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Alyssa Underwood Jul 2017
There are times when the Lord will take from us every familiar thing and send all the others away to have us to Himself, uprooting and dismantling our earthly anchors until we find no safe place of attachment but to Him alone. And though we search feverishly to secure another, He will faithfully cut off our efforts at every pass and every attempted by-pass, almost as though we could see them being escorted out the door, marching one after the other in file and possibly taking our sanity with them. “No, not another one! Where are they all going and why am I not invited?” But it is His alone to give or not to give, to give and take away.

The One Who took up the cross and took the cup of the Father’s wrath for us has the absolute right to take anything and everything from us at any time for whatever reasons might please Him. But know this for certain: concerning His redeemed, those reasons will always involve two things—glory and intimacy. They are the overriding answers to every lingering question of “Why?”.

But if we fail to understand His glorious and intimate intentions we may misconstrue our losses to be a sign that He is actually withdrawing His affection from us. The very things which He is doing for love’s sake to perfect our pathway to intimacy might be taken instead for obstacles blocking it, causing us to doubt His love. We could not be more wrong, but sometimes it's so hard to see through the veil of pain.

For it's a strange and bewildering thing to feel that you belong to no place and no person in this world, to have nowhere to call home and no one to share it with if you did. A severe untethering indeed that though meant to prepare us for flying can seem to us more like drowning. The sobering truth is that none of us belong to this life or the things of this earth; all sense of it is only an illusion, and pain and loss are simply the dispelling of the myth—the rude awakening from a bewitching dream we once had. But oh how we fight the disillusionment.

Maybe we remember a time when we had prayed to be refined, to be made more like Jesus, but we didn’t know it would have to hurt so bad and take so long and look so dark and feel so lonely. Even if we have understood and embraced His call to deeper intimacy we may after a while, when nothing seems improved either around us or in us, start to resent our belonging to such a determined and jealous Lover, though He is doing exactly what we had once asked Him to. We may start to think we can no longer bear anything except that which superficially distracts us from our grief. We may even start to give up hope, for if not anchored exclusively “behind the curtain” and if repeatedly crushed it threatens to **** our hearts for good should we have to face one more disappointment.

We may feel very much like we are flailing around in a deep and darkening ocean, repeatedly pulled under by the powerful tow and thrashing waves of overwhelming emotion and continuously knocked back by the brutal winds of confusion. Yet we can still see the unshakable boat of faith and truth standing solidly only a small distance away. We know it is real and that if we could just reach it we would be safe. We hear someone shouting through the din, “Just hold onto the boat! The boat will save you. Look beyond your feelings and walk by faith. Hold onto truth!” But can’t they see that as hard as we may try we have no strength to swim to the boat? Can’t they see that we are sinking?

And so we are left with nothing but to cry out to Jesus, to cry out to Him to bring the boat to us, to come Himself and rescue us. Do we have that much faith? Enough to just say, “Jesus, help me! I’m drowning!”? Enough to see that He is our only hope and nothing else matters apart from Him?

Because when we do, we will understand that this hope in Him alone is the very lifeline by which He will pull us to safety—back to faith, back to truth, back into His intimate arms of love, back into a peace which passes all understanding and into a joy that gives us strength for the journey.

As difficult as it can be in our grief to hear the Lord whispering truth to our hearts above the constant clanging of our feelings, we must now more than ever choose to take the time to be still and seek our soul’s rest in Him and in His promises. But how amidst such clamor and confusion?

Simply decide to cast your cares on Him, if only for the moment, by climbing into His Shepherd’s lap to look and loiter and listen. And if you have no energy to climb up, then just lift your arms and ask Him to pick you up. And if you haven’t the strength even for that, only raise your eyes toward Him and you will soon find your sanity restored as you behold His love for you. Ask Him earnestly to let you see it afresh, for perhaps you have been temporarily blinded from recognizing it.

Stop everything; cease just for this minute from all worry, anxiety, fear and anger. Forget the past and do not look toward the future. Focus only on this moment right now, as if you knew it would be your last, as if it were the very one to lead you into eternity. Inhale like fresh air the powerful promises of God’s Word. Soak in their grace and drink in their healing, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus’ face. Can you see Him longing for you? Exhale every distraction, conflict and uncertainty of this world. Then listen... What is He saying to you right now? Wait for it, then let your soul rest in it, and let go of everything else. Rest in the grace of this present moment and in His strong, sure arms. Let Him take care of you, wounded one, for you are His beloved, and He longs to tend your broken and needy heart.
~~~

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
    my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
    He is my fortress, I will not be shaken."
~ Psalm 62:5-6

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD;
    I cried to my God for help.
From His temple He heard my voice;
    my cry came before Him, into His ears...
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
    He rescued me because He delighted in me."
~ Psalm 18:2-6,16-19

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf..."
~ Hebrews 6:19-20a
Alyssa Underwood Aug 2017
Lord Jesus, Plower of my heart,
though the darkness descends around me
and heavy moods fall over me,
though the warm feelings of intimacy begin to fade
and encroaching melancholy threatens to set in
like a cold reversal of the winds,
still I will rejoice in Your presence with me,
for You are causing me to press beyond—
beyond the delightful sense of You
and into the delightful assurance of You.

If I know nothing else, I know that You are here,
You are faithful and You love me.
So I will keep clinging to that
when everything else seems to slip
like dust through my fingers
and all hope of good things
in this life grows dim.

I will cling to the promise
that You are clinging to me,
that You’ve got me no matter what,
that You are never leaving or letting go.
For You are the unchanging I AM
in my ever-changing circumstances,
through my ever-shifting emotions,
over my ever-shaking life
and around my ever-feeble heart.

Here is my hand, Lord Jesus.
I put it safely in Yours and trust You
to lead me through this dark night.
Work Your holy, harrowing fingers
deep into the soil of my heart
until every idol is uprooted,
every stone removed
and every broken place restored.
Thank You, Jesus.
I love You.
~~~

"But He knows the way that I take;
when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold."
~ Job 23:10

"You hem me in behind and before,
    and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
    Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to You."
~ Psalm 139:5-12

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him,
    and He will make your paths straight."
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

"...because God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.'"
~ Hebrews 13:5b

~~~

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2CpU39tM0c
Nik Jul 2016
Sometimes, I am in love with myself.
I force them to witness my love for my melanin
because they would love for me to hate my melanin.
I know that I am seen, but I want to be heard, 
The first amendment allows me to speak, but they refused to hear a word-
that comes from my mouth.
My lips stereotyped as too black.
My diction too proper to act like this,
yet my slang is too ghetto to act like that...
Sometimes, I wonder what it's like to be white.
I hate being stared at when I speak in Spanish.
I never know if it's in disgust or in comfort, 
because the sound of the double "r" rolling off of my tongue
sounds like the ricochet of the bullets they fire from their guns.
Since they no longer can enslave us like animals, they slaughter us
because, "if I can't have you no one can."
I refuse to be put down.
I refuse to shutdown.
My brown skin threatens,
and you all should be afraid.
Because I will banish your negativity with my Latin American flow,
speaking in Spanish with the Bachata tempo filling my veins.
My Ebonics is iconic, 
and I refuse to be put in a box when the world is a sphere.

I... am more... than this.
I am 17 years old and I am afraid for my life.
Frank Ruland Oct 2014
Stress:
when
your best friend
threatens
to OD
on ****
I don't know what the hell to do right now.
Lukas Oct 2014
Four years have past
Yet your memory seems to last
I shed my tears across the page
My heart threatens to break it's cage
This year you'll be twenty-one
Drinking alone isn't going to be fun
The track ran smooth, but your hear was frail
You worked yourself over the rail
One lap, two lap, three lap, four
I count the miles wanting more
You loved the track, you loved the sun
I imagine you with me when I run
Your auburn hair, your glowing eyes
Your smiles brightening darkened skies
I smile for you, you smile for me
It fills my heart with shortened glee
Goodbye dear Sara, we'll miss you so
I love you dear, remember you're no longer a child of woe
For Sara who's 21st birthday has past recently. You never failed to make us SMiLe. 1993-2010
Asphyxiophilia Jul 2013
It's 3 am and you're restless again. Your thoughts wander briskly through the fields of memories of him and you find yourself picking each one and holding it delicately in your palm. The lights from the streetlamps outside your window peek through the blinds and illuminate synthetic stars onto your ceiling which you count like each kiss he ever placed on your cheek. Your legs are wrapped up in your sheets like the way they used to tangle around his ankles every evening. You roll onto your side and attempt to close your eyes once more, calling out to a peaceful slumber that has been evading you for weeks when suddenly, you hear a whistle in the distance. You open your eyes again to see the stars growing into spotlights that threaten to swallow you like black holes, but without the mystery. You immediately grab your wrists out of fear that you unconsciously took a blade to them but you are greeted by scars that have been forming for approximately three years (and eleven months). Your heart threatens to pound its fist through your chest as you slowly turn to see what the source of the light is. Just as your shoulders align with your mattress, a man steps from what appears to be a train engine and greets you with a nod of his head.
"Good evening, sleeping beauty," he begins sweetly, "I have come to extend an invitation to the night train."
You bring your hands to your eyes and attempt to wipe the hallucination away from your vision but when you open them again, you see the man gazing intently.
"It is my understanding that this is your first meeting with the night train," he states as he waits for you to supply an answer.
You nod your head.
"Well, my dear, the night train is here to offer a sweet elixir to cure this sleepless evening. You see, the night train's purpose is to supply the recipient ("that's you," he says behind his hand) exactly twenty minutes of time spent anywhere of their choosing. And then, once the time is up, the recipient must board the train once more, and will be met with approximately eight hours of uninterrupted slumber." He pauses as an assurance that you are following along, so you nod your head slightly. "However, the catch, you see, is that if the recipient does not board the train at the end of the twenty minutes, they will find themselves trapped in a restless oblivion with the promise of never again finding the comfort of sleep." A slight smile tugs at his lips as he tilts his head out of sympathy. "This may not seem to be much of a threat considering you are currently wrapped up tightly in your bed, but I assure you it will be tempting to remain within the place of your choosing, despite the whistle of the night train."
Unsure of what else to do, you nod your head once more.
"Alas, now we must be on our way, because the countdown begins in exactly three minutes! So I urge you to think quickly of where you would like to be taken!"
As though the train has suddenly run into your chest, the meaning of the opportunity that has been placed in front of you knocks the wind out of you. Before the conductor even finished his sentence, you knew exactly where you wanted to go, so you swing your legs to the side of the bed and push yourself upright.
"I would like to be taken to July 13th at precisely 2:32 in the morning," you say quickly as you flatten your restless hair to your head and straighten the t-shirt you are wearing.
"Very well, very well. Now board the train, my dear. And we'll be off to the morning of July 13th, but I urge you not to forget your time limit of twenty minutes!" He places his hand on your back and ushers you into the train, guiding you to a red velvet seat lined with golden stitching. Once you are comfortable, he disappears into the cabin and blows the whistle before pulling out of the station that is your bedroom.
With no warning at all, you feel a tightening in the pit of your stomach and before you even have time to clench, you are sitting on a rooftop overlooking a vibrant city.
"I just don't know anymore. It's like- It's like everything I once knew has been flipped upside-down and I'm just expected to be okay with it. But I'm not."
You blink a few times in an effort to adjust to the sudden deja-vu that causes your head to swim in the memory of an evening you have constantly waded in.
He is sitting with one leg tucked beneath him and the other dangling over the edge, as though even his limbs can't decide whether they want to take the fatal plunge or not. His hair was always absent of color, the kind of black that made you question the material of the universe because even the night sky couldn't compare to the degree of darkness; but it seemed to be doing just that as it laid haphazardly across his pale forehead. His bony fingers are clutching a nearly empty bottle of gin which he brings to his lips between sentences. He continues speaking as though you didn't just appear out of thin air beside him.
"My mum doesn't even pretend to understand anymore. I've heard her mention boarding school at least three times this week, despite my constant refusal to even speak of it. She knows the walls in the apartment are paper thin, so I know she brings it up because she knows I can hear it. But I don't want to hear it."
You notice the vacant look in his eyes as he stares into the horizon, like a hotel room that has been emptied of every belonging, including the light bulbs. He uses his free hand to adjust the collar of his leather jacket before taking another swig of the gin.
"I just can't stay there anymore, and she knows that. Deep down, she knows I can't stay there now that he's gone. I just can't."
His voice is as hollow as his chest as he uses his tongue to wet his lips before turning his head slightly to look at you.
"I wish you could come with me, I really do. It would be quite the adventure, the kind that we used to dream of having. But I can only afford one ticket out of town."
He places the bottle on the ledge, dangerously close to the edge, before resting his sweaty palm on your exposed thigh. His eyes travel from your legs to your forehead, and he leans forward to place a kiss on it, but he misses and falls into your lips. Just like before, your hands land on either side of his face, catching him before he falls completely, and you suddenly find yourself exploring the warm cavern of his vulnerability. His tongue swirls around your own and you taste the bite of the alcohol on his breath but this is the moment you have always craved so you soak up every bit of it. He pulls away just as your heart starts to tremble, and he wipes his mouth with his sleeve before picking the bottle up again and stealing a drink.
"I wish you could come with me," he says again, his eyes now focused on the street below. "But I fear I can only afford one ticket out of town."
Just then, you hear a whistle, but the timing isn't right. This is the moment you would have died to change, and now you've been given a second opportunity, but you can feel it slipping away.
You lean towards him, softly placing your hand on his arm.
"Come with me. We can go anywhere in the world that you please, and I promise it'll be better than here or there if we're together. Because I can't go where you're going, because I can't pay that price, but I want to go away with you, I do."
You search his empty expression, hoping to grab some string of familiarity that you can use to pull him back to reality, but his eyes are locked on the parallel lines beneath.
The whistle grows louder, this time stinging your eardrums, and you know that your time is running short, but you can't let him go.
"You don't have to go back to your apartment, you don't have to go back to your mum. We can runaway tonight, together. You and me, just the way it was always meant to be."
Your voice is shaking and desperate, getting louder with each word that you speak as the whistle blows from behind you, threatening to leave.
Just then, a hand falls upon your shoulder, and for a second you allow yourself to glance over, and it is in that second that the body before you tips over the rooftop's edge. Your heart falls like a weight in your stomach, just like on the evening this event first occurred, anchoring you to the cement and preventing you from going after him. The conductor who now stands behind you grabs your torso and pulls you backwards as you scream his name into the night sky. You kick against his hold as he drags you back onto the train and into the velvet seat again.
This time, you were unable to hear his body land on the pavement.
This time, you weren't able to look down and see his hands lying ten feet away from the rest of his body.
This time, you didn't get to perch on the edge and contemplate for hours joining him.
This time, you couldn't blame yourself for being speechless, for letting him be the star of his shining moment, because you attempted to be his Juliet.
You didn't realize you were still screaming until the conductor grabbed your shoulders with his hands and shook you quickly.
"Quiet my dear, I fear it is time to go. And I was unwilling to allow you to remain any longer, but I fear you will only be receiving six hours of peaceful slumber."
You look at him sternly, unsure how he can continue to speak of this ****** night train and its guidelines after you just watched the love of your life commit suicide for the second time.
You take a deep breath before speaking, "I don't understand the point of this, why bring me here if I couldn't change anything? Why allow me to relive this if it didn't make a difference?"
He smiles sympathetically before beginning, "oh but it did. You see, for three and a half years you have been tossing and turning, wondering what you would have done differently and if you would have been able to change it. But you see, the past isn't something that can be changed. It can only be relived again and again within the minds of those who continue to contain it, and the pain of the past and the memories that come along with it will feel just as real as the day they happened if you continue to dwell on them. Eventually you will see that tonight made a significant difference, because you were finally able to recreate the scenario that you always dreamed."
Your mind is running at a faster speed than the train as it makes its way back to your bedroom, and you can't seem to comprehend what the conductor is saying.
"So you're telling me that the whole reason behind this was to show me that he was going to die whether or not I tried to convince him otherwise?"
He places a gentle hand on your shaking shoulder and replies, "the reason behind this was to allow you to finally put the past behind you and grant yourself the pleasure of peaceful slumber. Because you see, my dear, there is no such thing as the night train. It is merely a figment of your imagination. Deep inside you, you realize that nothing you said could have changed that night, but you needed to dream another possibility in order to believe it. Now believe it."
"But I-" you begin to speak but in the blink of an eye, you're suddenly sitting on the side of your bed, your shoulders no longer shaking. You blink again, trying to make sense of everything. You bring your hands to your face and feel your cheeks, reassuring yourself that you still exist. You look around once more, noticing the stars upon your ceiling twinkling as though they are winking at you like the conductor of a mysterious night train. But you realize that you are in your bedroom, in your t-shirt, as though you never moved beyond that point. And you find that you're unsure whether it was all a dream, or whether you really did go for a ride on a night train, but you decide to lie back down and attempt to sleep anyways.
And six hours later, you find yourself awaking from a very peaceful slumber.
Cné Mar 2017
i am your pet, cherished, you bet
from the very first moment, we met

you are my master, tried and true
my job in life is to always, please you

i wander aimlessly alone
when you're gone, so long, on your own

forgive me, if i chew your shoe
i was nervous and i missed you

if i snack some food from the trash
it smelled so good, how could i pass

bark, bark, bark, i cry out alarm
the mailman has come here to harm

when you get home, i'm so happy
wagging my tail with my whole body

when we go for a walk together
if a cat threatens, away i chase her

don't be upset with me, please sir
i promise to protect you from all danger

i greet other dogs, on our way
smelling their butts to just say, hey

i lift my leg marking my place
to find my way back, just in case

i'm not too crazy about the rain
but i'll keep you company and not complain

laying belly up is a sign
scratch me, rub me and i'll be fine

if I lick my area, because i can
please don't be jealous of me, man

sleeping here, my chin on your foot
obediently, my faith in you, i put

though my purpose, i may reach in a flash
compared to your life, my longevity won't last

my loyalty to you, will never sever
unconditionally, i love you, forever
Another artist's statement for a series
of pet portraits I've painted
Noel Billiter Sep 2018
Mr. handsome stranger
He’s coming after
Desperate like a last request
Frantic delusional lunatic
Unhinged fragile losing what’s left
Self serving sadomasochistic
Easy on the eyes but doesn’t quite fit in
Playing it cool in social situations
His intelligent banter he claims as his own
With somewhat smart comebacks he practiced at home

Trying so hard that the sweat beads down
Onto his stressed wrinkled furrowed brow
the stories he skillfully misdirected  
Carefully darting  unwanted questions
Mr. Indiscreet can’t blow his cover
Disarm the girl of his unrealistic dreams
How quite average and normal he can be

Mr. Stalker walks over to the Girl
works up the courage and talks to her
Strikes up a witty conversation
With his movie star smile and education
Using the words that he pre rehearsed
Says all the right things and compliments her
Looking past his rather peculiar behavior
And when politely asked gives up her number

He rings her up the very next day
With a romantic scenic picnic date
Under the shade of a lush green tree
Upon a blanket with wine and cheese
Playing the part of the handsome boyfriend
Gains her full trust and faith in him

Joking in a effort to make her laugh
To put her at ease and follow his plan
Jealous of her ex boyfriends
Knowing their names and full address
And when he drops her off at home
Tracks and follows her every move
Knows all her weekly kept routines
Threatens and blackmails all her friends
Studies everyday mundane errands
Unaware of his decent into madness
Awesome Annie Feb 2015
The ground threatens to swallow me, it trembles and it shakes. You can't run from shadows, or amend all your life mistakes.

I've always thought the floor was glass, knew one day that it would shatter. Head held high all my life, even though I never matter.

It's a struggle just to stand, always on uneven ground. Life was better for a moment, back when he was around.

Now is when it falls apart, my lungs forget to breathe. But I've been though loss before, and learned sorrow will ever leave.

I refuse to admit defeat, but this world falls apart. Earthquakes ruin all I've made, and leave this black hole I call a heart.
This remembrance somehow still makest me guilty;
in every minute of it I feelest tangled, I feelest unfree.
I loathest this less genial side of captivity,
but still, 'tis ironically within my heart, and my torpid soul;
ah, I am afraid that it shall somehow becomest foul,
and I wantest very much, to endear my soul to liberty,
but so long as I hath consciously loved thee,
My confidence remaineth always too bold-
But I promisest that this shall becomest my last sonata,
Should thou ever findest, that thou desirest it to be;
whilst my incomplete song shall be our last cantata.
Ah, this series shall but never end,
Should I approachest and befriendest it,
but to confess, more I thinkest of it, the more my heart is pained;
No coldness shall it feelest, nor any beat of which, shall remaineth.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
My heart, ah-my poor heart, is still restricted, and left within thee,
And amongst this dear spring's shuffling leaves, still blooms,
And shall bloomest forever with benevolence,
and even greater benevolence, as spring fliest and leavest
Just like thy sweet temper, and ever ostentatious laughter,
Thy voice and words, that are no longer here for me,
But still as clear, and authentic like a piece of gospel music, to me.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
My pleasurable toils, and consummation still liest in thee-
as forever seemest that I shall trust thee, and thee only,
For the brief moment we had was but grand-and pleasant,
All the way more enigmatic, though frail, and exuberant
than I couldst perhaps rememberest,
But as I rememberest them, I shall also rememberest thee,
For those short nights are always fond and stellar to my memory,
As thou pronounced me lovely-and called myself thy lady,
As thou lingered about and placed thy sheepish fingers on my knee.
Ah, thee, whose heart is so kind and ever gently considerate,
From the moment thou stared at me I knew thou wert my unbinding fate.
And thy scent-o, thy manly scent, too calming but at times, poisonous;
Was more than any treasures I'd once withheld in my hand.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
My enormity liest in thee, and so doth every pore
of my irrevocable, consolable sense;
Thou awakened my pride, thou livened up my tense,
Thou disturbed my mind, thou stole my conscience.
And with thy touch I was burning with bashfulness,
meanwhile my mind couldst stop not
ringing within me, unspeakable thoughts.
Ah, thee, thou made me shriek, thou slapped me awake;
And thou steered me away from any cruel dreams, and lies
these variegated worlds ought to make.
But still I hatest myself now, for leaving all of which unspoken,
Though plenty of time I had, whilst walking with thee, by the red ferns;
And every now and then, their branches ******* terrific sounds-
But not loud; benign and soft as heartfelt murmurs in our hearts.
And those dead leaves were just dead,
Over and under the gusty tears they had shed,
And their surfaces had been closed,
But as we stormed busily with laughter, along their dead roots,
All came back to life, and polished liveliness, and guiltless temperance.
Ah, thy image is still in my mind-for it is my ill mind's antidote,
With all the haste and loveliness and ardour as thou but ever hath,
Thou art loved, by me and my soul, more than I love myself and the earth,
Thou art more handsome even, than the juicy unearthed hearth yonder.
Ah thee, my very own lover and drowsy merriment at times,
Thou who keepest fading and growing-
and fading and growing over my head,
Thy image hauntest my sleep and drivest all of me crazy,
For justice is not justice, and death is not
death, as long as I am not with thee,
And I shall accept not-death as it is,
for I shall die never without thee,
For I am in thy love, as thine in mine,
And dreams shall no longer matterest,
when thy joys are mine-and fiercely mine,
I am blinded by urgent insecurity,
That occurest and tauntest and shadowest me
like a panoramic little ghost,
Massively shall it address me,
Painstakingly and, in the name of justice, ingloriously,
And shall them address my past and destroy me,
For I hath carelessly let thee fade from my life,
And enslavest and burdenest my very own history,
For in which now there is no longer thy name,
ike how mine not in thine.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
Still thou art gentle as summer daffodils,
Thy image slanderest me, and its fangs couldst ****.
Thou owneth that sharpness that threatens me,
Corruptest and stiflest me, without any single stress,
And charming but evil like thy thirsty flesh.
Ah, still, I wishest to be good, and be not a temptress,
though all my love stories be bad, and
endest me and shuttest up in a dire mess.
I feelest empty, and for evermore t'is emptiness
shall proudly tormentest and torturest me,
Stenching me out like I am a little devil,
Who knowest but nothing of love nor goodwill,
I needst thee to make everything better, and shinier,
In my future life, as later-in my advanced years,
As death is getting near, for more and greater
shall my soul hath accordingly stayed here.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
Thou art my summer butterfly and beetle,
I shall cloakest thee with sweet honey and sun,
And engulfest thee safely and warmly
under the angry sickly moon.
I am thankful for thee still, for thou hath changed me,
For thou made me see, and opened my flawed eyes
Thou enabled me to witness the real world;
But everything is still, at times, beyond my fancy,
For they keepest moving and stayest never still,
Sometimes I am, like I used to be, astonished
at the gust of things, and the way they grossly turned
Their malice made my heart wrenched, and my stomach churned
What I seest oftentimes weariest my *****, and disruptest my glee
And still I shall convincest myself, that I but needst thee with me,
Thee to for evermore be my all-day guide and candlelight,
Thee who art so understanding, and everything lovable, to my sight.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
If thou wert a needle then I'd be thy thread,
If thy rain wert dry then I'd makest it wet.
But needst not thou worry about my rain;
For 'tis all enduring and canst bear
even the greatest, most cynical pain.
Ah, and thus I'd be thy umbrella,
Thou, whose abode in my heart
is more superfluous, and graceful-
than my random, fictitious nirvana;
Oh, thee, thou art my lost grace,
And everyone who is not thee-
I keepest calling them by thy name,
How crazy-ah, I am, just like now I am, about thee!
Ah, thou art my air, my sigh, and my comfortable relief,
And in my poetry thou art worth all my sonnets, my charm,
and forever inadequate, affection!
And only in thy eyes I find my dear, effectual temptations,
As under the hungered moonlight by the infuriated sea,
Who standeth strenuously by the peering strand of couples,
Thou evokest within me dangerous eves, and morns of madness,
Thou makest me find my irked melody, and vexed sonnet,
Thou made, even briefly-my latent days gracious,
Thou made me feelest glad and undistant and precious.
Thou art a saint, thou art a saint, though thy being a human
intervenest thee and prohibitest thee from being so;
ah, and whoever thinkest so is worthy of my regrets,
and the worst tactfulness of my weary wrath;
For thou art far precious, more than any trace
of silverness, or even true goldness,
Thou art my holiest source of joy,
and most healing pond of tears;
Thou art my wealth, ****** trust,
and my only sober redemption;
thou art my conscience, pride, and lost self;
Thou art indeed, my eternally irredeemable satisfaction.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
I adorest thee only-my prince, my hero, my pristine knight;
Ah, thee, thou art perfect to my belief and my sight,
Thou who art deserving of all my breath and my poetry;
Thou who understandest what kindness is, and desires are,
Thou who made me seest farther but not too far.
Thou who art an angel to me-a fair, fair angel,
Thou who art beguiling as tasteful tides
among the sea-my courteous summer sea,
Thou who art even more human than
our fellow living souls themselves;
Sometimes I think thou art courage itself-
as thou art even braver than it, the latter, is!
Thou art the sole ripe fruit of my soul,
And my poetic imagination, and due thought;
Thou art the naked notes of my sonata,
And the naughty lyrics of my sonnet,
Thou art everything to nothingness,
As how nothingness deemest thee everything;
Thou makest them shy, and dutifully-
and outstandingly, changest their minds;
Thou art a handsome one to everything,
Just as how everything respectest, and adore thee.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
By whose presence I was delighted, as well my breath-dignified,
Ah, my love, now helpest me define what love itself is;
For I assumest it is more than fits of hysteria, and sweet kisses
Look, now, and dream that if death is not really death
Than what is it aside from unseen rays of breath?
