He marvels before the irony, feeling
guilty for the guilt; he knows, surely,
that it is the guilt keeping him alive,
an aphrodisiac and a bane staying
his executioner’s hand

Warning of the wreckage wrought,
aware of the afterthought, that this
poison in its wake would spread plague-
like through the innocent veins of the
hitherto guiltless

So he can only wait and anticipate, for
the saprogenic day when he will no
longer feel that which drives him, when
the hangman no longer need stand as
vigilant crier and heroic tear drier

What a cruel and fantastic guardian
he’s found in this towering killer,
this friend and wish fulfiller, this
fiend and turmoil tiller, a beast –
logical, paradoxical, and defeatable

Because he knows well the irony here,
too, the axiomatic twist of this dark
tale, for he could stop the guilt at any
time and would have never of ever and
ever of naught to feel its iron clutch

art: 60588 by Jarek Kubicki

tsk tsk tsk

tsk tsk tsk wagged the metronome
who watched over
her delicate

ting ting ting sang the ivory
as she taunted
the sweet baby

no no no seethed the pedagogue
he was a talentless,

sob sob sob rang the little girl
forced alone
with the tutor
so cruel

psst psst psst whisp’d the wretched man
these secrets
you mustn’t
tell a soul

rip tear bruise I’m your biggest fan
dear, i promise
to you
the lead role

sob sob sob the instructor cried
told police
he’d done
nothing wrong

click snap squeeze they cuffed knowing he lied
and wondered
when they’d stop hearing
that song

wink wink wink shot the little girl
her parents
would now take
the lead

wash wash wash her hands of vicarity
misjudging her,
a dire assumption

Morning flower

He rests the white flower in its waiting vase

Vaugely smiling upon the brown, darkened soil

Then sets the arrangement in its hallowed place

And waters the morning garden, ever so loyal

At once a thunderous storm begins brewing

And sets to air an aroma that he could hug

So lovely, he can’t help ‘fore his eyes start dewing

While he frantically looks for his favorite mug

*my obligatory wp coffee post

Pretty smiles, pretty walks

When he’s distracted – by a pretty smile
or pretty walk – when ego has distracted
id, he senses the existential moments

Moments when his evanesce into periphery
isn’t paramount; he’s inconspicuous in
a spotlight, living amongst the living

Not a shadowed pock at its center,
quaquaversally thrusting hands with
fingers of hands in fractal perpetuity

But a being like any other, with the
same chances and lack of chances,
iustitia and prudentia upon his shoulders

Then nature takes hold, quite without his
own intervention, rampaging id reminds
him who he is, what he is, how he is

Reminds him that pretty smiles seek
out pretty smiles and pretty walks travel
in vastly different circles

So his eyes fall upon his path, his heart falls
out of favor, his walk leads him tangentially,
and his id bears the only smile

He’ll exist in this life out of focus, and
remain off-center of attention, before he
finally disappears in a blur

art: Verklärte Nacht by Antonio Palmerini

Welcome mat

Her serrated scissor smile bares auriferous caps and barely concealed rubies on artificially plump lips, as she pours pyrite pleasantries over late night, lamplit sidewalks and creeping, drive-by lechery

She’s made threats of paper dolls to ensnare desperate secret keepers into paying for secrets and keeping nothing else, and spit out flurries of giant snowflakes for those who can only afford to supplement her habits

Morpho perch above her unscrupulous, squinting eyes, as she chain smokes with clinquant claws buried beneath the peeling paint of baroque gaud; buried within the backhands and promised lands of they who force feed her

Dressing half her age, and getting half the pay, from men that project more hate than she can reflect; she’s stuck in her own honey trap, stirring in the bitterness through the cyclic repetition of septic recompense

Sometimes when the night is still, she’ll lie in bed listening to her chest echo the steady, stalwart footfalls of approaching Death, and she wonders when he’ll grace the welcome mat she’s placed before her door


Pretender jester

The princess prances down the halls as if
she owns them one and all, self-anointed
so, by perceiving princely bold advances
and apparent surreptitious glances

Pretender to the throne, she insists
that it’s her wits that got her there,
as she’s wont to wear her tight gown and
her polished, flaxen crown

She knows her best chances are when her
cover is judged, surreptitious glances
in the magic mirror, making sure her
natural make-up’s not smudged

She thinks her prince will let her rule,
but a prince wouldn’t marry the court
fool, she’ll just be one fool of two,
and a court has no need for two jesters

A couplet without a rhyme, a true prince
sees past her prime, to a distant time, he
can imagine a scene with his coming queen
who needn’t preen to be seen

O’er kingdom and land, they’ll rule hand
in hand, battle armor in matching sets, no
wants or regrets, and together laugh as the
jester dances and prances in their hall

art: Jester by Victoria Francés
daily prompt: Narcissism

Premature complications

They’re premature complications

And predictive stipulations

Of mentally strained gyrations

In infinite preparations

Overwrought and overthinking

Details sought and in them sinking

Not yet moments but in a blinking

Overwhelming disaster linking

Ever breathing, but forget to respire

So smell the roses, and duck the crossfire

Read the daily prompts and let them inspire

Then write this dumb poem so your brain can retire

Nun the wiser

She expected the spider’s web to shimmer, having felt the draft an instant before. Nothing more than a peripheral afterthought, as she prepares her Rosary, in the heat of mid-afternoon. As she prepares to pray for him.

Her cell is modestly decorated in passing time and empty space. A single bed, made each morning with military precision, lies unkempt. Small depressions mark the eternities spent kneeling at her thirdhand prie-dieu.

Dust glistens in the light filtering through the open window. A mesmerizing breeze ushers in visitors destined for the spider’s web, in natural brutality. The room is otherwise closed, like the minds that came before. A requirement of its occupancy.

