are indeed
fighting at the rear of our ships, and neither the wall nor the trench
has served us—over which the Danaans toiled so hard, and which they
deemed would be an impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet—I
see it must be the will of Jove that the Achaeans should perish
ingloriously here, far from Argos. I knew when Jove was willing to
defend us, and I know now that he is raising the Trojans to like
honour with the gods, while us, on the other hand, he bas bound hand
and foot. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let us bring down
the ships that are on the beach and draw them into the water; let us
make them fast to their mooring-stones a little way out, against the
fall of night—if even by night the Trojans will desist from fighting;
we may then draw down the rest of the fleet. There is nothing wrong in
flying ruin even by night. It is better for a man that he should fly
and be saved than be caught and killed.”
  Ulysses looked fiercely at him and said, “Son of Atreus, what are
you talking about? Wretch, you should have commanded some other and
baser army, and not been ruler over us to whom Jove has allotted a
life of hard fighting from youth to old age, till we every one of us
perish. Is it thus that you would quit the city of Troy, to win
which we have suffered so much hardship? Hold your peace, lest some
other of the Achaeans hear you say what no man who knows how to give
good counsel, no king over so great a host as that of the Argives
should ever have let fall from his lips. I despise your judgement
utterly for what you have been saying. Would you, then, have us draw
down our ships into the water while the battle is raging, and thus
play further into the hands of the conquering Trojans? It would be
ruin; the Achaeans will not go on fighting when they see the ships
being drawn into the water, but will cease attacking and keep
turning their eyes towards them; your counsel, therefore, Sir captain,
would be our destruction.”
  Agamemnon answered, “Ulysses, your rebuke has stung me to the heart.
I am not, however, ordering the Achaeans to draw their ships into
the sea whether they will or no. Some one, it may be, old or young,
can offer us better counsel which I shall rejoice to hear.”
  Then said Diomed, “Such an one is at hand; he is not far to seek, if
you will listen to me and not resent my speaking though I am younger
than any of you. I am by lineage son to a noble sire, Tydeus, who lies
buried at Thebes. For Portheus had three noble sons, two of whom,
Agrius and Melas, abode in Pleuron and rocky Calydon. The third was
the knight Oeneus, my father’s father, and he was the most valiant
of them all. Oeeneus remained in his own country, but my father (as
Jove and the other gods ordained it) migrated to Argos. He married
into the family of Adrastus, and his house was one of great abundance,
for he had large estates of rich corn-growing land, with much
orchard ground as well, and he had many sheep; moreover he excelled
all the Argives in the use of the spear. You must yourselves have
heard whether these things are true or no; therefore when I say well
despise not my words as though I were a coward or of ignoble birth.
I say, then, let us go to the fight as we needs must, wounded though
we be. When there, we may keep out of the battle and beyond the
range of the spears lest we get fresh wounds in addition to what we
have already, but we can spur on others, who have been indulging their
spleen and holding aloof from battle hitherto.”
  Thus did he speak; whereon they did even as he had said and set out,
King Agamemnon leading the way.
  Meanwhile Neptune had kept no blind look-out, and came up to them in
the semblance of an old man. He took Agamemnon’s right hand in his own
and said, “Son of Atreus, I take it Achilles is glad now that he
sees the Achaeans routed and slain, for he is utterly without remorse-
may he come to a bad end and heaven confound him. As for yourself, the
blessed gods are not yet so bitterly angry with you but that the
princes and counsellors of the Trojans shall again raise the dust upon
the plain, and you shall see them flying from the ships and tents
towards their city.”
  With this he raised a mighty cry of battle, and sped forward to
the plain. The voice that came from his deep chest was as that of nine
or ten thousand men when they are shouting in the thick of a fight,
and it put fresh courage into the hearts of the Achaeans to wage war
and do battle without ceasing.
  Juno of the golden throne looked down as she stood upon a peak of
Olympus and her heart was gladdened at the sight of him who was at
once her brother and her brother-in-law, hurrying hither and thither
amid the fighting. Then she turned her eyes to Jove as he sat on the
topmost crests of many-fountained Ida, and loathed him. She set
herself to think how she might hoodwink him, and in the end she deemed
that it would be best for her to go to Ida and array herself in rich
attire, in the hope that Jove might become enamoured of her, and
wish to embrace her. While he was thus engaged a sweet and careless
sleep might be made to steal over his eyes and senses.
  She went, therefore, to the room which her son Vulcan had made
her, and the doors of which he had cunningly fastened by means of a
secret key so that no other god could open them. Here she entered
and closed the doors behind her. She cleansed all the dirt from her
fair body with ambrosia, then she anointed herself with olive oil,
ambrosial, very soft, and scented specially for herself—if it were so
much as shaken in the bronze-floored house of Jove, the scent pervaded
the universe of heaven and earth. With this she anointed her
delicate skin, and then she plaited the fair ambrosial locks that
flowed in a stream of golden tresses from her immortal head. She put
on the wondrous robe which Minerva had worked for her with
consummate art, and had embroidered with manifold devices; she
fastened it about her ***** with golden clasps, and she girded herself
with a girdle that had a hundred tassels: then she fastened her
earrings, three brilliant pendants that glistened most beautifully,
through the pierced lobes of her ears, and threw a lovely new veil
over her head. She bound her sandals on to her feet, and when she
had arrayed herself perfectly to her satisfaction, she left her room
and called Venus to come aside and speak to her. “My dear child,” said