For love is, I thinkest, more handsome than it doth lookest,
For in love flowest blood, and sacrifice, and fate that hearts adorest
But desiccated and mocked as it is, by its very own lovers
That its sweetness hath now turned dark, and far bitter;
Full of hesitations engulfed in the best ways they could muster;
O, my love, like the round-leafed dandellions outside,
I shall glancest and swimest and delvest into thy soul;
I shall bearest and detainest and imprisonest thee in my mind,
But verily shall I care for thee,
ah, and thus I shall become thy everything!
Let me, once more, become obstinate-but delirious in thy arms;
let me my very prince-oh, my very, very own prince!
Doth thou knowest not that I am misguided,
and awfully derogated, without thee!
Ah, thee! My very, very own thee!
Comest back to me, o my sweet,
And let me be painted in thy charms,
o thee, whom I hath so tearfully,
and blushingly missed, ever since!

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully honoured,
To thee whom I then endorsed, and magnified,
I loveth thee adorably, and am fond of thee admirably,
so frequent not outside when all is dark and yon sky is red,
For I hatest justification, and its possibly hidden wrath;
I hatest judging what is to happen when our hearts hath met,
but how canst I ever knowest-when thou choosest to remaineth mute?
Then tearest my heart, and keepest my mouth shut
O thee, should this discomfort ever happenest again;
Please instead slayest me, slaughterest me, and consumest me-
And lastly let me wander around the earth as a ghost.
Let me be all ghastly, deadly, and but penniless;
Let me be breathless, poor, imbecile, and lost-
For in utter death there is only poverty,
And poverty ever after-as no delicacy nor taste,
But I shall still dreamest as though my deadness is not death,
for I am alone; for I am all cursed, without thee.

To thee whom I once loved, and now still do,
To thee whom my soul once gratefully cherished,
To thee whom I endorsed, and magnified,
My heart, ah-my poor heart, is still left within thee,
Just how weepest shall the leafless autumn tree,
Waiting for its lost offspring to return,
and be liberated from its pious mourns;
And as I hearest their shaky, infantile chorus,
I shall but picturest thee again, thus;
Thy cordial left palm entwined in my hand,
Strolling with me about the leafy garden.
A joyed maiden having found her dream man,
a loving man swamped deeply with his love, for his loyal maiden.
Alyssa Underwood Jul 2016
“The love for equals is a human thing--of friend for friend,
brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely.
The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a
beautiful thing--the love for those who suffer, for
those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely.
This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.
The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing--to love
those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy
with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich,
of the black man for the white man. The world is
always bewildered by its saints. And then there is
the love for the enemy--love for the one who does not
love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain.
The tortured's love for the torturer.
This is God's love. It conquers the world.”

~ Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
Tuesday Pixie Sep 2014
Crushed, crushed, crushing
The struggle to expand
- and my throat is closing again
Heat, hot, dry
Floats over ribs
Seemingly detached
Yet hugging me tight
Claustrophobic
- And this sickness
(I'm sick of this sickness)
Threatens to rise out
Threatens, bubbles, teases
But I'm all shut up now
Not a whisper to escape
Tired.
Brain fogs
Fingers doze
All is fuzzed over
All is removed
All is discomfort
Jenna Johnston Nov 2011
He says he’ll do it
He threatens again
He isn’t playing
It’s annoying
I STILL see them
Hear their stupid nonsense
They aren’t gone yet
He threatens again
Then talks over us
Some remain quiet
Actually listen
But I still hear them
He threatens again
And he threatens the wrong people
This is an original by Jenna Johnston. If you like it, by all means write it down, but give credit where credit is due, please
LJ Chaplin Aug 2013
The keyboard on my laptop has witnessed too many tear drops
Fall upon it's ebony skin as I type,
Each articulation of painful thoughts
And agonisingly catastrophic formation of words
Forcing another wave of grief to pour from these
empty blue eyes of mine.

I have tried to keep my head above the water,
To contain the wildfire in my head
That threatens to spread and burn under my veins,
Aflame in every single bone in this hollow body
But now it seems comforting to let myself slip
Beneath the surface,
To let the fire turn everything to ashes.

It feels better this way,
To be a chaotic mess.
**At least I know how beautiful I'll be when I open up my heart and mind to the possibility of destruction.
Jade Sep 2018
I. The Mermaid

I am six years old,
and I am obsessed with Ariel
from The Little Mermaid--
she is, by far,
my favourite Disney Princess.

I want to be exactly like her--
hair billowing in red swirls
around a heart-shaped face
and eyes so blue they put the very
ocean to shame
(my sister has blue eyes too, you know,
and, to this day, I still envy her,
for her eyes are the loveliest
characteristic of her Beauty--
and believe me, there are many);
purple clam shells vibrant
against porcelain-doll skin
and fully blossomed *******
(in three years from now,
I will begin
to grow *****--
elementary-school style,
over-ripe.
B Cups going on C cups
fated to become D Cups,
plum-sized
in comparison to the
budding mosquito bites of
my fellow classmates.
Barely a child,
womanhood threatens
to sexualize my girlish body
before I truly know
what sexualization is);
fins cutting through the water
gracefully in all their
green, iridescent glory
(little did I know that,
as I grew older,
"cutting" would adopt
a far more sinister meaning
in the context of my life).

But,
despite my admiration for Ariel,
I fail to understand her desire
to abandon her
under-sea rendezvous,
sunken treasures,
oceanic melodies to
"be where the people are."

This lack of approval I foster
exists due to the fact that I am
a firm believer of the magic
the aquatic realm (and Disney)
has to offer.

To this day,
I continue to maintain my stance--
that Ariel had been terribly wrong
in the choices she made--
but I have become cognizant of
different (and better) reasons
to argue my position;
after all,
and as a cartoon crab
had so wisely declared once,
"The human world--
it's a mess."
Don't be a stranger--check out my blog!

jadefbartlett.wixsite.com/tickledpurple
Maria Monaghan Jul 2018
The sun sets on Ireland,
patchwork fields illuminated by the august light of
abiding memory.

Misty hues spilling
over the mountains,
glimpsed through a mist of tears
fighting not to be shed.

The last sunset
of a brief glimpse of manic happiness
and friendship
and love.

The fields flash by,
each one transforming into a rose-coloured memory,
and a tsunami of melancholy threatens to
knock me down.

Heavy sighs and
knowing looks and
held-back tears and
one last caress of your sun-kissed skin.

The sun sets on Ireland
And opens into a bright new tomorrow.
Emanuel Martinez Dec 2010
I am blind
And I ain't blind
To the different social classes
And their faces
I try and try to be impartial
But my fears and preconceptions
Give way to prejudice of thought

Love and unity fill my mind
Yet when its time
To effect some change
My feet quiver
And words can't formulate

I want to tell my brethren
you are special to me
and I love you just the same
As anybody else
But I'm scared of what he will respond
Will he reject me as we are not the same
Will he embrace me and bring forth a seed of change

I am blind
And I ain't blind
To the disdain classes afford one another
Man threatens to discard the fact we're all the same

So I wonder
Can we look beyond facades
Strip it all down to our core

Don't we all want to feel the same
Maybe we can toughen up and take down the ranks
That impede us from becoming one-another's friend
2010
Harriet Cleve Jan 2019

A Skeleton gunslinger, takes on the Unholy of Hell and wages war against his nemesis Hatchet, as a portal to Hell threatens to unleash the putrid, rancid, Unholy hordes onto a desolate planet. "


The bringer of Death arrived in Dakota. Custer's Seventh lay dying on the Powder river. The Ancients had sent him to walk the Earth and help the Ghost-walkers to hold their land. In his mortal days, he carried a torch for Serela, an outcast from the Mind seekers.That's what got him killed in the first place. The saloon was full that night, and he was called out.
He pulled his gun first and knew he would die. His death was foretold in the ancient scriptures of truth. 'The bone that liveth shall slay the flesh and the flesh will become liveth bone'.
Justice will walk the plains and avenge the truth'.
Serela had looked on as a bullet pierced the gunslinger's skull.The spirit of the ancients swept through her soul then, as she watch his head explode, filtering its entrance into the new receptacle of justice.

No one saw the killer shadow draw or witnessed it's departure but John Bitumen's body lay dead, the blood flowing from a hole in his forehead. Even as he died, he was reborn.
The Skull of Death in search of a gunfight, Deathbringer, Cleanser of Evil.


Hatchet looked at his mangy horse, a wasted beast worn out and at the end of it's road.Two years it carried his weight and the saddle dug deep.Whippings were constant and the calloused cruel fists of Hatchet rained down on it's neck if it slowed any.The nearest town was a mile down the road and it was late in the day.
That was all it took to set the anger in motion.Hatchet took five paces away from his horse and hurled his razor sharp hatchet with violence. The horse's head was split in two.
He hauled his saddle, and wrestled his ****** weapon from the dead horse, then walked into the dusk. All the time, Serela had observed from the Spirit's eye, an artefact of the Ancients, entrusted to the Mind Seekers. Hatchet would pay for his offence against Nature's pure beast, for it was written' All Creatures will walk the Earth and all will be held Holy.Swift will be Divine retribution against those who slay the pure beast'.
Hatchet wasn't one to read the ancient scriptures and could not know that the Skull of Death would search him out in the next town.The Ancients had called forth their Gunslinger and a skeletal hand rested on the sacred Gun of Abe. Hatchet would be called out and a Gunfight would settle scores. A chill in the air unnerved him and he took comfort in carresing his ivory handled pistols.


Darkness fell on the land and the half moon shone on the dead horse.The night crawlers made to cut it's remains and scavenge it's carcass. Two hands were raised to the sky, pleading for forgiveness. Horsemeat was forbidden and a desecration of sacred laws.
A knife was produced and held to the beast's throat. In that moment, all became aware of the onlooker.A tall figure in a drab grey longcoat, black spurred boots, an old black stetson. The Sacred Gun of Abe was in his hands. The Skull of Death, the Ancients Gunslinger, walked the Plains once more.
All seven night crawlers stared in disbelief. Their last minutes of life ebbing from them as the eyes of the Ancients warrior scanned their souls and cremated their bodies.Seven figures suddenly engulfed in flames under the incessant stare of the Skull's empty sockets. Amongst the embers, the Gunslinger knelt beside the horse. In his mortal days, this beast was his closest companion.Hatchet had stolen his possession and the sight of it's remains stirred an anguished scream for the horrific end which befell his steed.

Gently the Gun of Abe was placed on the horse's neck. A small bottle of holy oil was rubbed in it's wounds.' Though death may stalk the pure, truly I say to you that righteousness will prevail and the dead will rise'. Even as the words were uttered, a ball of blue flame enveloped the horse. The light illuminated the darkness and from the light the skeleton of a horse emerged, raising itself up on its hind legs, in defiance of death. Approaching the Gunslinger, it nuzzled it's head to his skull, the brilliance of it's chalk white bones radiating a supernatural hue. Mounting his steed, he galloped into the night.Vengeance was coming.Death on a horse was looking for Hatchet!


Raihna woke suddenly and locked eyes withHatchet. She had been ordered to sleep with him, against her wishes. 'Something wrong with me, *****? Hatchet snarled when he'd paid his ten dollars to the House Madam.
'You better be worth it *****! He had roughed her up before falling into a drunken slumber. Now he was standing in his ragged long johns, at the end of the four poster bed.
A manic look was in his beady eyes, as he swigged his liquor jar. Unkempt rank hair covered his weasel like features. Reeking of horse and trail sweat, an ugly belly adorning his uglier frame, he leered for the longest time.Raihna took it all in, especially the hatchet in his right hand. 'Think you're mighty purdy, don't ya! he sneered. ' Let's see what you look like with a hair cut'!
Raihna noticed then that he had pinned her pigtails to the wooden headboard. Realising a scream would be the end of her, she stared back and waited. Hatchet hurled his weapon and it sliced into the headboard, shorning her hair.From the table, he grabbed his bowie knife and aimed for the other pigtail, slicing it off and nicking her neck. 'Well lookee now' he laughed as a trace of blood ran down her neck. 'Ain't you gonna scream, *****?


An eerie blue glow filtered into the room just then and the whinny and snortin' of a horse filled the air. 'What in Hell's name? muttered Hatchet. Looking out of the curtains, he saw the chalk white Skeleton of a horse and a skeleton rider brandishing a pistol. A fiery blue-red low glow radiated from their eyes and it seemed both rider and steed were on fire. Hatchet shouted out ' You one of them Resurrectionists?!' suddenly remembering the old shaman he had killed back in Piebald.
Hatchet had stolen his runes and kept them for trading with the Mindseekers. He thought now that maybe this was him come looking for him from the afterworld. Hot ***** trickled down his leg and he felt scared and sick to his stomach.

The gallows await !' It was almost a whisper as the ancients gunslinger raised his head towards the window. Hatchet grabbed Raihna and tried to shield himself from the spectre below. His mind raced as he hesitated, panic flooding his brain. 'Take them! We be even! he gambled as he threw the runes at the gunslinger. Even as he did so, they were grabbed instantaneously by a skeletal hand and placed around the gunslinger's neck. For these were the runes of time and in the coming trials would decide the balance of power between the Unholy and the Just.


Hatchet had thrown away his trump card and even as he loaded his gun, he was destined to die. 'Pearls before swine' whispered into the room and Hatchet descended the stairs, with Raihna in front. His pistol was cocked and he would shoot it out. If Hell was waiting, he wasn't going on his own. His hatchet lay in his side belt and he made his way onto the street.
The hallway was pitch black and Hatchet cautiously approached the parlour door hoping to get out the back street. He held a vice-like grip on Raihna's arm as he pushed her along. 'You keep your mouth shut ***** and open that door easy' he whispered, his voice betraying his inner terror. Suddenly and unexpectedly, he felt the cold muzzle of a revolver pressed hard to the back of his head. 'You take your claws offa my girl, Hatchet 'less you wants your **** brains spilled where you stand!
Hatchet knew Charlotte, the House madam, wasn't bluffing. He'd seen her do it too, back in Abilene, when China Jack beat up one of her girls. She'd shot him straight through his throat and followed up with a clean shot to his manhood. It hurt Hatchet even now just thinking about it'. Jesus! he thought as he cursed his situation. Things were moving too fast and nothing was going his way.
Hatchet loosened his grip, carefully holstering his gun.As she moved away, Raihna spat on his face and kneed him in the groin. ****! he bellowed and went to strike Raihna. His hearing saved her, as Charlotte cocked the gun and stopped him where he stood. 'Think I'd sleep easy with you on the premises, Hatchet? Take me for a fool? I don't know what the Hell is out on that street but it wants you!' By Christ, you're going out the front door to face it too!. 'Always were a cowardly *******, now move you lousy **** head!
Raihna had gotten hold of a shotgun and had it trained on Hatchet. 'Drop that hatchet right now, she said. ' You're facing that creature with your gun and nothing else! God knows you don't deserve even that much. Hatchet dropped his hatchet. 'Now kick it over here!' He did so and as Raihna picked it up, she hurled it back immediately into his right thigh, gashing him like a pig for the slaughter. Hatchet screamed in agony and Charlotte pulled it out of his thigh as the room sprayed with the red bloom of imminent death. Now move you *******!


Charlotte and Raihna ushered him towards the front door and kicked him into the dark dusty side street. 'You got it coming, Hatchet!, they shouted and there waiting for him was the Ancients Gunslinger. He had dismounted from his steed and now faced Hatchet.The look of death was in the Skull's eerie sockets and it was all Hatchet could do to stop his hands shaking. He threw up and finally faced the spectre before him.

'For those who have suffered, shall be avenged. The Righteous Light will shine on the Unholy and all dark souls shall be driven from the Plains. Fear will walk amongst them and even the shadows shall despise their ways.'
Thus it had been written and now was coming to pass.


Hatchet went for his gun, and time slowed down as his eyes scanned the scene. A chalk, pure white, skeletal hand reached for a gun and the fluid movement captured his attention. Hatchet knew he had been outdrawn and could see the gunslinger's bullet leave the smoking barrell, pristine, crafted by a master gunsmith. He noticed the leather holster, worn and faded, almost an antiquity, strapped to a dark trousered leg.
The long coat, ghastly grey, adorning the bones of the undead. Empty eyes stared him down, as he heard his own gun's sharp report and watched his bullet sail towards the spectre. Just before the gunslingers bullet blew his brains out, he finally noticed the spectre of the horse and instinctively knew this was the brutalised beast he had so callously slain. Blood and bone exploded violently and the mortal remains of Hatchet dropped to the ground.
Hatchet didn't know it then but he too was about to be reborn; for the Unholy were about to unleash the Scourge of Hossana and the Ancients Gunslinger stood in their way. Hatchet would be forged in the cauldron of Hell and in the coming trials would once again face the Sacred Gun of Abe.


Hatchet became conscious, and felt as ill as a cow in a slaughter house. The smell of death was rancid and his vision seemed out of focus. A nauseating, sickly stench permeated his nostrils and he winced as the pungent odour inflated his lungs. He was aware his whole body was bitter cold and he shivered uncontrollably. If this was a hangover, then it was the worst he'd ever been. Terrifyingly, he noticed that he was manacled, face down, to a massive ice block.
Encased within the block was a dead horse, it's head split in two, exposing brain matter, decayed pulped flesh, and grizzled bone. It's mouth was fixed in a ghastly grimace with it's eyes looking back into Hatchet's, it's gory mane matted in dirt.
His screams were hideous to hear and were lost in the din of the thousands of screams echoing within the air.The sound was deafening and burst his ears as the terror built up within him. Hatchet knew then he was in Hell, amongst the thousands of fallen souls now in the possesion of the Unholy.
His whole being was perished with unbearable, intense cold yet he could see flames, blazing blue and orange, feet away from him taunting him with intense glow.
Still the shrieks and squeals of thousands around him assailed his ears! The amplified volume resonated in his brain as his own screams built to a crescendo!
Yet, no light radiated from the flames and the pitch black illuminated only the horse within the ice block and the grimace which would be eternal. Still Hatchet screamed till he felt his throat would explode and his mind begged for deliverance! It was then that his shoulders and back ignited with agonising pain as he felt the sting of a whip.
Again and again the whip found it's mark and his flesh was pulverised. He cried out for forgiveness and begged to be spared and still he was lashed.He prayed to pass out and knew he never would ! For he was in Hell and the blackest deeds were now held to account.
A voice bellowed at him'Welcome Brother Hatchet! We will have a purpose for you soon! Enjoy the interim! Many more punishments await you yet until you are ready'. The eerie voice trailed off as Hatchet continued to be whipped. His agonising screams drowned the air and was unheard amongst the thousand others. Still the horse fixed it's empty eyes and stared at Hatchet and its grimace took pleasure in his suffering.

Seven days passed since Hatchet was despatched to Hell, and darkness fell on the Plains like a widows veil. No light illuminated the Earth and the Lakota knew this was the sign of the coming trials. The Ghost-walkers had appealed to the Great Spirit and no one who witnessed their victory at the Powder River could deny their courage.Truly this was evidence of the Spirit's intervention in their way of life. Reports had come in to Chief Red Cloud of a figure of flame riding amongst the Buffalo. A Skeleton on fire, riding the Skeleton of a horse at full charge. It seemed the very ground they rode upon was a torch of lightning, and the figure was at one with the Buffalo. Red Cloud rode out to witness it himself and noticed the blue-orange glow, like an aura of defiance, surrounding the figure. In it's hand was a gun, and Red Cloud recognised it as the Sacred Gun of Abe.
Many tales had been passed down from his ancestors, and Red Cloud knew this figure was sacred to his tribe.The Ancients Gunslinger would play a role in the destiny of his People.The Whiteman would pay a heavy price for the desecration of the traditions and way of life of those under the protection of the Great Spirit. He knew too that an enemy would arise which would destroy the Whiteman, and all the Earth's inhabitants. Only the Native American would take the battle to the Enemy, aided by the Ancients and the Mind Seekers.
Red Cloud knew his people looked to him for leadership, and he would provide it.They would hear how Red Cloud rode with the Ghost Rider and take pride in his courage. His fate was tied to the Ancients Gunslinger, and this had been preordained in the ancient Scriptures. Red Cloud looked down at the flaming figure and dug his knees into his horse. Charging down the hill, he shouted out a proud battle cry, and rode like the wind to the side of the Ghost Rider.In their trail the Buffalo followed.The trials ahead would be met and the Unholy would do battle with their most dangerous enemy.



**** it Charlotte! 'It don't make sense!
Hatchet weren't killed by no ghost, for Christ sake! Marshall John Lancaster was tired and couldn't believe the events which occurred in his absence. He had just brought in Ned Marlow.Got two of his men killed doing it, and suffered a leg wound himself in the shoot out. Marlow had been holed up in Tinkers Creek and came out unexpectedly with his guns blazing as the posse approached the log cabin. It had suddenly turned pitch dark, and all the horses got spooked, causing confusion amongst the lawman's officers.
Ned Marlow knew Hatchet; had lost an eye in a bar brawl to him once.It was said Hatchet carried the eye around with him ever since.
Ned was closing in on Hatchet, bent on revenge, and swore he'd see him dead. Suddenly a shot rang out, and startled Lancaster.
Ned had headbutted the Marshall's deputy as he was being placed in the holding cell.He had grabbed the deputy's gun then and blown a hole clean through him. Carelessness, or tiredness, maybe both, had cost him his life. Ned didn't give no quarter when his own life was on the line. He weren't going to no hangman's noose neither. He burst into the Marshall's office then and fired off two shots catching Lancaster in the left arm wounding him badly. The Marshall got off one reactive shot catching Ned's left ear.The sound deafened him and he put a slug through the Marshall's head.The fragrance of gunpowder filled the room and Charlotte could only look on.'You're coming with me, Honey!'bellowed Marlow as he grabbed her hair, pulling her close, and made his way onto the streets. A gun was held to Charlotte's head and Ned was figuring his next move.


He was too busy watching the streets but if he'd looked up, he would have seen a hatchet hurtling towards him with violent intent. The hatchet caught his gun hand and severed it clean off his wrist. Ned now had the indignity of losing his right hand.He screamed in agony as blood squirted from his severed wrist, spraying Charlotte in a plume of lifes red wine. Ned looked to the ground and his own hand lay there, holding his pistol, it's finger still on the trigger. Legend would record the severed hand fired off a shot moments after it's horrific amputation. Ned Marlow didn't know it then, but he too would play a role in the coming trials. The Unholy knew it only too well for it had been written 'The Deaf shall hear, the Blind shall see, and the hand of the sinner will turn on the Unholy'.


There the severed hand lay. A ghastly, grotesque, weather worn obscenity.
The gun had been removed from it's grasp since it's horrific amputatation from Ned Marlow. Three days had passed since the incident and no one dared to remove it from the street.cOminously, no decay had festered to spoil that monstrosity;for life still lingered within it's ghoulish flesh. Mangy street dogs looked at it with curiosity, yet kept a tentative distance. The little finger still wore a silver ring, set with a black stone. Once it had belonged to an ancient Pagan High King, who had been slaughtered in battle. An artefact from a distant time, carried across Europe into the America's. Evil had tainted it's properties and the Sons of the Unholy had sought it since. The ring now sought a new owner as the severed hand, an abomination of creation, crawled, like a filthy worm in the dirt. Slowly, laboriously, with uncanny certainty, the wretched hand made it's way towards the room of the one who had hurled the hatchet.


Raihna sat alone in her bedroom.The hatchet lay across her lap and it was emitting a low hum, almost inaudible, but she had heard it. At first she thought madness was setting in, but she realised that the voices communicating with her were real; the Mind Seekers had chosen her.
Her mind and body became a telepathic conduit and she was absorbed in receiving the messages. The Ancients were channelling through her and a deep trance held her almost comatose.
Slowly, sickening slow, the hand crawled it's way towards her., Grubby, thick, fingers inching themselves stealthily, dangerously close, while Raihna was immersed in the communication.
Her eyes were closed in the deep state between the conscious and the unconscious, so she could not witness the fingers wrap themselves around the handle of the Hatchet. Both hand and clasped hatchet lifted silently from her lap. As the hand moved to distance the weapon from her, the ring glowed a greenish hue, emanating the presence of the Unholy. Suddenly the hand lunged at Raihna's throat!
Raihna's life was ebbing into eternity.The possessed, filthy, unholy amputation squeezed her windpipe with the vengence of perpetual hostility. The ring on the severed hand's finger glowed brighter, as her life force lay on the threshold of destruction. It seemed as though the light of a thousand burning suns illuminated that room. A portal to Hell had been created and Raihna was pulled into that abyss. She was neither dead nor alive, for the Unholy had need of a pawn.The hatchet too was ****** into that void as it was destined to be reunited with Hatchet.The light was blinding and it seemed the very Earth could have been swallowed; as though the Gods had abandoned all of Creation!
Yet there he stood! A blazing figure astride a blazing horse.The chalk white bones of a skeleton horse carrying the Ancients Gunslinger towards the entrance to Hell! The ancient scriptures had written ' The Liveth Bone shall ride into Hell, and the Unholy shall cower'.
The Sacred Gun of Abe shall wield the vengeance of the Ages and the Earth and Heavens shall shake'. Thus it had been written and was now coming to pass.
A portal to Hell had opened and the Gunslinger charged into that cesspool of abomination. No Horse ever galloped with such energy and the Unholy prepared for the skirmish.The Gunslinger was possessed with a relentless rage for Justice. Hell quaked as both rider and horse fearlessly charged into the bowels of Evil's pestilent abode.
Furious at this brazen affront, the Unholy now made to close that portal. Even as they did so, Hatchet was resurrected from his tormented existence. His hatchet was reunited with him as he prepared to once again face the Gunslinger.Raihna must be rescued; for her destiny was tied to the Earth's salvation. For now, she lay in a corner of Hell watched over by a severed hand. The screams and anguished cries of all the lost souls in Hell echoed in the stagnant air. Still the Rider charged furiously as he sought to gather Raihna to his arms. A ****** hatchet sailed towards him and Hell looked on.


Hatchet charged from the cage of demons, his face etched with the pain of perpetual torment. His emaciated form like a malignant Phoenix rising from the ashes of Hell. The pitiful creature carrying his burden reared from his weight. A wretched carcass of a decayed horse which had been ressurected for battle. That same horse which had been encased within the ice block;whose ****** head Hatchet had split open when both were mortals on the Earth. Man and beast now tools for the Unholy; possessed by the collective evil of all who now suffered in Hell.cTheir dark energy would now be harnessed for the coming trials. A gruesome grimace was fixed on the horse's face and it's empty eyes stared ahead as Hatchet charged towards the Gunslinger. His violent countenace expressed the deadly intentions which would be borne down upon his enemy.
He had hurled his weapon and watched as it made it's deadly trajectory towards the Gunslinger. As the hatchet spun and revolved through the air, Hatchet emmitted the scream of the demented. The Gunslinger had lowered in his saddle and the hatchet narrowly missed it's target. Continuing on it's course, it landed in the back of one of the screaming forgotten whose souls were doomed to eternal agony.
Both riders now crashed headlong into one another and Hatchet fell from his horse. The Sacred Gun of Abe was now in the Gunslinger's hand and a skeletal finger pulled the trigger.
Once again, Hatchet would witness a bullet discharge from it's revolving chamber. His head exploded as the bullet entered his brain, exiting in one piece and landing in the dank soil of Hell.The blessed relic purified the soil and the Unholy recoiled with revulsion.
The dead cannot die and Hatchet struggled back to his feet. Grabbing the Gunslinger's reins, he attempted to pull him down. It was then that the runes around the Gunslinger's neck pierced the air with a deafening incantation.
The Unholy screamed as the Holy words of the Ancient Scriptures filtered into the bowels of iniquity and shook the foundations of Hell.
Hatchet reeled back and grabbed his hatchet from the spine of the forgotten sinner. He looked up then and witnessed a warrior's lance sail through the air.It violently struck and impaled the severed hand guarding Raihna.
Red Cloud had accompanied the Gunslinger in his charge into Hell!
Translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald

I.
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

II.
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

III.
And, as the **** crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted -- "Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more."

IV.
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

V.
Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one Knows;
But still the Vine her ancient ruby yields,
And still a Garden by the Water blows.

VI.
And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!" -- the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow Cheek of hers to incarnadine.

VII.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly -- and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

VIII.
Whether at Naishapur or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life kep falling one by one.

IX.
Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

X.
But come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot:
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
Or Hatim Tai cry Supper -- heed them not.

XI.
With me along the strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot --
And Peace is Mahmud on his Golden Throne!

XII.
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

XIII.
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Promise go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

XIV.
Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
The Thread of present Life away to win --
What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!

XV.
Look to the Rose that blows about us -- "Lo,
Laughing," she says, "into the World I blow:
At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."

XVI.
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes -- or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two -- is gone.

XVII.
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

XVIII.
Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two and went his way.

XIX.
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter -- the Wild ***
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

**.
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

XXI.
And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean --
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

XXII.
Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears --
To-morrow? -- Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.

XXIII.
Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.

XXIV.
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch -- for whom?

XXV.
Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie;
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and -- sans End!

XXVI.
Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
"Fools! Your Reward is neither Here nor There!"

XXVII.
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are ******
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Works to Scorn
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

XXVIII.
Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown forever dies.

XXIX.
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

***.
With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd --
"I came like Water and like Wind I go."

XXXI.
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water *****-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, *****-nilly blowing.

XXXII.
Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Master-Knot of Human Fate.

XXXIII.
There was the Door to which I found no Key:
There was the Veil through which I could not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was -- and then no more of Thee and Me.

XXXIV.
Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide
Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
And -- "A blind Understanding!" Heav'n replied.

XXXV.
Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean'd, the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd -- "While you live,
Drink! -- for, once dead, you never shall return."

XXXVI.
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And merry-make, and the cold Lip I kiss'd,
How many Kisses might it take -- and give!

XXXVII.
For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur'd -- "Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"

XXXVIII.
And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man's successive generations roll'd
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the Maker into Human mould?

XXXIX.
Ah, fill the Cup: -- what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday,
Why fret about them if To-day be sweet!

XL.
A Moment's Halt -- a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste --
And Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach'd
The Nothing it set out from -- Oh, make haste!

XLI.
Oh, plagued no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow's tangle to itself resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine.

XLII.
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavor and dispute;
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, fruit.

XLIII.
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

XLIV.
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas -- the Grape!

XLV.
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemest that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

XLVI.
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as Snare?
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a Curse -- why, then, Who set it there?

XLVII.
But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And, in some corner of the Hubbub couch'd,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

XLVIII.
For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.

XLIX.
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.

L.
The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd,
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd.

LI.
Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
Is't not a shame -- Is't not a shame for him
So long in this Clay suburb to abide?

LII.
But that is but a Tent wherein may rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another guest.

LIII.
I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And after many days my Soul return'd
And said, "Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Hell."

LIV.
Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerg'd from, shall so soon expire.

LV.
While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With old Khayyam and ruby vintage drink:
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to Thee -- take that, and do not shrink.

LVI.
And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, should lose, or know the type no more;
The Eternal Saki from the Bowl has pour'd
Millions of Bubbls like us, and will pour.

LVII.
When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh but the long long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As much as Ocean of a pebble-cast.

LVIII.
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

LIX.
The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left, as strikes the Player goes;
And he that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all -- He knows -- HE knows!

LX.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

LXI.
For let Philosopher and Doctor preach
Of what they will, and what they will not -- each
Is but one Link in an eternal Chain
That none can slip, nor break, nor over-reach.

LXII.
And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to it for help -- for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

LXIII.
With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

LXIV.
Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

LXV.
I tell You this -- When, starting from the Goal,
Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul.

LXVI.
The Vine has struck a fiber: which about
If clings my Being -- let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

LXVII.
And this I know: whether the one True Light,
Kindle to Love, or Wrath -- consume me quite,
One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

LXVIII.
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!

LXIX.
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd --
Sue for a Debt we never did contract,
And cannot answer -- Oh the sorry trade!

LXX.
Nay, but for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.

LXXI.
Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou will not with Predestin'd Evil round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?

LXXII.
Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give -- and take!

LXXIII.
Listen again. One Evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.

LXXIV.
And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried --
"Who is the Potter, pray, and who the ***?"

LXXV.
Then said another -- "Surely not in vain
My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to common Earth again."

LXXVI.
Another said -- "Why, ne'er a peevish Boy,
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that made the vessel in pure Love
And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy?"

LXXVII.
None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
"They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"

LXXVIII:
"Why," said another, "Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marred in making -- Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."

LXXIX.
Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
"My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
Methinks I might recover by-and-by!"

LXXX.
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The Little Moon look'd in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

LXXXI.
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.

LXXXII.
That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

LXXXIII.
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

LXXXIV.
Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore -- but was I sober when I swore?
And then, and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

LXXXV.
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honor -- well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.

LXXXVI.
Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

LXXXVII.
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse -- If dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

LXXXVIII.
Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits -- and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

LXXXIX.
Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me -- in vain!

XC.
And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one -- turn down an empty Glass!
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
A Tale for the Mid-Winter Season after the Mural by Carl Larrson

On the shortest day I wake before our maids from the surrounding farms have converged on Sundborn. Greta lives with us so she will be asleep in that deep slumber only girls of her age seem to own. Her tiny room has barely more than a bed and a chest for her clothes. There is my first painting of her on the wall, little more a sketch, but she was entranced, at seeing herself so. To the household she is a maid who looks after me and my studio,  though she is a literate, intelligent girl, city-bred from Gamla Stan but from a poor home, a widowed mother, her late father a drunkard.  These were my roots, my beginning, exactly. But her eyes already see a world beyond Sundborn. She covets postcards from my distant friends: in Paris, London, Jean in South America, and will arrange them on my writing desk, sometimes take them to her room at night to dream in the candlelight. I think this summer I shall paint her, at my desk, reading my cards, or perhaps writing her own. The window will be open and a morning breeze will make the flowers on the desk tremble.

Karin sleeps too, a desperate sleep born of too much work and thought and interruption. These days before Christmas put a strain on her usually calm disposition. The responsibilities of our home, our life, the constant visitors, they weigh upon her, and dispel her private time. Time in her studio seems impossible. I often catch her poised to disappear from a family coming-together. She is here, and then gone, as if by magic. With the older children home from their distant schools, and Suzanne arrived from England just yesterday morning, they all cannot do without lengthy conferences. They know better than disturb me. Why do you think there is a window set into my studio door? So, if I am at my easel there should be no knock to disturb. There is another reason, but that is between Karin and I.

This was once a summer-only house, but over the years we have made it our whole-year home. There was much attention given to making it snug and warm. My architect replaced all the windows and all the doors and there is this straw insulation between the walls. Now, as I open the curtains around my bed, I can see my breath float out into the cool air. When, later, I descend to my studio, the stove, damped down against the night, when opened and raddled will soon warm the space. I shall draw back the heavy drapes and open the wooden shutters onto the dark land outside. Only then I will stand before my current painting: *Brita and the Sleigh
.

Current!? I have been working on this painting intermittently for five years, and Brita is no longer the Brita of this picture, though I remember her then as yesterday. It is a picture of a winter journey for a six-year-old, only that journey is just across the yard to the washhouse. Snow, frost, birds gathered in the leafless trees, a sun dog in the sky, Brita pushing her empty sledge, wearing fur boots, Lisbeth’s old coat, and that black knitted hat made by old Anna. It is the nearest I have come to suggesting the outer landscape of this place. I bring it out every year at this time so I can check the light and the shadows against what I see now, not what I remember seeing then. But there will be a more pressing concern for me today, this shortest day.

Since my first thoughts for the final mural in my cycle for the Nationalmuseum I have always put this day aside, whatever I might be doing, wherever I may be. I pull out my first sketches, that book of imaginary tableaux filled in a day and a night in my tiny garden studio in Grez, thinking of home, of snow, the mid-winter, feeling the extraordinary power and shake of Adam of Bremen’s description of 10th C pre-Christian Uppsala, written to describe how barbaric and immoral were the practices and religion of the pagans, to defend the fragile position of the Christian church in Sweden at the time. But as I gaze at these rough beginnings made during those strange winter days in my rooms at the Hotel Chevilon, I feel myself that twenty-five year old discovering my artistic vision, abandoning oils for the flow and smudge of watercolour, and then, of course, Karin. We were part of the Swedish colony at Grez-sur-Loing. Karin lived with the ladies in Pension Laurent, but was every minute beside me until we found our own place, to be alone and be together, in a cupboard of a house by the river, in Marlotte.

Everyone who painted en-plein-air, writers, composers, they all flocked to Grez just south of Fontainebleau, to visit, sometimes to stay. I recall Strindberg writing to Karin after his first visit: It was as if there were no pronounced shadows, no hard lines, the air with its violet complexion is almost always misty; and I painting constantly, and against the style and medium of the time. How the French scoffed at my watercolours, but my work sold immediately in Stockholm. . . and Karin, tall, slim, Karin, my muse, my lover, my model, her boy-like figure lying naked (but for a hat) in the long grass outside my studio. We learned each other there, the technique of bodies in intimate closeness, the way of no words, the sharing of silent thoughts, together on those soft, damp winter days when our thoughts were of home, of Karin’s childhood home at Sundborn. I had no childhood thoughts I wanted to return to, but Karin, yes. That is why we are here now.

In Grez-sur-Loing, on a sullen December day, mist lying on the river, our garden dead to winter, we received a visitor, a Swedish writer and journalist travelling with a very young Italian, Mariano Fortuny, a painter living in Paris, and his mentor the Spaniard Egusquiza. There was a woman too who Karin took away, a Parisienne seamstress I think, Fortuny’s lover. Bayreuth and Wagner, Wagner, Wagner was all they could talk about. Of course Sweden has its own Nordic Mythology I ventured. But where is it? What is it? they cried, and there was laughter and more mulled wine, and then talk again of Wagner.

When the party left I realized there was something deep in my soul that had been woken by talk of the grandeur and scale of Wagner’s cocktail of German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales. For a day and night I sketched relentlessly, ransacking my memory for those old tales, drawing strong men and stalwart, flaxen-haired women in Nordic dress and ornament. But as a new day presented itself I closed my sketch book and let the matter drop until, years later, in a Stockholm bookshop I chanced upon a volume in Latin by Adam of Bremen, his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, the most famous source to pagan ritual practice in Sweden. That cold winter afternoon in Grez returned to me and I felt, as I had then, something stir within me, something missing from my comfortable world of images of home and farm, family and the country life.

Back in Sundborn this little volume printed in the 18th C lay on my desk like a question mark without a sentence. My Latin was only sufficient to get a gist, but the gist was enough. Here was the story of the palace of Uppsala, the great centre of the pre-Christian pagan cults that brought us Odin and Freyr. I sought out our village priest Dag Sandahl, a good Lutheran but who regularly tagged Latin in his sermons. Yes, he knew the book, and from his study bookshelf brought down an even earlier copy than my own. And there and then we sat down together and read. After an hour I was impatient to be back in my studio and draw, draw these extraordinary images this text brought to life unbidden in my imagination. But I did not leave until I had persuaded Pastor Sandahl to agree to translate the Uppsala section of the Adam of Bremen’s book, and just before Christmas that year, on the day before the Shortest Day, he delivered his translation to my studio. He would not stay, but said I should read the passages about King Domalde and his sacrifice at the Winter Solstice. And so, on the day of the Winter Solstice, I did.

This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala.

By this temple is a very large tree with extending branches. It is always green, both in winter and in summer. No one knows what kind of tree this is. There is also a spring there, where the heathens usually perform their sacrificial rites. They throw a live human being into the spring. If he does not resurface, the wishes of the people will come true.

The Temple is girdled by a chain of gold that hangs above the roof of the building and shines from afar, so that people may see it from a distance when they approach there. The sanctuary itself is situated on a plain, surrounded by mountains, so that the form a theatre.

It is not far from the town of Sigtuna. This sanctuary is completely covered with golden ornaments. There, people worship the carved idols of three gods: Thor, the most powerful of them, has his throne in the middle of the hall, on either side of him, Odin and Freyr have their seats. They have these functions: “Thor,” they say, “rules the air, he rules thunder and lightning, wind and rain, good weather and harvests. The other, Odin, he who rages, he rules the war and give courage to people in their battle against enemies. The third is Freyr, he offers to mortals lust and peace and happiness.” And his image they make with a very large phallus. Odin they present armed, the way we usually present Mars, while Thor with the scepter seems to resemble Jupiter. As gods they also worship some that have earlier been human. They give them immortality for the sake of their great deeds, as we may read in Vita sancti Ansgarii that they did with King Eirik.

For all these gods have particular persons who are to bring forward the sacrificial gifts of the people. If plague and famine threatens, they offer to the image of Thor, if the matter is about war, they offer to Odin, but if a wedding is to be celebrated, they offer to Freyr. And every ninth year in Uppsala a great religious ceremony is held that is common to people from all parts of Sweden.”
Snorri also relates how human sacrifice began in Uppsala, with the sacrifice of a king.

Domalde took the heritage after his father Visbur, and ruled over the land. As in his time there was great famine and distress, the Swedes made great offerings of sacrifice at Upsal. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the succeeding season was not improved thereby. The following autumn they sacrificed men, but the succeeding year was rather worse. The third autumn, when the offer of sacrifices should begin, a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsal; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domalde, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and **** him, and sprinkle the stall of the gods with his blood. And they did so.


There it was, at the end of Adam of Bremen’s description of Uppsala, this description of King Domalde upon which my mural would be based. It is not difficult to imagine, or rather the event itself can be richly embroidered, as I have over the years made my painting so. Karin and I have the books of William Morris on our shelves and I see little difference between his fixation on the legends of the Arthur and the Grail. We are on the cusp here between the pagan and the Christian.  What was Christ’s Crucifixion but a self sacrifice: as God in man he could have saved himself but chose to die for Redemption’s sake. His blood was not scattered to the fields as was Domalde’s, but his body and blood remains a continuing symbol in our right of Communion.

I unroll the latest watercolour cartoon of my mural. It is almost the length of this studio. Later I will ask Greta to collect the other easels we have in the house and barn and then I shall view it properly. But for now, as it unrolls, my drama of the Winter Solstice comes alive. It begins on from the right with body of warriors, bronze shields and helmets, long shafted spears, all set against the side of Uppsala Temple and more distant frost-hoared trees. Then we see the King himself, standing on a sled hauled by temple slaves. He is naked as he removes the furs in which he has travelled, a circuit of the temple to display himself to his starving people. In the centre, back to the viewer, a priest-like figure in a red cloak, a dagger held for us to see behind his back. Facing him, in druidic white, a high priest holds above his head a gold pagan monstrance. To his left there are white cloaked players of long, straight horns, blue cloaked players of the curled horns, and guiding the shaft of the sled a grizzled shaman dressed in the skins and furs of animals. The final quarter of my one- day-to-be-a-mural unfolds to show the women of temple and palace writhing in gestures of grief and hysteria whilst their queen kneels prostate on the ground, her head to the earth, her ladies ***** behind her. Above them all stands the forever-green tree whose origin no one knows.

Greta has entered the studio in her practiced, silent way carrying coffee and rolls from the kitchen. She has seen Midvinterblot many times, but I sense her gaze of fascination, yet again, at the figure of the naked king. She remembers the model, the sailor who came to stay at Kartbacken three summers ago. He was like the harpooner Queequeg in Moby ****. A tattooed man who was to be seen swimming in Toftan Lake and walking bare-chested in our woods. A tall, well-muscled, almost silent man, whom I patiently courted to be my model for King Dolmade. I have a book of sketches of him striding purposefully through the trees, the tattooed lines on his shoulders and chest like deep cuts into his body. This striding figure I hid from the children for some time, but from Greta that was impossible. She whispered to me once that when she could not have my substantial chest against her she would imagine the sailor’s, imagine touching and following his tattooed lines. This way, she said, helped her have respite from those stirrings she would so often feel for me. My painting, she knew, had stirred her fellow maids Clara and Solveig. Surely you know this, she had said, in her resolute and direct city manner. I have to remember she is the age of my eldest, who too must hold such thoughts and feelings. Karin dislikes my sailor king and wishes I would not hide the face of his distraught queen.

Today the sunrise is at 9.0, just a half hour away, and it will set before 3.0pm. So, after this coffee I will put on my boots and fur coat, be well scarfed and hatted (as my son Pontus would say) and walk out onto my estate. I will walk east across the fields towards Spardasvvägen. The sky is already waiting for the sun, but waits without colour, hardly even a tinge of red one might expect.

I have given Greta her orders to collect every easel she can find so we can take Midvinterblot off the floor and see it in all its vivid colour and form. In February I shall begin again to persuade the Nationalmuseum to accept this work. We have a moratorium just now. I will not accept their reasoning that there is no historical premise for such a subject, that such a scene has no place in a public gallery. A suggestion has been made that the Historiska museet might house it. But I shall not think of this today.

Karin is here, her face at the studio window beckons entry. My Darling, yes, it is midwinter’s day and I am dressing to greet the solstice. I will dress, she says, to see Edgar who will be here in half an hour to discuss my designs for this new furniture. We will be lunching at noon. Know you are welcome. Suzanne is talking constantly of England, England, and of course Oxford, this place of dreaming spires and good looking boys. We touch hands and kiss. I sense the perfume of sleep, of her bed.

Outside I must walk quickly to be quite alone, quite apart from the house, in the fields, alone. It is on its way: this light that will bathe the snowed-over land and will be my promise of the year’s turn towards new life.

As I walk the drama of Midvinterblot unfolds in a confusion of noise, the weeping of women, the physical exertions of the temple slaves, the priests’ incantations, the riot of horns, and then suddenly, as I stand in this frozen field, there is silence. The sun rises. It stagge
To see images of the world of Sundborn and Carl Larrson (including Mitvinterblot) see http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx
Matilda.
The light of my life.
The poem of my tongue.
The fire of my chest.
The wind of my *****.
The hate I loathe.
The beauty I view.
My lady.
My dream.
My hesitant rainbow.
My fearless tears.
My coverlet and starlet;
my blanket and dainty amulet.
My distant promise and cautiousness;
but in all my darling; looking ever so stately-
yet not like yon faraway, morning dew.

Matilda.
The hands I adore;
the fingers I want to kiss.
The solitude I live in;
the fate I was born in.
A pair of eyes ever to me too divine,
A charm that loyally strikes, and glows and shines.
A lock of hair that petulantly sways and sweats.
A midday tale of love; as how it is mine,
a beauty that this world ensures,
but cannot adore.

Matilda.
Even the brisk turquoise sea
is ever less glossy than thy eyes,
for their calmness is still less harmful,
unlike unbending, thus insolent tides, at noon.
Ah, Matilda, thou art yet too graceful,
but tricky and indolent, as the puzzling moon!
Thy purity is like unseen smoke,
tearing the skies' linings like a fast rocket,
making me ever thirsty, turning my heart wet,
but still this attentive heart thou canst not provoke;
thou art a region too far from mine;
but still luck is in heart whose fate's in thine.
And as thou singeth a tone I liketh to sing
I cannot help but more admiring thee;
And as thou singeth it genuinely more,
thou capture all my breath and give it all a thrill;
for I realise then, that thou canst be stiff, as sandless shores;
but thy beauty canst so finely startle,
and whose startledness
canst ****.

Matilda.
But deadness, and ever desolation
are vividly clamouring in thy eyes;
Thou art but distinct, distinct indeed-from serenity;
for thou warble thyself, but gladly-away, from thy sullen reality.
Ah, Matilda, how canst a soul so comely
be hateful to fame, and dishonest just from its frame?
Matilda, to those merciless hearts indeed thou beareth no name;
Thou art a shame to their pride, and a stain to their bitterly fevered, sanity.
Yet still, thou art to innocent to understand which,
and in love naively, as thou just art, now-
with that feeble shadow of a pampered young fellow,
Whose stories are also mine,
for his father's money is donned,
and coined every day-by my servant's frail hands;
The sweat of my palms obey me in doing so-
I am my master's son's poor sailor,
and he his sole heir-and soon is to inherit
an indecent boat; full of roaming paths, doors, and locks
And at nights, costly drapery and jewels shall be planted in their hair-
yes, those beastly riches' necks, and skin fair,
And thou be their eternal seamstress,
weaving all those bare threads with thy hands-
ah, thy robust ****** hands,
whilst thy heart so dutifully levitating
about his false painting, and bent even more heartily, onto him.
Ah, 'tis indeed unfair, unfair, unfair-and so unfair!
For such a liar he was, and still is-
Once he was betrothed to a bitter, and uncivil Magdalene;
Uncivil so is she, prattling and bickering and prattling and bickering-
To our low-creature ears, as she once remarked,
She who basked in her own vague hilarity, and sedate glory
And so went on harshly unmolested by her vanity, and fallibility;
But sadly indeed, occupied with a great-not intellect,
As not sensible a person as she was;
At least until the winds knocked her haughty voices out-
and so then hovering stormy gales beneath,
took her out and gaily flung her deep into the raging sea.

Still he wiggled not, and seems still-in a seance every night,
whenst he but cries childishly and calls out to her name in fright.
Her but all dead, dead name;
'Till his father tears him swiftly out of his solitude
And with altogether the same worried face
but drags his disconcerted son back into his flamboyant chamber.
Ah, and I caught thee again, Matilda,
Bowed over the picture of yon young sailor;
'Twixt those sweet-patterned handkerchiefs
On thy lil' wooden table, yesterday
And curved over yon picture, I was certain;
I caught some fatigued tears in thy eyes-
for from thy love thou wert desperate,
but still unsure even, of the frayed tyings of cruel fate.
Ah, Matilda, your hair is still as black as the night
The guilty night, though nothing it may knoweth, of thy love,
and perhaps just as unknowing it seemingly is;
as th' tangled moon, and its dubious arrows
of unseen lilies, above
Shall singeth in uncertainty; and cordless dignity
And which song shall forever be left unreasoned
Until the end of our days arrive, and bereft us all
of this charismatic world-and all its dearest surge of false,
and oftentimes unholy, fakeness.
Oh Matilda, but such truest clarity was in thy eyes,
And frightened was I-upon seeing t'is;
As though never shrouded in barren lies
Like a love that this heart defines;
but never clear, as never is to be gained.
Ah, Matilda, and such frank clarity dismays me;
It threatens and stiffens and chortles me,
for I am certain I shan't be with thee-
and shall ever be without thee,
for thou detest and loathe me,
and be of no willingness at all-
to befriend, to hold, or to hear-
much less reward me with thy love,
as how I shall reward thee with mine.

Matilda, this love is too strong-but so is, too poor
And neither is my heart plainly bruised;
For it is untouched still, but feeling like it has been flawed
Ah, why does this love have to be raw-and far indeed, too raw!
I, who is thy resilient friend, and fellow-sadly never am in thy flavour;
for in his soul only-thy love is rooted;
And this love is forever never winning-and it is sour,
Like a torn, mute flower; or like a better not, laughter.
And my heart is once more filled with dead leaves-
Ah, dead, dead leaves of undelight, and unjoy;
Whose cries kick and bend and strangle themselves-
all to no avail, and cause only all its devouring to fail,
For his doorless claws are to strong,
Stealing thy eyes from me for all day,
and duly all night long.
How discourteous! Virtual, but too far, still-
corrupting me; ah, unjust, unjust, and discourteous!
Tormentingly-ah, but tormentingly, torturously, insincere!
Ah, Matilda! But soon as thou prayeth,
every single grace and loveliness thou shall delicately saith;
Thy voice is as delightful as nailed, or perhaps, cunningly deluded vice-
Which I hath always feigned to be refuting tomorrow,
but is only to bring me cleverer and cleverer sorrow
'Till hath I no power to defy its testy soul,
that for no reason is too shiny and bold,
but so dull, and bland as a hard-hearted summer glacier,
and too unyielding as hurtful, talloned wines.
Oh, but no appetite I hath, for any war
against him-for he is fair, and I am not,
He is worthier of thee, than my every word;
He who to thee is like a graceful poem,
he who is the only one to smirk at
and hush away thy daylight doom.
Matilda! For evermore thy heart is mine;
and mine only-though I canst love thee
only secretly, and admire thee from afar,
Still cannot I stand bashful, and motionless-too far,
For I wish to hath been born, for thy every sake
Though it shall put my sinless tongue at stake
And even my love is even gentler then blue snowflakes;
and more cordial than yon rapturous green lake.
Ah! Look! Upon the moors the grass is swirling,
so please go back now; and be greedy in thy running.
Still when no music is playing,
all is but too painful for thee,
which I liketh to neither witness, nor see,
for upon thee the moon of love might not be singing,
as it is upon all others a song,
But somehow to nature it not be wrong,
for he cannot still be thy charm, nor darling.
O-but I hate thinking of which affectionately,
when thou crieth and which sight, to my heart, is paining.
Ah, Matilda! For even to God thy love is but too pure;
for it is faultless as morns, and poisonless-
like those ever unborn thorns;
Of yon belated autumn melody,
But is, somehow, fraught and dejected
With sorrow, for it is him, that yesterday and now
Thou loveth softly and securely,
Two hours later and perhaps, in every minute of tomorrow.

Matilda! But still tell me, how can thou securely love a danger?
For I am sure he is but a danger to thee, indeed;
Once I witnessed how his face
grotesquely thrusted into furtive anger
As he burst into a dearth of strong holds,
of his burning temper-under the blooming red birch tree;
And as every eye canst see,
He is only soft, and perhaps meek-as a butterfly,
Whenever the world he eats and sleeps and feeds on in-
Tellest him not the least bit of a lie;
Ah, Matilda, canst I imagine thee being his not,
ah, for I shall be drowned in deflating worry, indeed-I shall be, I shall be!
I dread saying t'is to thee-but he, the heir of a ruthless kingdom,
and kingdom of our God not-within their lands and reigns of scrutiny,
His words are but a tragedy, and a pain thou ought not to bear;
O, Matilda, thou art but too holy and far too fair!
Thy soul is, so that thou knoweth, my very own violin-
To which I am keenly addicted;
I am besotted with thy red cheeks-;
As whose tunes-my violin's, are thy notes
as haunting and sunnily beautiful,
And cloudless like thy naivety,
Which stuns my whole nature,
and even the one of our very own Lord Almighty.
Ah, Matilda, even the heavens might just turn out
far too menial for thee;
and their decorum and sweet tantrums idle and unworthy;
Thou art far, far above those ladies in dense gowns,
With such terseness they shall storm away and leave him down.
But why-why still, he refuses to look at thee!
Ah, unthinking and unfeeling,
foolish and coquettish,
unwitted and full of deceit-is himself,
for loving should I be-if thy smile were what I wished,
and thy blisses and kisses were what I dreamed;
I wouldst be but warmer than him,
I wouldst be but indeed so sweet,
I wouldst be loftier than he may seem;
and but madden thee every sole day, with my gracious-
though sometimes ferocious-ah, by thy love, ever tender wit.

I hath so long crept on a broken wing,
And thro' endless cells of madness, haunts, and fear,
Just like thou hath-and as relentlessly, and lyrically, as we both hath.
But not until the shining daffodils die, and the silvery
rivers turn into gold-shall I twist my love,
and mold it into roughness-
undying, but enslaved roughness;
that thou dread, and neither I adore;
For for thee I shall remain,
and again and again stay to find
what meaningful love is-
Whilst I fight against the tremor
and menace this living love canst bring about-
To threaten my mask, and crush my deep ardor.
Ah, my mask that hath loved thee too long,
With a love so weak but at times so strong;
and witnessed thee I hath, hurt and pained
and faded and thawed by his nobility
But one of worldliness; and not godliness
For heavens yonder shall be ours, and forever
Shall bestow us our triumphs, though only far-in the hereafter;
Still I honour thee, for holding on with sincerity-
and loyalty, to such contempt too strong
For thou art as starry as forgiveness itself,
and thus is far from yon contempt-and its overbearing soul;
And perhaps friendly, too unkind not-
like its trepid blare of constant rejection, and mockery
And as I do, shall I always want thee to be with me;
For thou art the mere residue, and cordial waning age of the life that I hath left;
For thou art the only light I hath, and the innate mercy I shall ever desire to seek;
and perhaps have sought shall, within the blessed soul of my 'ture wife.
Oh, Matilda, thou art the dream t'at I, still, ought not to dream,
thou art the sweetness I ought' only charm, and keep;
As thou art the song, that I may not be right'd to sing;
but the lullaby; which in whose absence, I canst shall never sleep.
Emilija Aug 2018
I own a good chin to lift
a look that threatens from a distance.
The shield I never thought I’d get in the mail is here,
name written on it and everything.

So I walk out, shield up,
and yet
I shiver if I only get a hint of

A scent,
reminding me of someone
who ****** me with no permission.

Sometimes, I forget the amount of my anger
But, if it bares meaning,
I understand it.
Not only mine, the anger of many women, who

woke up in someone’s bed, and
left there smelling of a body
they didn’t choose to smell of.

Don’t tell me I should’ve said “No.”
Because sometimes the mouth doesn’t listen to the body,
body doesn’t listen to the brain,
the brain is not aware that

six years later you’ll be sobbing with the realization that
you’re afraid of the man you trust most of all

because he produces testosterone.

Six years ago, it happened too fast.
I didn’t say  “No.”
He didn’t give me time to do it.

As I was leaving, eyes clenched to my feet
I let him kiss me and say:

“I hope you don’t regret this night.”

That’s what makes me the angriest.
Well, this is pretty personal, as you can see.
Suzy Hazelwood Nov 2014
Writing the words
the emptying
of my emotional recycle bin

I pour them out
with intent to demolish
to remove the evidence
the unwanted remembrance
the devastation
that threatens to unravel my sanity
Cherry Cupcake May 2013
We can't seem to communicate like a normal pair
Arguing, yelling, ignoring each other
How am I supposed to believe you even care
While our once innocent love slowly threatens to smother

Blaming others for your own cruel deeds
Forgetting the rainbows we have been through
Neglecting your wife and children's needs
It's all black and white now, no color seems true


Daddy's yelling, mommy cries
Something about money and lies
Tomorrow is their 20th aniversary
What magic could she buy to make her parents happy?
To see their smiles again at dinner time
To hear them ask if she's doing fine

She grabs a sheet of snow white paper
Her pencils and some glitters
Draws a  rainbow and a light pink lily
All they need is some color in this family


Y.
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be ****'d, alas, why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
And mercy being easy, and glorious
To God, in his stern wrath why threatens he?
But who am I, that dare dispute with thee,
O God? Oh, of thine only worthy blood
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sins' black memory.
That thou remember them, some claim as debt;
I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.
Nigel Obiya May 2013
I have an issue
One that weighs heavily upon my heart
One that, if left unchecked, threatens to tear our social moral fiber apart
An issue I will express in English, with some help from my old friend Swahili
Hii imenisumbua akili, kwa hivyo kuiongelea ni kitu tunastahili
Hii story ya immorality tunaichukulia so so light
Dem akiji'expose kidogo mbele ya kamera haina mseo, tunampandisha cheo kwa society, all of a sudden ye ni socialite
The new cool, eti ‘good girl gone bad’
Hiyo njaro siyo polite

We have a lot more to live for than that which we seem to be aware of
It’s not always about a good time, or lack thereof
Our reputation as a culture I believe is something we badly need to take care of
Siyo game
Siyo Jokes
Si eti mambo na fame

It shouldn’t just be about who drinks, who smokes, who vomits and who chokes
Hiyo lifestyle siyo dope
Na siyo right

Six hundred and seventy something ways to die… choose one
I refuse to go… speeding down a highway, drunk out of my mind, on another booz run
However, I may not exactly be the right person to point out how messed up you are
On a scale of one to ten?
I’m probably as guilty as you are
*******!
English... I speak it, I write it
Swahili... I'm proud of my heritage and culture, this language represents that and allows me to express my thoughts
Sheng'... It's slang, every culture has one, I can't help but speak and write it

Finally... I just did what I usually do, in more languages than one.
Carsyn Smith Oct 2014
I've never felt a red rose,
never pricked myself on a thorn,
never smelled it in or got lost in eyes.
My mother has a red rose -- my father gave
it to her, and it is beautiful, and it is kind, and it
is loving, and it is something I have  never  seen.

This  pink  rose  is  something  trying  too ­ hard to be red.
Slashing and  ripping  at clothes  with  sharpened  words,
claiming it’s  merely  the  thorns  of a red. This pungency
is blamed upon  me:  I can  not  handle  the  sickly sweet
succor stuck under my  suffocating  nose. He holds  me
by the chin, condemning eyes borrowing into mine, grip  
tightening. This pink rose is dead, withered, wilted
and weathered by the storm we’re caught in.
Everyone sees  red  where there is none

--  o r   p e r h a p s   t h a t ’ s   j u s t   t h e   b l o o d  ?  --

this pink rose has me trembling,  fearing
his appearance and his eyes; knowing
he’s   stronger   than   me,   but   the
uncertainty of “would he?” scares
me more. I can’t leave because
that same knife he used upon
me, he threatens his own
skin. It’s such  a  small
world, such  a  small
town, such a small
neighborhood,
such a small
building.

I can’t walk these  halls
with  comfort  or  safety
anymore, not with those
eyes burning blame into
my    back    and    face.
Jade Sep 2014
Sometimes less is more,
When more threatens
To become too much.
MoMo Mar 2012
They came in a large silver beast,
Cutting through the water and out icy front lawns,
Foggy air blasting from the great monster’s spout,
It made a loud hollow noise never heard before.
Then it was quiet.
The ice crunching under the beast’s belly stopped,
The air stopped pouring out of its spout,
And its horrid voice had ceased its calling.
This “animal” was still.
Onto the ice nearby it set down a fin,
Or something of the like and soon enough…
Smaller creatures came.
These new creatures stood on their two back legs
Like the polar bears when they’re in a snit.
Yet they never went down on their front legs like most of the rest of us.
They didn’t have much fur on them and no feathers to speak of.
They had no tails, no beaks, or snouts…
They were strange things that we watched from our burrows,
But they bothered no one.
At first…
Then some of us started disappearing.
Some never to come back, but those who did…
They weren’t the same any more and more often than not
There was some clear thing around their necks or legs.
Suddenly those creatures from the silver beast
Posed a threat.
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be ******, alas, why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me more heinous?
And Mercy being easy, and glorious
To God; in his stern wrath, why threatens he?
But who am I, that dare dispute with thee
O God? Oh! of thine only worthy blood,
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sin’s black memory;
That thou remember them, some claim as debt,
I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.
Brooks Popwell Sep 2011
OBSERVATIONS

First, I note a few surface details.

Outline
- Rising action – Keawe buys the imp and later sells it
- Crisis – Keawe again buys the imp although he doubts he can sell it
- Resolution – a sailor buys the imp from Keawe

The story centers on possession of the imp (primarily by Keawe, as noted above).  The full progression of ownership follows:

Ownership
- Old man
- Keawe
- Keawe's friend
- Unspecified others
- Keawe
- Kokua
- Sailor
- Keawe (attempted; sailor refused)

The motivations of the owners varies:

Motivation**
- Old man, Keawe (first), Keawe’s friend, others – reward
- Keawe (second) – reward
- Kokua –love
- Sailor – reward
- Keawe (attempted) – love

Note the relationship between these motives and the story arc.  Reward drives Keawe’s first two purchases (rising action, crisis), but love drives the third (before resolution).  Observe also the twin kinds of reward compelling the early purchases.  The first reward: obtaining prosperity; the second reward: preserving prosperity (including Kokua).

ANALYSIS

The story’s specifics (ownership and motivation) stage these events:

- Desire can reward (Keawe seeks prosperity and love and is satisfied.)
- Desire can curse (In his quest, Keawe uses the imp.)
- Reward brings uncertainty (Banishment threatens all Keawe’s gains.)
- Love absorbs curse (Kokua buys imp from Keawe.)
- Curse will destroy (Someone must bear imp’s damnation.)


These dichotomies follow:
- Reward is tarnished without the curse (by uncertainty) or with the curse (by destruction).
- One can avoid the curse but not uncertainty.+
- Love can deliver from the curse but cannot escape from the curse.

(+Note: This is because Stevenson portrays Keawe’s desire as a constant from the story’s beginning.  His unavoidable desire leads him to navigate the other events of the story.)


Two final questions:
- Does Stevenson present an ideal choice to resolve the story’s dichotomies?
- Does the imp simply represent the curse or something more?

First, would Stevenson moralize?  I presume the possibility, considering his dramatic shift from a Victorian upbringing to a life of travel and ensuing love of the islander lifestyle (the backdrop for the short story). First, recall the two motives (reward or love) and the consistent negative conseqeunces (uncertainty, curse, destruction).  All of these occurred both with or without a connection to the imp.  Keawe pursued the good life before meeting the imp’s owner and in the period of freedom from its grasp. Likewise, his love for Kokua began without connection to the imp and continued long after.  I summarize all these possible combinations in the following chart:

Choices

REWARD
1. Without imp: uncertainty
2. With imp: curse

LOVE
3. Toward the cursed: destruction
4. Toward the uncursed: no destruction

The story progresses from a focus on reward (first half) to a focus on love (second half).  The last option (love without destruction) is ideal; every other option entails some loss.  Even Kokua’s and Keawe’s choices to love each other by taking back the curse is bittersweet.  Each one’s sacrifice removes the other’s greatest source of happiness, an end that could have been avoided if Keawe had never bought the imp.  The implied lesson?  Avoid choices now that will sabotage love’s good intentions later.

The surprise ending may add an additional message.  If the story warns against complicating love, why does it provide an escape hatch, the drunken sailor who accepts damnation and buys the bottle?  Stevenson could simply be softening the blow of his cautionary tale.  If so, why did he include the elaborate curse that necessitated such an ending? I think the injection of a supernatural temptation portrays real life: wild possibilities coupled with high consequences.  The ending modifies the imaginary scenario to convey another reality: though love cannot erase a damning past, somehow, escape is possible.

If the supernatural elements comment on life, the imp itself may also have a specific meaning.  The unusual law of the imp (sell for less or receive damnation) makes it a constantly growing threat.  Its sinister descriptions (“dark,” “fiery,” etc) and concealed evil (glancing in the bottle stuns the owner with horror) also portray the imp as a potent living force.  Perhaps Stevenson portrays imperfection and evil in humanity as this palpable reality, present in the world and available as a means of man’s advancement and destruction.  As an advocate of Semoan rights who lived in the islands during multiple colonial power-struggles, he vividly observed evil’s corrupting power.  He knew that the world often suffers when people allow the end to justify the means.  And when those people are us—the otherwise kind-hearted Keawes—Stevenson knew that the fiend within us doesn’t have to win in the end.
Colby Scott Apr 2016
Have you felt its bite?

The terrible

Horrendous

Ever-opening

Maw that
Threatens to
Devour all my

Certainty.

It gorges upon all that is
Bright.
Black breath flows
Over me
A
Blight
that saps my strength

My soul yearns to take flight!

Yet here i remain
Paralyzed by the
Gaze of this unrelenting
Beast,
Doubt.

Will there be
Restoration?
Can i hope for
Resuscitation?

Or is my yearning
Merely the
Death throes of
Passion

Burning

Burning

Burning

Out like a
Candle
Lit dinner?  

It shall not
Come from you,
Romance.

You rose-colored
Vagabond.
Food for the maidens
Dream.
Despoiler of my
self
esteem.

i require another
To sustain
Me.

i know it can
Be found.
One who can
Remove this yoke
From me.

Who can vanquish this doubt?

Who shall turn my discordant
notes
of Sin
Into a sinphony?

He is the
One

That will catch my boulder
As it threatens to crush
Me
At the bottom of this
Hill.

So come to me!

i haven’t the strength to yell.

If you can hear
Then
You are
Well acquainted with
My
Bones
Breaking.

i am not
Strong.

Of this i
know
For the wilting of the
Lily
Told me
so.
Gita Ashok Oct 2010
Dark menacing clouds wander aimlessly in the sky.
The cuckoo sings a sweet melodious tune
in anticipation of the much-needed rain.
The whistling wild wind threatens
to drive away the poor rain.
The fronds of the coconut palms dance wildly
and the trunks oscillate in the fierce wind.

The peacock enters with a proud colorful display.
Farmers look up towards the sky with a prayer in their heart:
Dear Lord, let there be monsoon again.
Little children gather on the terraces of their houses
to enjoy the bliss and wetness of the first rain.
Women hurriedly collect dried clothes from the clothes’ lines.
Birds are utterly confused and don’t know where to fly.

The Sun and rain clouds play hide-and-seek.
A bolt of lightning is seen in the western sky.
Soon the rumbling thunder shatters
the serenity of the evening
as Heaven opens its gates
to pour out its soothing nectar
and we know…
monsoon is here again.

Gita Ashok
9/10/2010, 1:40 pm
Rains bring such a welcome change from the sultry heat of the summer. So it's always fun to wait for the monsoon! And more fun when it's actually there!!
The sea was once our prehistoric home.
O how we adapted to its dark currents,
to its India-ink infinities,
chasing seaweed, driftwood and coral,
before belly-flopping onto dry ground.

Now, the sea threatens our ancestral home,
the sea that falls from the angry skies
with their charcoal-smudged infinities.
A swelling flood, chasing red alert,
destroying houses and lives; raining grief.

Once sea-bound creatures now drown at home,
ill-adapted to meet the flood's malevolent intent:
to purge the Earth of all who cannot resist
the rushing, rising mountains of waters,
before proclaiming its final conquest of India's ancient lands.

Now, only prayer will be our home, built on deepest despair.
Now, only God's omnipotent infinities
circle the mud-brown rapids of sludge
choking all who helplessly cross their path.
Only God can make Kerala and Tamil live again, as one, on dry, holy ground.
Soma Mukherjee Jun 2011
The sunset sky dazzling with the golden hues,
Taking bow in brilliant sparkle of experience
Is it not a ******, of the story so far, that was today?
Or is it building anticipation of the night yet to come.
Watch the days go, some proud of their accomplishments
Some leaving sighs of disappointments,
Leaving all in awe of its Amaranthine twists and turns
And the fortunate get to see the moon trying to steal the show from setting sun,
Oh she is such a show off, isn’t she, basking in reflected glory
Its magical, the sunset sky, Puzzling, sometimes just like a riddle,
Leaving the nature stunned and amazed
For it has been filling the canvas whole day with colours
And now the sunset threatens to hide them all
And in dark all the colours will be same
A cue for the wise.
Sunset sky has so much to offer,
is she not a fine example of how uncertain a life can be
Often reminding no matter what you planned,
there will be some unexpected returns
For End has its own brain, its own script
Charting its own course
So why just the beginning, every moment of the life should be grand,
meted with equal passion and fervor
She has been so clever; the sunset sky
Leaving Twinkling cryptic messages for the night sky
For even the dark has sparkle and hope if you keep your head up,
A constant reminder that exuberance is an attitude of deep, rich, warm hearts

**I want my sunset sky to be grand,
magical, and full of stories of my life that has been
And its memories to linger on in this world,
in the tomorrow and a few more years to come
the fountain of poetry
e'er threatens to dry up
yet the inspirational words of Beryl Dov Lew
re-supplied my dwindling cup

with his advice duly given
my expression's reservoir fills to capacity
in a most generous
flow of endless verbosity

had he of not encouraged me
to keep the pen's ink spilling
my Hello Poetry pages
would be empty of shilling

with a mentor of Beryl's calibre
positively re-invigorating my oft dry fountain  
I am ever assured of a verse
brimming unto the highest mountain
#inspiration  #mentor  #fountain
april 11 1952 Mom gives birth to beautiful blue-eyed girl Mom takes name Penelope from Great-Grandma Penny who died week after Odysseus was born Mom and Dad are not educated to know greek mythology and homer it is odd coincidence they picked Odysseus’s name out of book of names thought it sounded strong  anglo old money Odysseus is thrilled to have sister to share childhood with when Odysseus is 6 and Penelope is 4 Grandma Betty invites them to visit her house block away she serves them oatmeal cookies orange juice shows them her latest small painting of field brightly colored flowers birds in sky lower left corner is horse or dog painting is still wet she shows them magazine picture she copied from Odysseus realizes it is pony in lower left corner when they return home Mom yells at Odysseus “where were you? why didn’t you think to call or leave message with Teresa? do you have any idea what a nervous wreck you’ve made me!” she slaps hard Odysseus’s face reprimands “don’t i have enough to worry about without you pulling something like this? you only think about yourself it’s so typical of your selfishness wait until your father gets home he’ll deal with you now go to your room!" every time he gets caught in mistake he is punished the drill is Mom gets upset with Odysseus flies into rage yells slaps him around threatens him with Dad gets home has a few drinks Mom tells Dad explodes beats Odysseus Mom is judge jury Dad is executioner afterward Dad goes back into living room pours another drink sits in celadon green lounge chair Odysseus is trained to wipe tears put on pajamas go to Dad apologize admit fault promise to be good kisses Dad and Mom goodnight goes to bed that is the drill

Odysseus is barefaced curious exploring discovering tries to connect with Mom and Dad but they are unavailable they are his parents not his friends as far back as he can remember he lives in world of “it’s safe free here Mom and Dad can’t see us” children are smarter than parents think figure ways to self-protect something stirs inside Odysseus creature separate from Dad and Mom whatever psychological or emotional patterns are developing he does not understand obediently goes along

Mom and Granny Mattie take Odysseus and Penelope to browse shops on oak street at one store little statuette like kind Granny Mattie collects catches Odtsseus’s eye he slips it in pocket on drive home he takes statuette out to show Penelope she asks where he got it Mom Granny Mattie overhear ask Odysseus where he got statuette he confesses took it from store Mom gets livid steers car back to oak street Granny Mattie insists “it’s just a figurine let him keep it Odysseus meant no harm i don’t see why you want to make such a big fuss Jenny!” Mom replies “he’s got to learn right from wrong!” they all return to store mom explains to sales clerk what son has done Odysseus hands back figurine apologizes when Dad gets home he dishes out punishment years later Penelope remarks “that was the first time i realized Odys you needed to reach out for something beyond the family”

Odysseus wants to die he is 7 years old and wants to die he knows his life is critically messed up wants new different existence person he is becoming is too error prone ruined already he is way too ******* himself Dad’s temper Mom’s criticisms subsequent self-absorbed social demands drive him to ideas of suicide Dad and Mom are too busy to notice Mom always uses sleeping pills placidal nebutal seconal miltown whatever is the latest Mom says she does not dream Odysseus guesses she does not remember her dreams on account of those pills everyone dreams years later Mom remarks i need sleeping pills to forget about you Odys as Mom describes “i run a formal beautiful household” she delegates chores to weekly staff of brown skin ladies it is house of feminine décor matching pillows sheets pulled tight under elegant bedspreads everything put away in proper place furniture in precise order little dinner bell servant’s foot buzzer beneath Mom’s chair at dining room table maids in servitude once a week white woman with big shoulders foreign accent shows up to give Mom massage Mom is not to be disturbed during that hour Odysseus knows first names of each laundress cleaning lady doormen deskmen garage men janitors caterers at holidays tall black effeminate John comes twice a month on sunday to cook serve traditional american breakfast along with fried bananas apples afterward he cleans up shines silver first 13 years of Odysseus’s life are lived in buildings with elevators staff of residence employees

Mom’s closet is vast with colors textures ground level hundred or more neatly arranged clear plastic boxes containing pairs of expensive shoes walls of imported French and Italian designer label dresses skirts suits blouses top shelf fashionable purses hats other feminine accoutrements also two large dresser chests filled with drawers of sweaters scarves girdles lingerie hosiery more accessories Mom often wears joy by jean patou arpege by lanvin chanel # 5 Mom shops at saks bonwit teller occasionally marshall fields within several years most of her buying will be done at fantastico, exclusive import boutique on oak street clothes jewelry cosmetics are important to her but most important is hair she prefers bottle blonde color wears hair trimmed medium length fluffed up sprayed fixed as do many women of her generation social stature she visits beauty salon twice a week must enjoy letting her guard down with other women while being served by homosexual men her hair prevents her from driving in car with top down all other outdoor activities that might threaten hairdo Penelope mimics Mom though she keeps her things in less tidy fashion she is being groomed to be queen like mom maybe Mom is more sympathetic to Penelope because both innately share female experience Mom portrays herself as lady of elegance Penelope is different from Mom more earthy bumbling routinely scratches Odysseus’s records leaves her drawers messy Mom takes baths so her hair will not be disturbed Dad takes showers Odysseus and Penelope take baths together then apart as they grow bigger ****** is normal in Schwartzpilgrim household Dad hints reserve Odysseus follows takes showers Mom leaves bathroom door open while bathing she is constantly changing clothes traipsing around in robes slippers elegant silk lingerie
Äŧül May 2013
Spring came full of rejuvenating hope to ward off the chilly winters,
It came replete with dreams of days much brighter,
It came to exfoliate & gently scrub away the old ones,
Yes it came to make way for the new flowers.

It stayed till the sun was high up there in the shy sky,
It stayed till the sun burnt holes in human pockets with bills of electricity,
It stayed till the sun was cursed for being out there with AC's to help the well to do,
Yes it stayed there till it was the merciless month of June.

Summer then took over in July by burning animal & human skins alike,
It even did not spare a patch of cool water in the naked-barren lands,
It made animals cry & people kneel down and call for help,
Yes their calls weren't left unanswered and soon it was the rainy monsoon.

Monsoon - the rainy season lashes upon the oven hot land in August's end,
It eases the hot temperatures and releases peafowls in mating,
It even threatens to drown the ill-prepared cities of India by flood-waters,
Yes Mumbai is just one example of how Indian people want the autumn to come.

Autumn - the reliever from torrid showers,
It is an exception in the Indian season cycle,
It is neither that torrid monsoon before it nor is it the hostile winters succeeding it,
Yes it is a short calm time just before the winter season extreme in the north.

Winter season as we've learnt to call it in schools,
It sends chills down the spines of Indian people all over,
It is harsh only in the north but the other people simply don't have tolerance or genes,
Yes I love the beautiful winter season so what if once it nearly took my life while on trekking.
A rough description of the five main seasons in Indian season cycle, spring season extended over its timespan.
My HP Poem #269
©Atul Kaushal
spysgrandson Mar 2012
Goodbye Charlie, Hello Vietnam.

Nineteen. I was ten and nine. Two A.M. Landed in some muggy, putrid place. Between honor and complete disgrace. Smelled like that for sure.  Issued tools of our trade. Heard the true sound of “rockets red glare”. Had us hunkering in bunkers all night. ******* in our helmets. Holding our ears. ****, the first night. Welcome to Vee-et-nam.

Morning. Sunshine and quiet. Except the rap from old timers. “Newbies“. New jungle fatigues. Newbies. New M-16. Clean boots. All day the old timers, telling each other how these newbies had their cherry popped. First night in country and the biggest *** mortar attack they had ever seen. Heard. Heard, I said. Yeah. What newbie? Now you have heard the real rockets’ red glare. That’s what you heard, Newbie.

I get it. Newbies are ****. We are **** and they aren’t going to waste a breath telling us anything. Watch. Watch and learn. I hope. Lines. Lines to get our teeth rinsed with fluoride. Lines. To chow. To get more shots. To in country orientation. Lines. Memorize lines. Lines to get ammo. Lines to get orders.

No line at the outhouse. Gray three seater. Heat roasting our ****. Old timer kicked the planks before he sat down beside me in the stench. I asked the question but only with my eyes. Kick the planks before you sit down so rats won’t bite your ***** off. Kick the planks to scare off the rats. Rats. The size of possum. Not an exaggeration. Possum rats. Rat possums. Who the hell knew? Just kick the planks. Save your *****.

More lines. Then darkness. Then more booms. Not incoming. Our own. 1-5-5s. Learn the difference newbie so you don’t crap your drawers for nothing. That’s the boys in that artillery firebase keeping Charlie awake for the night. Returning the favor. Charlie. Sounds like a name you would call someone who was a buddy doesn’t it? Charlie. Victor Charlie. V C. ***** Charlie. **** Charlie. Charlie this and Charlie that. Oh, Charlie would eat that rat.

My first duty. Guarding Charlie. Prisoner with leg blown off at the knee in our clean smelling dispensary. Hands strapped to bed rails. MP and I assigned night shift. Keep each other awake . Looked at Charlie. Charlie looked at me. Smirk. Then spit. Landed on my boot. My newbie boot. Not a newbie boot anymore. Charlie squirms. Spits again and misses. MP gets up and threatens to bash Charlie in Charlie’s little head. Medic comes and gives squirming, smirking, spitting Charlie shot of good drugs. Charlie doesn’t spit on medic. Charlie gets drowsy. I get drowsy. MP falls asleep. I stand up. Newbie afraid to fall asleep on guard duty. I wake the MP before shift change. Charlie is up. Smirk, smirk. Thus spoke Charlie. The only conversation I ever had with Charlie.

Medic says Charlie getting on a bird to someplace. Can’t remember where. Anyplace.   Charlie leaving and me staying. Ain’t that a hoot--all it cost him was a boot. Envy is a word I learned that day. Cost him part of a leg medic says when I tell him I wish I was Charlie just then. Had heard tales about people shooting off their toes to get out of the ‘nam. “**** tales” I would call them, since I heard so many in those gray crappers. Rats. Possum rats and your *****. ***** or a limb? Did I really want to be him? I don’t really remember. I didn’t want to be there--somewhere between honor and complete disgrace. Bye Charlie. Hello Vietnam.
mostly true story from a while ago--the only short story I have posted here

— The End —