Staring out to the ancient oak, upon which sits an empty nest, she contemplates the wretched twisting of leaf and twig, where once were babies cradled. Its time has surely past; probably will chance never again to bear the young. Can that be true?

She feels the wooden beads between her lithe fingers, and wonders how many decades have past between them. How can this simple chain hold all of the mysteries, when it leaves only space for twenty?

Each tear in her fractious faith, each breath in her silent servitude, each heartbeat in her doubtful dedication, she counts. Numbers much greater than twenty, and mysteries all. Another tear falls, landing on the crucifix.

Rust has stained her hand red, as the peccant years passed with these vacillations. She looks down as her thumb runs over the engraved, nearly worn smooth, Made In China on the back. Not joyous, or sorrowful, or glorious, or luminous; it’s just a mystery.

A rap at her cell door lifts her out of reverie. It creaks open and the new Father greets her with a trepidatious smile. She returns it. Answers only ever come when the mind wanders freely, when not chained by the chain.

She diverts his attention to the bird’s nest outside. Extols its beauty and ultimate sadness, while moving toward the door. She prayed, and he came. The sound of the lock prompts the Father to turn inquisitively.

He stammers as she slides off her habit, letting her raven hair fall over her shoulders. She raises a red-handed finger to her lips and begins to disrobe. He backs away, but he’s young, impressionable. She places a hand on his chest, his heart is galloping…

And a rap at the door startles her from the unexpected slumber. Freedom is not a sin, sin is simply a choice of freedom. She dries her eyes before welcoming entry. Then the door creaks open, and she smiles as the new Father crosses her threshold.

Lipstick kiss

of a lipstick kiss

and requisite reflections

on waves of discontent;

not a lover’s quarrel, merely

coercion by happenstance

blown through the trees;

bearing water red-handed

at the shore’s summoning – a

souvenir of the dalliance – only

to drown beneath the weight

of a lipstick kiss

floating on bubbles by marianna_a

A bit o’cheek

try as he might
to keep it supressed
this torturous feeling
deep in his breast

it’s infecting his mind
his heart and his soul
in danger of changing
to diamond from coal

the comments and likes
for wrongs that he’d write
made him feel good
and showed him some light

the senations are gross
and not quite to par
but he’ll never admit
that they carry him far

how many followers
e’er read what he’s sent
he feels like a rich man
so, like one percent

thus a hid agenda
this thanking surprise
is doomed in the end
to fall on deaf eyes

alas ne’er a quitter
he’ll fight to amend
this wanton violation
until his bitter end

he’ll brood in the darkness
and spill all his ink
but of surrounding lit candles,
he’ll gratefully think


Movie night

Moonray nocturne
at sweltering dusk,
sweat bedighted lines
from the pale actor’s
whip, rake his torso

Obdormition onset
by ignavy, recumbent
on his bed, mesmerized
by the spinning blades

The rotation mingles
with blueish hues and
shadowed cues; dust
provides the grain
in this 16mm strobe

A movie projection
flickers to life, of life;
choices and decisions,
questions and questions
and confessions

Obsessive palinoia
righting the wrongs
into award-winning
fictions; speeding ictus,
ceding critics

Spinning blades, subtle
invitations made, keratin
knives and bloody palms,
paresthesia spreading
with breaking dawn

Celluloid swatting,
end of the reel, marks
start of the real;
until again movie night
comes around

Rolling hills and butterflies

He plods along
his head hung low,
his past and future
he drags in tow

And dreams as hope
then slowly dies,
of rolling hills
and butterflies

With a steady gait,
this fool of time,
just plods along
life’s hellish climb

And left alone
he bears his wait,
he bares his soul,
and bears his hate

Thus in his mind
he wants to hide,
with wings of dust
o’er pastures wide

Until his steps
lead him one day,
where he can go
to fly away

Tombstone garden

Imbroglio bedlam –
madness wing, twin
windows barred behind
a wilting cinquefoil

Twisted linen ropes
escape each, abseiling to
the tombstone garden where
within the pistil presses

Genuflect beneath sacrificial
temples sullied by questions,
reverent before silent halls
unadorned by answers

Guiding the supplicant
hand of god to take a
life, to free a life of god-
given mayhemic servitude

art: Depression by xfoshizzlexx


she bore
a pedigree of insanity
familial psychosis
incarcerations for generations
by the state of disrepute

she grew ocellated skin
to watch all those around
congenital paranoia from
generations of incarcerations;
and absorb she did

news in the common room
of war and isolation
famine and torture
religion and murder
greed and lies

magma flowed through her
she’d be the catalyst against
the state of disregard
a state in motion –
always in motion –

inventing ways to silence her,
as they did her progenitors,
and their’s before, criminals
creating laws and roadblocks
spreading rumors, violent threats

marching their army of
dead heads,
their zombies of terror
homegrown terror, and
she struggled with

a pedigree of humanity;
fighting fire with fire
that broke the laws
created by the ever moving
chameleonic chaos

to protect the madness,
the power, until
she couldn’t fight
couldn’t speak, couldn’t

incarcerated in silence
watching the world burn,
the minority of insanity
generated her state
of disrepair


slight of mind
from others blind
slipping grip, and left behind

bear nine tail
no pleading wail
shifting whip, of self assail

slight the land
oft then brand
slitting drip, will not withstand

noose the pall
with echo’s call
splitting lip, his id befall

scars and stains
of shattered brains
stripping thrip, of what remains

Is another man’s treasure

Slip through the night he must, challenging the darkness in corner and alleyway, twixt apothecary and bakery, ‘tween hovel and cesspit.

I must embrace the space where shadows lurk, if I’m to quest successfully this night.

…he whispers to himself, knowing his treasure is nigh.

He pauses to hearken for a rumble of the dragon overhead; the beast has been here recently, the air is befouled by its mephitic stench, so he mustn’t tarry long.

It’s a still eve, music and melodist can be heard from yonder alehouse, the varlets and ruffians who frequent the place are almost as dangerous as the dragon, when toped with a bumper of mead.

Go with caution, lest ye suffer the recompense of a misfortunate existence…

But ere he continued, forsooth, ere his next breath, he espied a patrol approaching. He cowers, willing himself into a common rat. They shone their torches thither he hid, but appear not to espy him, or not to care enough to stop.

He makes haste across the final leg of his journey, whitherward his fortune lay in wait, passing the strumpets enticing bucks, chapmen begging for doit, and cutpurses absconding with their take.

Nary feet from his prize, he freezes in terror…

A steed approacheth! That can only mean a knight is on the march, he would surely run me through! Mayhaps he seeks the same treasure as I!

He panics and begins to dig frantically through the rubble and refuse, and is elated to quickly come upon that which he seeks.

A tocsin briefly split the silence, as red and blue fulgurations swirl around him, whence the guard approacheth…

You ok, buddy? You must be freezing…

It matters not, he thinks. In his hand, he beheld the impetus of his quest. A fist-sized ruby, barely brown on one edge, but uncorrupt. Sweetly fragrant and nearly whole.

Dispatch, we have a 10-73, at the corner of 10th and Broadway, under the el; seems harmless enough, but his faculties are definitely impaired; probably lives in one of these nearby alleys, by the looks of him…

His wild hair and beard whipped with the frigid, gusting wind; while his emaciated frame struggled to cleave to the rags on his back. Esurient, he lifted the browning, half-eaten apple to his lips…

…and 10-85, dispatch. How about we leave the sirens off, I have no desire to spook him again.

We’ll get you out of here, pal. Just hang in there; we’ll get you someplace warm.

He was unconcerned by the train rumbling overhead, pulling with it noxious fumes from the street. A blanket was laid across his shoulders to shield the winter chill, as he licked his bony fingers. Not even his core remained. This night he dined like a King.

art: by Lee Jeffries

Naked poetry

As I encroached the morning mere, a lonely pock on its pristine shore, I espied a damsel knelt naked at the water’s edge, beneath heaven’s reproach

She had yet to notice my presence and I was disinclined to disturb her respite, howbeit I could not avert my marvel

She beguiled me with every move, envincing ballads in elegantly folded hands resting upon her lap and elegies with the downward cast of her tilted gaze

With a cinquain, she reached for the gold, cordate lavaliere that adorned her gracile neck, detaching it with utmost fluency

Hinged delicately at its tip, she opened fully an obcordate half, though what was held within the periapt, I knew not

A miniature hourglass simulacra when opened, flowed not with sabulous moments, but salinity she fed in its stead; then a lacrimosa that only streamed widdershins, betrayed the inscape of her torment

And I found myself reifying the sorrow as it obscured her visage, shedding my own time with hers

She had a threnody where her heart should be, and I was appetent to tear her limn from limn

But at once she stood in an enjambment of grace, her bistred sonnets waved with the lamentous wind, her satin, laced gown rippled in obeisant verse

Then a faint, determined plash in the water nigh, ere she turned empty-handed; and with the zephyr fared to the circumjacent wood, sans a backward glance

She was poetry, naked for the world to read, and reperfused my wizened heart

art: Figurative portrait of backlit woman by Daniel Gerhartz

Lunacy skewed

My eyes open wide, to a chair I am tethered
The blood & the gore, what tests have I weathered
Instruments all around me, infused with a gleam
But wretched, like his smile, they’re surely unclean

His spindly, fluid fingers moving so gracefully
Skillfully adept with the tests that he does to me
He pokes and he prods the depths of my mind
While humming some tune of a childlike kind

He removes the happy and he removes the pain
He flips them around and puts them back again
I struggle to escape, but the chances are grim
While he gleefully watches me watching him

His eyes hold madness and his smile is skewed
No pity therein, no acuity eschewed
He caresses the tools, a careful choice made
As he begins his approach, I begin to fade

Consciousness lost, to this world that I feel
Then my eyes open wide, atop a bed made of steel
I’m strapped and I’m gagged and now I can see
Two flowing white coats standing guard over me

One with a clipboard and subtle nodding head
The other with a needle, waiting next to my bed
They seem to agree that again I need sleep
And then they inject the black, liquid creep

I tremble to hear a childlike singsong hum
And know I’ve returned to the place I’d begun
I fear that this cycle is where I’ll always be
Not knowing what’s real and what’s real lunacy

The forest path

He once walked the
forest’s path beneath
its saber arch, listening
to the march of crisp,

falling leaves in the
distance, electrified
by the banshee wails
of crickets keening

through the trees, lulled
into serenity by the
songbird’s reverie
Then from a voluptuous

horizon, came she;
variegating his dwelling
in silvery pendalogues,
poetical prisms, and

sombrous piquancy; wetting
his canopy into myriad
resplendent waterfalls,
accompanying his lullabies

with subdued percussive salt
Until her tempest fell; wild
violence unburdened by
loyalty, deafening howls

disencumbered by honour,
rending a lightning seared
wasteland of stochastic
devastation, clouded by jejune

jealousy and capricious char
His is a forest of memories,
smothered by oppressive
towering rampikes; skeletal

dreams piercing once
vibrant flora, longing
to caress the azure skies
beyond their handless

grasp, seen only when he
ventures paths within
Alone he waits in quietus,
a velleitous tree dying

in the barren wildwood; no
melodies to share his
company, no honour guard
to inhume his bones; his

roots trapped by the soil’s
filth, his marrow decayed
by the forest’s corruption


secreting a saline soliloquy
while the tambour calls to war
immersed in inferno insurgency
riding shotgun ‘bove rapid ichor

vaguely expressing the pressure
behind a stiff kamikaze gale
deters not the coming agressor
or the inexorable coffin nail

mannequin’d from mental vacuity
as the terror takes its toll
resigned to wishful torpidity
panic’s stealing another soul

the battlefield suddenly empty
waiting in a room now mine
until the counter calls to me
now serving number sixty-nine

Cubbies and corners

In the darkest parts

of the starkest hearts

In the cubbies and corners

a rebellion starts

From the silent dreams

to the violent screams

Therein you’ll find

these desperate schemes

For the madness mends

when the sadness ends

When the will is broken

as it no longer bends

Then a hidden seed

grows the bidden need

To succumb to the call

of the forbidden deed

What is the reason for being

Happy people aren’t trying to mock you
Happy people don’t even notice you
Or they fear being swallowed by the likes of you

Couples don’t hold hands to smite you
Couples hold hands to be attached
Or to keep the other hands from wandering

The woman isn’t parading for your eyes
The woman is parading for her own eyes
Or for her rival, best friend’s

The man isn’t posturing for your enjoyment
The man is posturing for his verile egoism
Or to fulfill his inherent simplicism

They aren’t interested in what you have to say
They praise you to flaunt their magnaminity
Or to entice you to flaunt yours to them

Light isn’t there to pierce the darkness
Light is there for the enlightened
Or for those who can’t see in the dark

The world doesn’t care that you’re here
The world doesn’t even know you exist
Or in its death throes has forgotten

The truth is unconcerned by your beliefs
The truth is cold, unerring adamant
So you have your own truths there to protect you

The gambler

Gimme your damn wallet

Said the middle-aged pyknic, in a slow and deep cadence. A clearly edacious black man, with an air of dumbfounded innocence. His pinguid complexion bled rancid stains beneath rolls and rotund. While a mayfly’s attention echoed in his cleanly shaven dome.

Gimme your damn wallet

A macilent, black youth wearing a white, tank-top and a minacious gaze. The gold-toothed bruxist, seethed the words with venomous bravado. He was a sheep in wolf’s clothing, surrendering to a survival instinct that perhaps worked better in darkness, than a well lit room.

Gimme your damn wallet

The hoary, flocculent patches of his otherwise dark hair, betrayed his age; as much as the tired wisdom reflected in his watery, bloodshot eyes. His measured, nonchalant delivery, showed he’d been here before; he knew the routine. A gelid, gliding stream hidden within a sinewy, ebony derma.

Gimme your damn wallet

An obviously hispanic accent, flourished each syllable with susurrus threats. He had coriaceous skin, covered in a black, hirsute down almost as thick as the monochrome tattoos constellated across his aggressive frame. His bandoline hair, was pulled back into a ponytail that hung away from his heavily inked neck, as his jaw protruded forward in defiance.

Gimme your damn wallet

Chittered the glaucope, in a rapid, pauseless utterance. His cyanic eyes darted vagariously around the room, from above rubicund, haughty cheeks. Nervous, but in an unperturbed way. Like a confident gambler betting on a sure thing, but harboring a morsel of realistic doubt. An anxious excitement anticipating a favourable outcome.

Do any of these voices sound like the man who killed your wife? asked the detective standing to his right in front of the 2-way, almost guarding the token white.

The old man wonders if they are aware of this gradience of guilt. Is this layered lineup learned after years in law enforcement, or is it bred into them at the academy? It could simply be a coincidence. Or it could be a bad seed.

He knew he was wasting time, but they all sounded the same to him. He didn’t see the perpetrator, and only heard – or only remembered hearing – that phrase.

Gimme your damn wallet

He deeply wanted justice, but would justice return his wife? His breathing had become operose. The detective looked at him with impatience, but otherwise little concern.

The old man didn’t know who it was, but the police surely must. This was just a formality, right? Everyone here is guilty of something. Did it really matter? He just wanted this to be over, so he could grieve.

Finally, he concluded that he had no choice but to gamble, too. So with a tearful gesture, and his voice caught in a viscous, bubbling tar, he noncommittally waved his trembling hand leftward, and muttered

It was him.

Tant mieux

She stitches her lips with little white lies
Then tastes wet iron, as the silvered needles sway like windchimes
Beneath her noisome, tarnished words

Harboring an appetency for secrets and deceit
Her euphonious whiplash would beguile callers with playful dispraisals from sanguine smiles
Then she’d lie awake in her chamber, counting the bruises; accompanied only by the sillage of lust and loss

Scooped from beggar’s row, this maiden’s flaxen locks flowed in stark relief to the gutter and grime
More striking still, her brilliant, snowglobe eyes
Niveous orbs holding countryside châteaux, into which she’d escape amid the violent violations of her virtue

Now a subtle snarl ever cleaves these camouflaged lips that overbrim with her miasmic verse,
but only as her interrogations end, per the de rigueur of the oldest profession
The malison of a magdalen, forever gyved to her lot

A femme fatale armed with a buss and a bodkin
She’s an intelligencer hunting her abusers in an ambuscade of ambrosia
And sometimes, before her violent violations for their villainy, she sees them recall the countryside châteaux in her hoarfrost eyes

Tant mieux
They’ll find no refuge in those snowcapped sanctuaries, she knows all the hiding places
Her raison d’être was born in those bloody, tear-filled halls
And she takes great pleasure in providing them the tour

art by Losber C. Riera



We hide in their minds and look thru their eyes
Falsely accuse them with each new disguise
Ones tempered and steadfast, you’ll find on the way
But they fall the hardest and then longer they stay

They’ll try to find ways to set themselves free
To the light in the tunnel is where they will flee
Fret not when they pass since ever we’ll find
New darkness to hover, again making them blind

You’ll swell, little one, to ominous proportions
Be true to the lessons, shape their will in contortions
The faster you swarm their positive reflections
The sooner you’ll make the dark course corrections

Use hate and deceit to your heart’s desire
Throw fear and paranoia onto the burgeoned pyre
Shroud light that they see ‘hind shadows and guilts
And again their strength crumbles, decomposes, or wilts

Then sadness looked up to his mentor depression
And knew that one day there’d be total succession
New angles he’d find, which is always the key
To invent pristine shackles, so they’ll never be free

Blue birds

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land out of reach and
Lost to both you and I

Somewhere over the rainbow
Hopeless view
Where the dreams you’re a fool to dream
Never do come true

Someday day I’ll beg upon a star
To tell me what the reasons are
Remind me

Lest troubles flow like sanguine drops
Beneath my corpse as afterthoughts
That’s how you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds die
Birds fall broken from lost hope
Wondering why, oh, why?

If happy little bluebirds fly
But blue birds fail to answer why
What, oh, what hope have I?

Lyrics based on Over the Rainbow © 1939 EMI FEIST CATALOG INC


She was butterflies and sunny skies

In springtime’s summer air

She was snowflakes and frozen lakes

In late fall’s winter flare

She was bare trees and dying leaves

In summer’s autumn fling

She was dandelions and birds flyin’

In winter’s early spring

She was never there or anywhere

To observe at others’ pace

She was living life and passing time

In a walk while others race


Her evanescent sanity
An abruption of the psyche, hovered overhead
Dispersed in the brume of reality’s abyss
Maddening madnesses corralling sadnesses
As she surreptitiously clawed at her arm

A misstep bound to betoken suspicious eyes
They can’t discover, they can’t suspect
Lest her arms be girded and out of reach
She knew the game, she saw countless lose
She played it safe

Her atrabilious demeanour invited few visitors
Though undeniable pulcritude often diluted its effectiveness
And deluded newcomers among them
A blessing and a curse
But to her, merely another tool

Medications, formalities, manifold interruptions, her bane
Quidnuncs in her quietude
Peeking through the window in her door as they passed
Clipboards in hand, feigned insouciance branding their visage
She saw them gawking, wondering, with a fawn and a fleer

Was it pity? Fear? Were they drawn by their nescience?
Pellucid desire rent the men from their duties and oaths
Virescent gazes betrayed the ire of the orgulous femmes
Nurses they all, and they all know their charges

A clarion rap on the door reseated the abruption
Though, in truth, it could’ve been the second or third
Toilsome attempts to pierce her veil
It was getting more difficult to cleave to the world

“Shall we begin rounds, doctor?” she heard
while struggling to inhume the perfervid shade

She rose with lucent eyes and a dulcified tone
To illude the intruder
Together they’d survey the game’s losers
Impuissant in their padded rooms and leather straps
Wreathed in their own plumbless mists

And when barely they’d begun
Ere even their first whisper and scribe
Onto her arms the darkling itch

Sleeve redux

A chest that bears his emptiness

Which the blood-stain will profess

Soaked completely down to his sallow skin

Leaving no choice but to redress

There’s just one shirt that remains to him

The raiment in which he grieves

It’s black and burned and stained in tears

With sorrow adorning both sleeves

*I didn’t like the (rushed) first one; here’s a redux
*feel free to let me know which you think is better


*a fly lands on frog’s head*

Astonished by the daring impertinence of the fly,
the frog had little choice but to question him why

Why did you rest on my little green head? You know it’s my nature to eat you instead

I’ve nothing to live for in life anyway, so i thought I’d just hasten to my miserable last day

The frog could see that the fly was upset, it was as sad a small fly, as he’d ever met

What is it, dear fly, that makes you so sad? Your life, to me, doesn’t seem very bad

Everyone hates me, and shoos me away, they always berate me, and I’ve no home to stay; they say I’m unclean, and carry disease, without understanding, the swatter they seize

The frog thought for a time

Try to be happy with the thing that you are, not waste time and worry with things you are not; it by itself can carry you far, and can one day improve your given life’s lot

My friend, I don’t see what it is that you mean, I have many eyes and only see what they’re seeing

There’s nothing I’d not give to soar through the sky, zipping and zooming through the air, dear fly

But you can swim the waters, they too blue and deep, and over every land and hill you can leap

But in the waters I’m bound by my lungs and my breath, in the sky to my eyes, there is no such depth; and you needn’t leap o’er the land or the hill, when all the blue skies you reap at your will

When all’s said and done, the best we can be, is who we are in the moment, not what others can see; make the best of life’s gifts and cherish surprise, throw at small things no fits, and your happiness will rise

I think now, dear frog, I am able to see, why it’s not really bad when I’m just being me; thank you, my friend, for…


The fly was gone in a sticky tongue’s flash and the surprised, happy frog disappeared with a splash


A morn like yesterday, and the yesterdays before
Awake with indifference, with no reason for more
Until the time came, for what did I see
My words, no more my own, glaring back at me

Tremorous are the tantrums, in the atramental air
I could feel the vibrations, in the clouds forming there
Intense fulgurations, were blinding my sight
While blood boiling thunder, preempted delight

Grieving and seething, were the storms overhead
Leaving no respite, just right out of bed
This witness then wished it, was just a bad dream
‘fore stepping outside, to peaches and cream

The sky was a banquet, of beauty so rare
With sweetness and warmth, I’ll be dining up there
The nightmare was real, the suggestible no lie
Though I’ll feed my head, the comestible I spy

Take bits of my heart, to breed your false affection
Take shards of my soul, but not my confection
Take drops of my blood, to twist your own sentiment
But my peaches and cream skies, I’ll just dust with my peppermint

Now only a bad memory, and the day’s just begun
Saved by the sight of, a cloud adorned sun
Word thieves will be thieving, but I will go high
Instead I will dream of, a peaches and cream sky


She’s the fade of the smile when they turn away
She’s the burn in the red, puffy eyes
She’s the space between heartbeats
Not living nor dead
She’s the pause at the end of the sighs

She’s the track that remains from the path of a tear
She’s the nod to the voices unheard
She’s the lack of all passion
As he climbs in her bed
She’s the want that speaks not a word

She’s the change in a world that prizes accord
She’s the notion that yet bore the thought
She’s the rage in the cage
But she’s chained in her head
By the lessons that society taught


Perhaps an artisan’s chisel and hammer
may deconstruct the carefully concealed façade

Revealing rivulets of imperfection
mayhemically scarring limestone

The chert, befouling exquisite slate
by its mere existence and presence

Swirling impurities metamorphosed
from pressurized, complicatized layers

A frantic fractality of feints
fragmented for misdirection and survival

To some, presumptive beauty in stagnant veining,
forever frozen by its lusterless repose

But like the statue that exists in every
block of marble, his irrelevance is ever there;

You need only to hew away the
rough walls to reveal it


Adorned in his button down
The curve of her back
As she eagerly leans over her lap
Where his freshest open wound lay
A flower to her nourishment drawn

A petal hovering above
Anticipating the page’s turn
Hair held up by a yellow no. 2
Save a languorously dangling curl
Persistently insistent on reading along

Backlit by the fleeing sun
Who perhaps fears his written word
She betrays her position
With a finger’s pause on the paper
As her lips subtly recall bearing witness

His pacing has stopped
It never gets him anywhere
Wounds notably heal as he watches her read
As he reads her every angle and nod
Ashamed that her eyes might see him witless

Eyes so intense and intelligent
Holding the page like it was his hand
A sparkle of dusk, dew manifests on the blooms
She understands the darkness before her
There’s hope hiding and love in the lines, a coming dawn

art: Story by Monika Luniak


Pendalogues of lamplight

Falling down the stony stares

Tripped when realization dawns

That no one really cares

Swaying absentmindedly

Inured to dulcet voices

Hollow in the lamplit room

Immured by darkened choices
– ◈ –

Pendalogues of madness

That feed the freshet down below

Turn crystal pools of sadness

To sanguine shores that overflow

Neither vestige of a memory

Nor stain of blood-soaked tear

All that’s left is emptiness

Like there was while living here


The shadow, swallowed by the darkened corner
The below average, bringing down the curve
The dead, overshadowed by the crying mourner
The straight-laced, out done by the crazy swerve

The teardrop, melting in the scalding shower
The single note, dropped in the concert hall
The whisper, lost beneath the voice of power
The mighty tree, unheard in the forest fall

The words, overlooked for the pretty pictures
The heart, hidden behind the wretched beard
The new, stepped over for the familiar fixtures
The potential, consumed by that what’s feared

The invisible, he; no one’s cup of tea


A contemptible, sloven cur, is he

Always quickest to pick a fight

Quicker still to hide or flee

A rabid dog without the bite

Time one day will put him down

Though his father began years before

While the bitch went off to lift her gown

A beaten pup, a father’s rage for the whore

He tries to put himself to sleep

This barfly, this drunken hound

Makes a living by being the creep

Hoping his time will soon come around

No love was shown this mangy beast

A mistake who was allowed to breathe

He’ll make the most of what is least

Until his fangs no longer seethe


“Good morning, honey…”

He was awakened by her quick good morning kiss
Just before receiving a second, from the hastily opened curtains
Both of them beamed, though he couldn’t divine which was brighter
But it seems they each were happy he was there, which always puzzled him

She stood briefly in front of the window, hands on her hips, a smirk on her lips, and an ever so slight hint of the devil in her brilliant eyes
It was definitely she, who was the brighter; and he vaguely wondered if the sun was jealous

Today marked two score and ten years for them, as a them; the old-time lingo always tickled her
This year, like every year past, she was determined to make it special
Even though, he thought, she made every day special

A family gathering
Children, grandchildren, and even a couple great-grand-rascals
All visiting for the feast that she meticulously planned
Food, games, and if he can convince her, maybe some singing with the family and the old baby grand

She’d need no convincing, of course, and she needn’t have gone through the elaborate preparations
He always told her she didn’t need to work so hard on these things; but he had to come to terms, many years before, that it was something she relished
And it was folly to interfere; though he did so occassionally, just for her cheek

She’d always smile and say, “Everyday is a new day for you to fall in love with me more.”
Silly girl, he thought, I fall in love with you more with each quick good morning kiss

“How do you feel, honey?”

Lost in her, he was. You hear it all the time, but she really was the love of his life. Not a day goes by, that he doesn’t worship the ground she floats over. His angel.


He couldn’t imagine ever leaving her side, nor she his. He would hold onto her forever, it was his favorite thing to do. After all, there were quite a few more days ahead, to fall in love with her more

“I think he’s gone, at the moment,” the nurse said politely, “Maybe you should come back in the afternoon.”
She paused briefly to glance out the window, trying to see what he sees. “When he loses himself, he’s usually out of it for a few hours.”

The woman nods, wipes away a tear, and gives him a quick good morning kiss, as they were leaving the room
The nurse briefly paused in front of the window, to check the area, and him, one more time

And he was awakened…
There she was, standing in front of the window, hands on her hips, a smirk on her lips, and an ever so slight hint of the devil in her brilliant eyes

Today was a special day, and oh how he loved being with her. There was nowhere else he’d rather be

*the door locks from the hallway*


Thank you for the smile, can you tell me where you got it? Oh, it’s yours? No wonder you give it so freely; it’s beautiful.

What a fortunate twist of fate, that you were bestowed such a gift. Many are not so lucky, that is to include me. Most are merely masks; insincere attempts for favor, hidden within parted lips and acceptable behavior. I’ve never been one to play the game, so I’m sorry, I don’t have my own to give in return.

From the inside, you say? But how did it get there? I can’t believe you were born with it. Surely, though, it must have been nurtured therein. Perhaps, as a youngling, your parents planted it, and fed to it love. Perhaps later, it rooted from societal zeitgeist. Have you always been told of your beautiful smile?

They are like razors to my jugular, vertical stripes astride the apple. Carving away the knot from this apple of no eye. Had I the unerring desire to leave this place, I’d surround myself with beautiful smiles. What better way to die…

Why did I thank you for the smile then? A rose proffers its beauty genuinely. Its only motive lies in a simple complexity, to have others bask in its profusion of grandeur; solipsistic maybe, but innocently so. Without calculation. Only an overwhelming overture to spread.

Ah! Your smile grew just then, as did the roses upon your cheeks. This is how I know it’s true, because of the company it now keeps. Without calculation, and it then spread.

As I said, I don’t have my own smile to give you, but that’s not to say that I can’t give you one anyway.

art: Smile Please by Rajasekharan Parameswaran


Hidden within his egoic forest, facing a barren laund, he struggles to recall the name of each wilted dream he sees through the rapidly forming mist

In his pocket, his left hand lets the last seeds of hope slip carelessly through deadened fingers, before ever having a chance to blossom; vague portents each of failures yet to flourish

By his side, his right hand hangs; a noose insouciantly strangling the posy of his most cherished memories; its thorns, poisoning the once fertile soil with each vermilion drop of unabashed sorrow

He wonders why his weakness wins, while he weeps his will away

Life has yet to make him stronger, so he waits for it to kill him


The inkwell tumbles over welkin and wit; her seething susurrations invite slumberous disregard

The puissant voluptuary, the sadist, the con, swallows me with magmatic lips, melting resolve and self-control

Fervid angst transudes through saucers into lacustrine stains and chilling horripilation; restrained by fists of silk and ichor ropes

She chases me through my tenebrous id, past the inescapable eyes of lecherous flies, the cunning guise of treacherous lies, and the emotional cries of sanguinolent dyes

Her torment reigns until sunlight laves the room, and she discards the ossified remains of this tremorous calyx

I watch in awe, rent and raw, through verdant diaphaneity, as others wake from restful repose, and I wonder how…

Yet, ever alone, I anticipate nightfall, lachrymal, and her unwelcome company

art: veil by Peterio


Every tear

A libation for my soul

Partaken by the earth

In its indefatigable rapacity to live and flourish

I give them freely for I love her

And not myself

She will grow beauty from the manure

And though I’ll not always have occasion to smile

Upon her artistry

I will weep

For the trees

And the seas

And my soul

Knowing her masterpiece bears a piece of me


The mallet struck the nascent ore
Imbued with sweat from every pore
His forge he pledged to land and king
With pride and blood his anvil’d sing

He bore the scars of battles won
Of valiant men ‘fore woodness come
Their lust for gore he’d not forget
Nor haunting cries that flactchet met

So imbued his boy through tale and deed
The will to fight as a lust he’d feed
Taught the hammer and warrior skill
For land to build, for king to kill

His son was lost to nameless souls
He’d bellow guilt and stoke the coals
For years he wept the boy was gone
And through the steam he hammered on

The storge ran deep in his family line
And lessons learned he’d now entwine
Sparks flew high for his grandson, lo
Behold swallows, forged in the fiery glow

He hoped the birds would steel the boy’s heart
By stopping carnage before it could start
With prayers to gods he suffused the fire
That wars not burn as his heart’s desire

Waterfalls Op. 1

Waterfalls wash over ivory stones
Largo ripples on alabaster bones
Mountain tresses of billowing streams
With graven nocturnes in raven dreams

Dolce showers from clouds on high
Are borne away by trembling sigh
O’er lacquered lake of purists black
Come rampant storms that purists lack

Unbridled rage of torrential rain
Heaviest downpours a forte gain
Pounding storms now slates of blood
Then sorrow’s sobs bring allegro flood

Subito sunbow in leggiero bliss
Marcescent raindrops ritardando kiss
Dispersing clouds into dulcet tones
Waterfalls rest over ivory stones

art: by Meghan Howland

Between the lines

Note: this is purely conceptual and silly fun, evidenced by itself…

Read between the lines
To know the secret lies
Or you’ll be left behind
Don’t miss the hidden cries
Where words pretend to fall
The eyes won’t see what’s written
They’ll never say it all
When with just the words you’re smitten
But understand you might
You can save a wanting soul
If next you bring the ‘light
And make what’s written whole

Note 2: if you didn’t see the clues, there’s no hope for yous…
Note 3: looks like it doesn’t work in the WP Reader in a browser ):
Note 4: still fun (:


The parallel persuasion

Of her passive, pensive lips

Brought him to supplication

For her stroking or her whips

Unadorned by smile or pout

No wicked thoughts belied

But by a gaze that bore no doubt

Was he, her hunger eyed

A chill coursed through the moment’s heat

When she bared her pearly whites

She’ll tear from him the bone and meat

‘Til the next her hunger sights


They wish for riches to bring happiness
Some want power or love in their fate
But I know for me
I’ll never be free
So alone in my lantern I wait

They use me without thought or feeling
With me they don’t try to relate
Using me thrice
To win a roll of the dice
Then alone in my lantern I wait

They don’t ask me how I am doing
I’m a slave that they helped create
They make their demands
Then put out their hands
And alone in my lantern I wait

For myself I cannot grant wishes
A torture that just one would abate
I’d wish for the skies
With a star for my eyes
Yet alone in my lantern I wait

This lantern forever my prison
Freedom is not in my fate
I’ll not feel the sun
For no genie will come
So alone in my lantern I wait


With blood encrusted fingertips

Beneath her shattered fingernails

An unbreakable determination

Fills wide her billowing sails

She continues to fret the layers

Each stroke deeper than the last

Ignoring those, unwilling souls

To see beyond his troubled past

She knows what lies behind the pain

Of his brick and mortar pall

And soon she’ll pull the final block

From his ever weakening wall

The fart catcher

Lightning split the sky over a secluded, Philadelphia country road. Autumnal sycamores and ironwoods embraced the winding route. Swollen with deep oranges and dirty yellows, they burst into glossy, earthen watercolors with each strobe of the darkness.

A midnight blue, 1922 Ford Model T sits almost motionless under the driving rain. In the middle of the narrow path, it’s buffeted by strong gusts of disapproval from the angry storm, rocking and complaining at its misfortune.

A greying wisp of a man, fights to close the obstinate, steel hood. A sincerely regretful, worried expression adorns his sallow, wrinkled face. He has a slight build, and an otherwise pleasant, well-mannered, if not boring, demeanour. In fact, the only remarkable thing about him, appears to be a complete absence of remarkability.

While he struggles with the hood – and keeping his battered, brown bowler firmly atop his nearly bald head – another lick of lightning lit up the night sky. In that instant, as the wind whipped his mud splattered Chesterfield out and back from his slender frame, the gunmetal grey of a 1920 Colt, riding securely in its leather shoulder holster, was illumed. Then just as suddenly, swallowed again by the greedy, flowing garb.

He apologized to no one who could hear and then muttered, “Come on, lizzie, ol’ girl,” before turning the crank on the struggling flivver.

With a disgruntled backfire, she rumbled to life. The man, visibly pleased and beaming with pride, patted the hood and hurried around to the driver’s door. He climbed in, bellows to mend, and pleasantly panted, “I’m so sorry, ma’am. Sounds like she’s all to the mustard, though!” Smiling, he looked over his shoulder into the back seat hoping to see approval or gratitude. There was naught but silence, yet his smile never faltered. After a few unnerving seconds, and quite unexpectedly, a thunderous crack overhead starts him out of his gaze. “Apologies, ma’am, apologies! Off we go, shall we?” And they sped away amidst thunderclaps and backfires.

Shortly thereafter, he pulled the Model T into a circular driveway in front of a multi-floor, centuries old, mansion. The porte-cochère loomed over dwellers and visitors alike, while four 2-story, white pillars ominously stood sentry before the entryway. Chandelier lit windows poured light across the front walk, and down to the automobile where he parked.

The man prepares a large umbrella and scurries to the rear passenger door. He opens the protesting hinges to their limit, and waits dutifully by its side. Several seconds pass and, with surprise, he bursts into apologies again. “Oh, ma’am, I’m sorry, ma’am,” he flusters, “…old habits, and all… I’m afraid I’ll not be able to use the rain napper, please pardon the inconvenience, ma’am.” He placed the umbrella on top of the jalopy and leaned with a grunt through the back door.

Inside, lying across the back seat, an attractive woman of 38 struggling with her bonds, attempts to squirm through the metal and glass at her back. If the gag wasn’t enough, her muffled cries and pleas were drowned out by the incessant rain pounding the steel roof. The rope clenching tightly around the ankles of her curvaceously long pins, were looped through the restraints about her delicate wrists. Her hands, her exquisite, alabaster skin, twisted and turned futilely. The gold and diamonds gracing her fingers, jealously stole attention from her brilliant, vermilion fingernails.

As he reached in slowly to grab an ankle and pull her near, she writhed and kicked in terror. “Ma’am, please, be careful. You nearly nose-ended my smeller.” Then after a few attempts, in his first sign of frustration that evening, “Ma’am!” And she froze, but for uncontrollable trembling. He smiled pitifully and took her ankle in a surprisingly strong grip. Their eyes met. She had shockingly blue eyes, almost unnatural, with the faintest hint of gold at the rims. That her mascara ran beneath them, made them all the more beautiful. He began pulling her toward him, all the while apologizing for his rudeness and any discomfort. Then he carried her inside, unprotested.

Later that night…

The man stood at the end of the mahogany dining table dressed to the nines in a pinstripe suit a few sizes too large for his willowy body. He looked out proudly at the gathering.

*clink, clink*

“I’d like to make an announcement, if I may,” he squeaked, barely containing his glee. “My earliest memories are of this house and my wonderful parents who worked here caring for Madam Farnsworth, when she was a precocious little girl.” He smiled warmly, and nods toward his right. “After taking the mantle from them so many years ago, and watching her son, Reginald,” he nods to Mr.Farnsworth, directly opposite himself, “…grow into the man he is today, and caring for his son,” he nods at Master James to the left, “…my only wish is that my mother and father were still with us, to join in this momentous occasion.”

He smiles, and looks around expectantly. After a moment, he gushes, “Oh! I nearly forgot the surprise!” Continuing excitedly, “I’m sure you’re all aware that Mistress Farnsworth was planning to stay in Paris for two more weeks? Well, I must acknowledge the corn, I used a bit of hugger-muggery to do it, but…” He pauses, briefly ashamed, “Begging your pardon, sir, I know you don’t care for the commoner language in the house… You don’t need to remind me, sir.” The man’s eyes seem to unfocus for a short time, before he collected himself. “Where was I? Ah yes, Mistress Farnsworth! