From Red to Black

In the camp of the undead soldier, torches blaze with great fury as though an anger hides on the wind, whipping embers and dragging flames into the air with great points that swirl in funnels toward the blackness of night.

The air is dense with the fire’s heat, but the ground grows cold and there is a damp chill in the air that makes mortal flesh yearn for shelter and comforts. There is nothing like that in this camp, however — no relief or fellowship, at least not for her. She pauses in the distance and takes a last look at the velvet blanket of sky above and beyond, speckled with celestial diamonds. She must force her heart to stone. As much as she wishes to recall their time in the pale caress of the star-cast glow, she leeches the feelings from her very bones. The sun and moon have danced across the sky many times since that time, and he has changed from light to dark; from red to black.

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The Butcher’s Bones

Crushing, bleak and break,
the mechanisms of my matter
are corroded by salt —
they are choked with sand.

Ripping, tear and rake,
the solutions of my mind
are dry from wind —
they are thieved by sun.

River, ocean and lake,
the brittle hull of my bones
arches for touch —
it is weathered by surf.

Yet I am tethered by the gull’s cry,
a wrinkled goodbye —
you are terrible in ropes and weaves and cuffs.

Hope pleads the darkness from the butcher’s eye,
lips feed a thousand lies —
I cannot conjure love enough or trust
      before time turns our hearts to dust.

string lights on a skylight backdrop

1994

If you need me, I’ll be right here,
right where you left me,
in ’94.

Familiar voices within,
somewhere stuffy, smokey, dim,
splashed with string lights,
right, they blink pink and red and white.

Incense and oil,
your breath in toil, the scream,
my ears ring, and rings cling,
and my lips shudder right.

Love … I’m right here,
right where you left me,
in ’94.

Dewy face, hyperspace,
curls and a joker’s grin,
the palms, throat, and thighs,
trapped right in the well of those eyes.

Melted ice and sweat,
the pulse and beat a threat,
such frenzy and heat,
and secrets to keep, but we’re right.

Alright.

Right here,
right where you left us,
in ’94.

The Song

You can’t live on it — the feeling.
The contraction of a guitar string,
Such anticipation.
The tankard’s dark, swirling abyss,
Pulse softening.

You can’t live on it —
The flowering of the voice,
Mighty introduction.
The kaleidoscope of colors,
Primal attraction.

You can’t live on it —
The pained pleading chorus,
Lingering mourning.
The ear’s consumption,
Desirous firing.

You can’t live on it —
The final note’s breaking,
Grappling desperation.
The ghostly vibrations of silence,
Deafening denial.

You can’t, you can’t —
Not but for those moments of song,
Pitch pointed, perfect and pure,
Magnetic and hypnotizing in its way.

In those moments you can, you can.
You can live on it.

Stay

Stiffen your arm and raise the sword.
When the monster of weariness grabs hold,
When life’s demons fire your heart,
Scuff your heel and take stance.
When chaos bawls and the winds of loneliness roar,
When the dark endures and battle blood flows,
Grit your teeth and persist.

Forever the dawn breaks as night’s child.
Hope spills sunlight on your spirit,
Warmth in your eyes,
Flashing silver on your chest,
So, stay.
No matter the trial or beast.
Stay.

The Illusionist

Black strands and white hands.
Moments drip, raindrops in time,
and stars glimmer for orphans, charting a course for home.

Exhalations in the drab and lonely night,
frosted breath, solitary, such secrets,
revealing cold mists, admissions, from summer to fall to winter again.

So long.
The truth as it ticks and burns and waits,
and is withheld.
Such a fleeting thing,
devoured by the maelstrom.

So sad.
A lined brow, a river’s etching by the eyes,
but blue, blue, blue — lamenting lost light.
Something revealed, seen, known and cherished.

He is me,
even in this heat with cold lips,
the delicate tendrils of my heart stuccoed to the illusion.
Black strands and white hands.

We are Like Ravens

The raindrops are gray ravens, their call resounding in his ears and brushing at his full cheeks with a feathery and woeful constant. He exhales spirit mists into the blue dawn and rests his tired spine against the slippery wooden bones of the hut’s exterior. There has been a sound in his mind since she left, something like a sigh, a whisper, or a wanting suggestion of desire on the wind, the kind that whistles through the trees and around mountain passes during the winter’s coldest chill.

He pushes his bare toes into the black earth and reaches, eyes closed, for the worn wooden lyre at his side. The sky’s weeping moistens and swells the soundbox and bridge, and like tears on lashes, it slips off the horsehair strings. He is a dark echo of Freyr, conjuring the day’s weeping with his existence, but revolving and drowning in this boggy domain so far in his mind from anything that resembles a shining sun.

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We are Like Wolves

There’s a feeling in the air. Something dense, full, and saturated with memory, sadness, and desire. A cutting wind whips around the wooden threshold and the cold assaults the flesh like thousands of pricking daggers. It’s tireless, unrelenting, and impossible to escape or ignore.

              Cast the runes on the white furs. Cast the runes till the spirit stirs.

Orange shimmering flames spark and pop in the middle of the small room — their heat colliding with the damp freeze that pours into the hut through aged cracks and carefully aligned seams and beams. The sensation of snow is all around, despite the fire, fresh straw, and pelts that pack the space.

His deep exhale emits feathery apparitions, and with each breath, it’s as though the pieces of time that comprise him are wrestling to break free and realize a place somewhere in the immortal plane.

              Cast the runes for the fighter lost. Cast the runes for the heart betossed.

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The Anniversary

Lines flag the throat and knees are noise,
but I remember the time back —
the easy sun when we were young.

Rotations and revolutions see tender changes,
from flowers, jewels and racing hearts,
to coffee drips, notes and evening’s tired hellos

There’s wear on the bridge and the back aches —
sameness fades as time rides the tide,
but I remember the time back —
when the fresh snows fall, or the calm rain,
the pour of a drink in a clean cup, or the ocean waves.

We, together, a timeless love song
that I cannot be without.