she, “will you do what I am going to ask of you, or will refuse me
because you are angry at my being on the Danaan side, while you are on
the Trojan?”
  Jove’s daughter Venus answered, “Juno, august queen of goddesses,
daughter of mighty Saturn, say what you want, and I will do it for
at once, if I can, and if it can be done at all.”
  Then Juno told her a lying tale and said, “I want you to endow me
with some of those fascinating charms, the spells of which bring all
things mortal and immortal to your feet. I am going to the world’s end
to visit Oceanus (from whom all we gods proceed) and mother Tethys:
they received me in their house, took care of me, and brought me up,
having taken me over from Rhaea when Jove imprisoned great Saturn in
the depths that are under earth and sea. I must go and see them that I
may make peace between them; they have been quarrelling, and are so
angry that they have not slept with one another this long while; if
I can bring them round and restore them to one another’s embraces,
they will be grateful to me and love me for ever afterwards.”
  Thereon laughter-loving Venus said, “I cannot and must not refuse
you, for you sleep in the arms of Jove who is our king.”
  As she spoke she loosed from her ***** the curiously embroidered
girdle into which all her charms had been wrought—love, desire, and
that sweet flattery which steals the judgement even of the most
prudent. She gave the girdle to Juno and said, “Take this girdle
wherein all my charms reside and lay it in your *****. If you will
wear it I promise you that your errand, be it what it may, will not be
bootless.”
  When she heard this Juno smiled, and still smiling she laid the
girdle in her *****.
  Venus now went back into the house of Jove, while Juno darted down
from the summits of Olympus. She passed over Pieria and fair
Emathia, and went on and on till she came to the snowy ranges of the
Thracian horsemen, over whose topmost crests she sped without ever
setting foot to ground. When she came to Athos she went on over the,
waves of the sea till she reached Lemnos, the city of noble Thoas.
There she met Sleep, own brother to Death, and caught him by the hand,
saying, “Sleep, you who lord it alike over mortals and immortals, if
you ever did me a service in times past, do one for me now, and I
shall be grateful to you ever after. Close Jove’s keen eyes for me
in slumber while I hold him clasped in my embrace, and I will give you
a beautiful golden seat, that can never fall to pieces; my
clubfooted son Vulcan shall make it for you, and he shall give it a
footstool for you to rest your fair feet upon when you are at table.”
  Then Sleep answered, “Juno, great queen of goddesses, daughter of
mighty Saturn, I would lull any other of the gods to sleep without
compunction, not even excepting the waters of Oceanus from whom all of
them proceed, but I dare not go near Jove, nor send him to sleep
unless he bids me. I have had one lesson already through doing what
you asked me, on the day when Jove’s mighty son Hercules set sail from
Ilius after having sacked the city of the Trojans. At your bidding I
suffused my sweet self over the mind of aegis-bearing Jove, and laid
him to rest; meanwhile you hatched a plot against Hercules, and set
the blasts of the angry winds beating upon the sea, till you took
him to the goodly city of Cos away from all his friends. Jove was
furious when he awoke, and began hurling the gods about all over the
house; he was looking more particularly for myself, and would have
flung me down through space into the sea where I should never have
been heard of any more, had not Night who cows both men and gods
protected me. I fled to her and Jove left off looking for me in
spite of his being so angry, for he did not dare do anything to
displease Night. And now you are again asking me to do something on
which I cannot venture.”
  And Juno said, “Sleep, why do you take such notions as those into
your head? Do you think Jove will be as anxious to help the Trojans,
as he was about his own son? Come, I will marry you to one of the
youngest of the Graces, and she shall be your own—Pasithea, whom
you have always wanted to marry.”
  Sleep was pleased when he heard this, and answered, “Then swear it
to me by the dread waters of the river Styx; lay one hand on the
bounteous earth, and the other on the sheen of the sea, so that all
the gods who dwell down below with Saturn may be our witnesses, and
see that you really do give me one of the youngest of the Graces-
Pasithea, whom I have always wanted to marry.”
  Juno did as he had said. She swore, and invoked all the gods of
the nether world, who are called Titans, to witness. When she had
completed her oath, the two enshrouded themselves in a thick mist
and sped lightly forward, leaving Lemnos and Imbrus behind them.
Presently they reached many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, and
Lectum where they left the sea to go on by land, and the tops of the
trees of the forest soughed under the going of their feet. Here
Sleep halted, and ere Jove caught sight of him he climbed a lofty
pine-tree—the tallest that reared its head towards heaven on all Ida.
He hid himself behind the branches and sat there in the semblance of
the sweet-singing bird that haunts the mountains and is called Chalcis
by the gods, but men call it Cymindis. Juno then went to Gargarus, the
topmost peak of Ida, and Jove, driver of the clouds, set eyes upon
her. As soon as he did so he became inflamed with the same
passionate desire for her that he had felt when they had first enjoyed
each other’s embraces, and slept with one another without their dear
parents knowing anything about it. He went up to her and said, “What
do you want that you have come hither from Olympus—and that too
with neither chariot nor horses to convey you?”
  Then Juno told him a lying tale and said, “I am going to the world’s
end, to visit Oceanus, from whom all we gods proceed, and mother
Tethys; they received me into their house, took care of me, and
brought me up. I must go and see them that I may make peace between
them: they have been quarrelling, and are so angry that they have
not slept with one another this long time. The horses that will take
me over land and sea are stationed on the lowermost spurs of
many-fountained Ida, and I have come here from Olympus on purpose to
consult you
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.

In a lone boat, rain cloak and hat of reeds.
An old man’s fishing the cold river snow.

I am alone in this mountain fastness, on a steep downward path in the deepest shadow. I play with the twelve characters of Lui Tsung-yaun’s poem. How few poems tell of the desolation of winter. The coming of Spring, the passing of Autumn? Yes. But the onset of Winter? Even my sharp memory only recalls a meagre handful of poems to this season: the time of the first snows. Against all good sense I set out from Stone Village too late in the year: now I search for comforting word images to accompany me on this journey. Just below the snowline I pass through a stunted forest of ancient walnut trees almost leafless; the unrelenting wind has dispatched them crinkled brown into the valley below. I see there a winding river. I see its distant lake. I think of this poem known since my teenage years, puzzled over that one could see in one sweep of the horizon a thousand peaks. Here are that thousand and more if the ranks of limestone pillars in these mountains can be counted as peaks. I count them as peaks. And those thousand paths? At every turn there is some fresh way falling into the valley, or a faint trail rising to the heights. But this path I tread asserts itself on the traveller. Its stones are worn and the excrement of passing pack animals sticks to my boots.

Last night a cave, tonight I will reach the village of Psnumako. My former guide provided its name with a disdain he could not hide. When questioned he warned me not to enter without a stout staff against the mastiffs that guard each house, supposedly ******* during the day but apt to break their bonds at the smell of a stranger.

The steep and ever steeper descent brings pain to my knees. At this hour of the day my body would prefer to climb to the heights, but descend I must. The cold, the damp cold begins to stiffen weary limbs. I am tired from a day’s travel, tired from three hard climbs, two descents and this, my third, to complete before nightfall. I enter a narrow gorge loud with clamour of running water, cascade upon cascade flowing from the heights, falling fast to the river soon to interrupt my path. I shall have to force a crossing. What passed for a bridge were two fallen pines lashed together.  Now they lie akimbo a little distant, thrown apart like sticks by the spring flood as the deep snows melt. I must divest myself of boots and lower garments and wade across, stumbling on stones up to my waist in swift waters, terrified under the weight of my pack that I will fall and be swept under and along. To travel alone at such moments is foolhardy, but on this cold afternoon I have no choice.

I am so intent on preparing for this crossing it is only when I reach the end of the path that I notice snow is falling, its flakes sharp and white against the dark-water flow. The whirl and turn of the water mesmerises. Fatigue, fatigue embraces me, a day’s fatigue holds me fast on the river’s stony side. I close my eyes and hear the water rush and place myself into the protection of a mountain charm learnt from a passing traveller. Dwarfed by the size of his burden I see him negotiate a narrow path high above a chasm; he walked trance-like to the intoning of this charm.

It is soon done, the cold crossing, and with a lighter step I walk the remaining leagues to the lake-side and sight of the village. There are the faintest sparks of light amongst the silhouettes of houses. Animals are being brought in from the home fields against the night. A sudden shout, the barking of dogs, and now the snow falls thick and fast.

The guttural dialect here is barely discernable as speech. We are from different worlds this shepherd and I who meet at the stupa guarding the village entrance. This is not a Buddhist shrine but an acknowledgement of some mountain giant of terrifying aspect. The shepherd sees my official insignia and nods, knowing I will require shelter. He utters what may be a welcome, but could be a warning, and leads me forth. The mastiffs leap and bay as I pass between the primitive two-storey houses, animals below, humankind above. He disappears. I stop and wait. He returns with a woman who beckons me to climb the ladder to what may be her home. A widow perhaps? She is alone unless the rank darkness hides a man or child. But there is none. I hear animals move and grunt under the floor, a mat of dirt and straw. There is a sleeping loft, a cooking corner. I can see little else. But I am out of the snow, the biting wind, the cold. She pulls at my cloak, wet and caked with ice. There is a bowl placed in my hands; a rough tea. I speak a greeting, but there is no reply just a rustle of straw as she moves across the room.

The stupor of a journey’s pause is upon me. After three days on the trail to the heights I am numb with fatigue. I need food and sleep. I need rest before a final trek into the wilderness. Beyond Psnumako Lake known paths end. Except for the tracks used by shepherds to move their flocks to different seasonal pastures, there is wilderness. I hope for guidance, for the whereabouts of the sages who, in the winter months I am told, leave their reed huts on the heights for caves in the lower valleys. I shall be patient, remain here a little while. I am now immune to the discomfort and dirt of travel. That is how it is. That is how is must be. I miss only the mental absorption of writing, the caress of the brush on a scroll. In my home in Louyang I keep brush and paper close to hand; wherever I may be I can write, even in, especially in, the privy. If a line comes to me I can write it down. Here there is only the comfort of memory.

To think that in the past I wrote of this mountain wilderness out of my imagination and the descriptions of others. I once thought of these remote places as havens of spiritual liberation.

In the hills there is the sound of zither.
White clouds stay over shaded peaks,
Red flowers shine in the sunlit woods
Rocks are washed in the stream like jade;

How very different is the reality of it all; in this emerging winter world of mist, where the sun rarely visits and most living things have departed, where wind colours silence and one’s footfall becomes consolation. The sound of stone rubbing stone on the path is the eternal present. There have been days when only a distant crow moves in the landscape. Lammergeyers are known in these parts, but I have yet to see one. If there are wild beasts, they shun me.

As this bowl of tea cools in my hands but warms my frozen fingers I form pictures of the past day on its dark surface. Before dawn from the mouth of a river cave I sensed changes in the qualities of darkness that have hidden the heights above me. Then a perceptible line appeared and divided the mountain from the sky. That line became variegated; there were trees bristling on the highest rocks. It appears that at this hour the prevalent mist settles in the valleys leaving the sky clear.

The woman comes to me. She kneels to untie my boots. She looks with a curious innocence at my strangeness, the distortion of my face, the cleft palette, the deformed upper lip, the squint of my left eye. She is kindly as I give her my best smile though my face seems frozen still. There is a whisper, a prayer of welcome possibly. Then she bows her head, unravels a long scarf to reveal a mane of oiled hair, and sets about removing my boots. I see only the top of her head, a severe parting, hair held tightly in wooden combs. I close my eyes to bring to mind the image of Xaoli, so slight in comparison, her butterfly hands flittering into and around my sleeves, her seeing touch mapping out the extent of me, each piece of clothing, only later my face.

My reverie is broken by the entrance of two men. They squat behind the woman and, after taking in my ugliness and my hairpins of office, patiently wait for her to finish and retire. We stand and bow, then sit again amongst the straw.

‘Honoured Lord, I am Yun. You have travelled from Stone Village? And beyond?’

I pass him the Emperor’s seal he cannot read, but remain silent.

‘You are seeking those who live in the heights? The village only sees their servants, young boys sent for a goat or flasks of barley spirit. They bring herbs our women favour. Some have seen their huts when seeking lost animals. Now it is said they are gathered in the caves like animals waiting for the spring moon.’

‘When was the village last visited by their kind?’

‘ Hanlu, my Lord, the time of cold dew, two boys appeared with a pony. There was trading. They brought Chrysanthemum flowers and herbs for two geese and wine. They left scrolls for passage to Stone Village. Now the snows fall we may not see them until the Spring’

‘How far are your summer pastures? Have you any who would guide me there ?’

‘We do not seek these places after the first snows. The sages haunt the region beyond Chang Mountain. Before the 11th moon you might pass into the valley of Lidong where it is believed their caves lie, but to return before the Spring will not be possible.’

‘How many days there?’

‘Allow four. A difficult way, unmarked, rarely trodden, much climbing. There is one here who we could send with you – part of the way, and at a price, My Lord. Dahan travelled two seasons since as groom to a party of six with ponies, but then in late Spring.’

‘I will stay three days.’

‘Just so My Lord. Xiu Li will see to your wishes.’

And they depart, Yun’s companion has remained silent throughout, though searched my face continually. By the door he places his hand against the stout bag that carries my lute. ‘Guqin’, he says tenderly.

This instrument is my pass to the community of the reclusive. I am renown for my songs and their singing. My third-best guqin has not left its bag since Stone Village and I fear damage despite all my care on the path.

Later, as the village mastiffs gradually cease their baying as the quarter moon rises I take this instrument and place it across my lap. Its seven silk strings I wipe with a cloth and gently tune with its tasselled pegs. I then prepare myself through meditation to avoid the intrusion of distracting thoughts. With my eyes closed I allow my hands to seek out and name each part of guqin: from the Forehead of the Top Board, to the String Eyes, the Dew Collector, The Mountain, Shoulder and Phoenix Wings, past the Waist, the Hat Lines and the Dragon’s Beard, to the Dragon’s Gums and thence to the Inner Top Board. I can feel the Pillar of Heaven – the sound post – has moved a little in my recent travels. So too the Pillar of Earth – but with care I move both to their rightful positions. And so on naming the inner and outer parts of each of the two boards that make up the guqin. I begin to regulate my breathing and allow the fingers of my left hand to stroke and touch, to press and oscillate in the manner of vibrato. Zhoa Wenji describes twenty-three kinds of vibrato. I feel in turn each of the hui, the thirteen gold studs that mark the harmonic nodes and allow me to play the guqin by touch alone. In these moments of preparation I hear the words of my teacher: a good player makes sounds that are plentiful but not confused. As the moon reflecting on water, so the sounds are together but not combined. Like wind in the pines, they are combined but also spread out. Such sounds are valued for their lightness. Avoid the addition of inappropriate  "guest" sounds. This is the refined theory of the guqin. To be knowledgeable about music, one must seek this, then one can realize its beauty.

I have tuned to the Huangzhong mode. The song *Amidst Mountains Thinking of an Old Friend
I have brought to mind. I recall the words of The Slender Hermit who says of this piece that its interest lies in holding cherished thoughts, but having no way to tell these to anyone. There are emotions about the present time, longings and laments for the past, but there is no way to express any of this. And so this piece.

In this poor reed hut the room is filled with mist and haze,
how far away are the things I love;
the old plum tree seems exhausted, its flowers about to die,
the mountains are lonely and I am nostalgic for past times.
The moon shines brightly on this lovely evening,
from this distance I think of my old friend and wonder where he is.
The green of the mountains never fades,
but before I know it my hair will turn white;
the moon is waning and flowers wither,
Old friend, I dream constantly of meeting you.
How hard it is to recall the joy of our last meeting!
With the many mountain ranges,
and its hidden tigers and coiled dragons,
I am unable return to you in Chang An.
The road is distant, the tall trees make the road dark,
and the world is vast.

I mourn Aquila and Lyra
separated by the Milky Way like the cowherd and weaving girl,
on the ground we are separated by 1,000 li
in the sky we are each in a separate place,
though our passions remain strong
There has been no warm correspondence,
there is restraint to the bright harmony,
and the flowing streams are swallowed by the setting sun.


The thought of this song of mid autumn touches me before its words have issued from my lips. I play the last two lines in harmonics and sing.
Zuo Si was the brother of the courtesan and poet Zuo Fen. This short story is based on a chapter from my novel Summoning the Recluse. The opening poem appears in a translation by David Hinton from his collection Mountain Home.
But when their flight had taken them past the trench and the set
stakes, and many had fallen by the hands of the Danaans, the Trojans
made a halt on reaching their chariots, routed and pale with fear.
Jove now woke on the crests of Ida, where he was lying with
golden-throned Juno by his side, and starting to his feet he saw the
Trojans and Achaeans, the one thrown into confusion, and the others
driving them pell-mell before them with King Neptune in their midst.
He saw Hector lying on the ground with his comrades gathered round
him, gasping for breath, wandering in mind and vomiting blood, for
it was not the feeblest of the Achaeans who struck him.
  The sire of gods and men had pity on him, and looked fiercely on
Juno. “I see, Juno,” said he, “you mischief—making trickster, that
your cunning has stayed Hector from fighting and has caused the rout
of his host. I am in half a mind to thrash you, in which case you will
be the first to reap the fruits of your scurvy knavery. Do you not
remember how once upon a time I had you hanged? I fastened two
anvils on to your feet, and bound your hands in a chain of gold
which none might break, and you hung in mid-air among the clouds.
All the gods in Olympus were in a fury, but they could not reach you
to set you free; when I caught any one of them I gripped him and
hurled him from the heavenly threshold till he came fainting down to
earth; yet even this did not relieve my mind from the incessant
anxiety which I felt about noble Hercules whom you and Boreas had
spitefully conveyed beyond the seas to Cos, after suborning the
tempests; but I rescued him, and notwithstanding all his mighty
labours I brought him back again to Argos. I would remind you of
this that you may learn to leave off being so deceitful, and
discover how much you are likely to gain by the embraces out of
which you have come here to trick me.”
  Juno trembled as he spoke, and said, “May heaven above and earth
below be my witnesses, with the waters of the river Styx—and this
is the most solemn oath that a blessed god can take—nay, I swear also
by your own almighty head and by our bridal bed—things over which I
could never possibly perjure myself—that Neptune is not punishing
Hector and the Trojans and helping the Achaeans through any doing of
mine; it is all of his own mere motion because he was sorry to see the
Achaeans hard pressed at their ships: if I were advising him, I should
tell him to do as you bid him.”
  The sire of gods and men smiled and answered, “If you, Juno, were
always to support me when we sit in council of the gods, Neptune, like
it or no, would soon come round to your and my way of thinking. If,
then, you are speaking the truth and mean what you say, go among the
rank and file of the gods, and tell Iris and Apollo lord of the bow,
that I want them—Iris, that she may go to the Achaean host and tell
Neptune to leave off fighting and go home, and Apollo, that he may
send Hector again into battle and give him fresh strength; he will
thus forget his present sufferings, and drive the Achaeans back in
confusion till they fall among the ships of Achilles son of Peleus.
Achilles will then send his comrade Patroclus into battle, and
Hector will **** him in front of Ilius after he has slain many
warriors, and among them my own noble son Sarpedon. Achilles will ****
Hector to avenge Patroclus, and from that time I will bring it about
that the Achaeans shall persistently drive the Trojans back till
they fulfil the counsels of Minerva and take Ilius. But I will not
stay my anger, nor permit any god to help the Danaans till I have
accomplished the desire of the son of Peleus, according to the promise
I made by bowing my head on the day when Thetis touched my knees and
besought me to give him honour.”
  Juno heeded his words and went from the heights of Ida to great
Olympus. Swift as the thought of one whose fancy carries him over vast
continents, and he says to himself, “Now I will be here, or there,”
and he would have all manner of things—even so swiftly did Juno
wing her way till she came to high Olympus and went in among the
gods who were gathered in the house of Jove. When they saw her they
all of them came up to her, and held out their cups to her by way of
greeting. She let the others be, but took the cup offered her by
lovely Themis, who was first to come running up to her. “Juno,” said
she, “why are you here? And you seem troubled—has your husband the
son of Saturn been frightening you?”
  And Juno answered, “Themis, do not ask me about it. You know what
a proud and cruel disposition my husband has. Lead the gods to
table, where you and all the immortals can hear the wicked designs
which he has avowed. Many a one, mortal and immortal, will be
angered by them, however peaceably he may be feasting now.”
  On this Juno sat down, and the gods were troubled throughout the
house of Jove. Laughter sat on her lips but her brow was furrowed with
care, and she spoke up in a rage. “Fools that we are,” she cried,
“to be thus madly angry with Jove; we keep on wanting to go up to
him and stay him by force or by persuasion, but he sits aloof and
cares for nobody, for he knows that he is much stronger than any other
of the immortals. Make the best, therefore, of whatever ills he may
choose to send each one of you; Mars, I take it, has had a taste of
them already, for his son Ascalaphus has fallen in battle—the man
whom of all others he loved most dearly and whose father he owns
himself to be.”
  When he heard this Mars smote his two sturdy thighs with the flat of
his hands, and said in anger, “Do not blame me, you gods that dwell in
heaven, if I go to the ships of the Achaeans and avenge the death of
my son, even though it end in my being struck by Jove’s lightning
and lying in blood and dust among the corpses.”
  As he spoke he gave orders to yoke his horses Panic and Rout,
while he put on his armour. On this, Jove would have been roused to
still more fierce and implacable enmity against the other immortals,
had not Minerva, ararmed for the safety of the gods, sprung from her
seat and hurried outside. She tore the helmet from his head and the
shield from his shoulders, and she took the bronze spear from his
strong hand and set it on one side; then she said to Mars, “Madman,
you are undone; you have ears that hear not, or you have lost all
judgement and understanding; have you not heard what Juno has said
on coming straight from the presence of Olympian Jove? Do you wish
to go through all kinds of suffering before you are brought back
sick and sorry to Olympus, after having caused infinite mischief to
all us others? Jove would instantly leave the Trojans and Achaeans
to themselves; he would come to Olympus to punish us, and would grip
us up one after another, guilty or not guilty. Therefore lay aside
your anger for the death of your son; better men than he have either
been killed already or will fall hereafter, and one cannot protect
every one’s whole family.”
  With these words she took Mars back to his seat. Meanwhile Juno
called Apollo outside, with Iris the messenger of the gods. “Jove,”
she said to them, “desires you to go to him at once on Mt. Ida; when
you have seen him you are to do as he may then bid you.”
  Thereon Juno left them and resumed her seat inside, while Iris and
Apollo made all haste on their way. When they reached
many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, they found Jove seated
on topmost Gargarus with a fragrant cloud encircling his head as
with a diadem. They stood before his presence, and he was pleased with
them for having been so quick in obeying the orders his wife had given
them.
  He spoke to Iris first. “Go,” said he, “fleet Iris, tell King
Neptune what I now bid you—and tell him true. Bid him leave off
fighting, and either join the company of the gods, or go down into the
sea. If he takes no heed and disobeys me, let him consider well
whether he is strong enough to hold his own against me if I attack
him. I am older and much stronger than he is; yet he is not afraid
to set himself up as on a level with myself, of whom all the other
gods stand in awe.”
  Iris, fleet as the wind, obeyed him, and as the cold hail or
snowflakes that fly from out the clouds before the blast of Boreas,
even so did she wing her way till she came close up to the great
shaker of the earth. Then she said, “I have come, O dark-haired king
that holds the world in his embrace, to bring you a message from Jove.
He bids you leave off fighting, and either join the company of the
gods or go down into the sea; if, however, you take no heed and
disobey him, he says he will come down here and fight you. He would
have you keep out of his reach, for he is older and much stronger than
you are, and yet you are not afraid to set yourself up as on a level
with himself, of whom all the other gods stand in awe.”
  Neptune was very angry and said, “Great heavens! strong as Jove
may be, he has said more than he can do if he has threatened
violence against me, who am of like honour with himself. We were three
brothers whom Rhea bore to Saturn—Jove, myself, and Hades who rules
the world below. Heaven and earth were divided into three parts, and
each of us was to have an equal share. When we cast lots, it fell to
me to have my dwelling in the sea for evermore; Hades took the
darkness of the realms under the earth, while air and sky and clouds
were the portion that fell to Jove; but earth and great Olympus are
the common property of all. Therefore I will not walk as Jove would
have me. For all his strength, let him keep to his own third share and
be contented without threatening to lay hands upon me as though I were
nobody. Let him keep his bragging talk for his own sons and daughters,
who must perforce obey him.
  Iris fleet as the wind then answered, “Am I really, Neptune, to take
this daring and unyielding message to Jove, or will you reconsider
your answer? Sensible people are open to argument, and you know that
the Erinyes always range themselves on the side of the older person.”
  Neptune answered, “Goddess Iris, your words have been spoken in
season. It is well when a messenger shows so much discretion.
Nevertheless it cuts me to the very heart that any one should rebuke
so angrily another who is his own peer, and of like empire with
himself. Now, however, I will give way in spite of my displeasure;
furthermore let me tell you, and I mean what I say—if contrary to the
desire of myself, Minerva driver of the spoil, Juno, Mercury, and King
Vulcan, Jove spares steep Ilius, and will not let the Achaeans have
the great triumph of sacking it, let him understand that he will incur
our implacable resentment.”
  Neptune now left the field to go down under the sea, and sorely
did the Achaeans miss him. Then Jove said to Apollo, “Go, dear
Phoebus, to Hector, for Neptune who holds the earth in his embrace has
now gone down under the sea to avoid the severity of my displeasure.
Had he not done so those gods who are below with Saturn would have
come to hear of the fight between us. It is better for both of us that
he should have curbed his anger and kept out of my reach, for I should
have had much trouble with him. Take, then, your tasselled aegis,
and shake it furiously, so as to set the Achaean heroes in a panic;
take, moreover, brave Hector, O Far-Darter, into your own care, and
rouse him to deeds of daring, till the Achaeans are sent flying back
to their ships and to the Hellespont. From that point I will think
it well over, how the Achaeans may have a respite from their
troubles.”
  Apollo obeyed his father’s saying, and left the crests of Ida,
flying like a falcon, bane of doves and swiftest of all birds. He
found Hector no longer lying upon the ground, but sitting up, for he
had just come to himself again. He knew those who were about him,
and the sweat and hard breathing had left him from the moment when the
will of aegis-bearing Jove had revived him. Apollo stood beside him
and said, “Hector, son of Priam, why are you so faint, and why are you
here away from the others? Has any mishap befallen you?”
  Hector in a weak voice answered, “And which, kind sir, of the gods
are you, who now ask me thus? Do you not know that Ajax struck me on
the chest with a stone as I was killing his comrades at the ships of
the Achaeans, and compelled me to leave off fighting? I made sure that
this very day I should breathe my last and go down into the house of
Hades.”
  Then King Apollo said to him, “Take heart; the son of Saturn has
sent you a mighty helper from Ida to stand by you and defend you, even
me, Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword, who have been guardian
hitherto not only of yourself but of your city. Now, therefore,
order your horsemen to drive their chariots to the ships in great
multitudes. I will go before your horses to smooth the way for them,
and will turn the Achaeans in flight.”
  As he spoke he infused great strength into the shepherd of his
people. And as a horse, stabled and full-fed, breaks loose and gallops
gloriously over the plain to the place where he is wont to take his
bath in the river—he tosses his head, and his mane streams over his
shoulders as in all the pride of his strength he flies full speed to
the pastures where the mares are feeding—even so Hector, when he
heard what the god said, urged his horsemen on, and sped forward as
fast as his limbs could take him. As country peasants set their hounds
on to a homed stag or wild goat—he has taken shelter under rock or
thicket, and they cannot find him, but, lo, a bearded lion whom
their shouts have roused stands in their path, and they are in no
further humour for the chase—even so the Achaeans were still charging
on in a body, using their swords and spears pointed at both ends,
but when they saw Hector going about among his men they were afraid,
and their hearts fell down into their feet.
  Then spoke Thoas son of Andraemon, leader of the Aetolians, a man
who could throw a good throw, and who was staunch also in close fight,
while few could surpass him in debate when opinions were divided. He
then with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: “What, in
heaven’s name, do I now see? Is it not Hector come to life again?
Every one made sure he had been killed by Ajax son of Telamon, but
it seems that one of the gods has again rescued him. He has killed
many of us Danaans already, and I take it will yet do so, for the hand
of Jove must be with him or he would never dare show himself so
masterful in the forefront of the battle. Now, therefore, let us all
do as I say; let us order the main body of our forces to fall back
upon the ships, but let those of us who profess to be the flower of
the army stand firm, and see whether we cannot hold Hector back at the
point of our spears as soon as he comes near us; I conceive that he
will then think better of it before he tries to charge into the
press of the Danaans.”
  Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. Those who
were about Ajax and King Idomeneus, the followers moreover of
Teucer, Meriones, and Meges peer of Mars called all their best men
about them and sustained the fight against Hector and the Trojans, but
the main body fell back upon the ships of the Achaeans.
  The Trojans pressed forward in a dense body, with Hector striding on
at their head. Before him went Phoebus Apollo shrouded in cloud
about his shoulders. He bore aloft the terrible aegis with its
shaggy fringe, which Vulcan the smith had given Jove to strike
terror into the hearts of men. With this in his hand he led on the
Trojans.
  The Argives held together and stood their ground. The cry of
battle rose high from either side, and the arrows flew from the
bowstrings. Many a spear sped from strong hands and fastened in the
bodies of many a valiant warrior, while others fell to earth midway,
before they could taste of man’s fair flesh and glut themselves with
blood. So long as Phoebus Apollo held his aegis quietly and without
shaking it, the weapons on either side took effect and the people
fell, but when he shook it straight in the face of the Danaans and
raised
skatem Sep 2014
Hug
My arms wrapped around you, yours around me.
We stand together in our now natural hug.
Although my height is sometimes a challenge
You feel warm; your back is straight and toned.

How does our hug feel from your side?
Does my back feel firm or yielding?
What is the sensation under your fingers?
Of the fabric next to my skin, my undergarments?

Our hug is just one
Of a striking variety we receive in a lifetime
From friends, lovers, family, near-strangers
An act seemingly simple but in truth, complex

The first hug you remember from childhood: your Mum
Warm and safe, and maybe a little squeezed
But her blouse is soft, and her arms reach around you nearly twice.
You are so small, and she is so big.

Your teen-age years, acquaintances: single arm hug
Air kisses, a quick pat, a gentle rub
It’s social hugging to keep up appearances
Feeling awkward, you’d rather shake hands

Your first true love – long, grasping, gasping embraces
That leave invisible marks on your clothing and skin underneath
A desire for another, the promise of more
Maybe in future, the touch of your fingertips on clothing-free skin.

Again a hug from your Mum, 40 years after her first
The alignment is different; somehow she has shrunk
Still warm and safe, yet with a different body tone
A kiss on her cheek is soft to your lips – a hug to last the ages.

— The End —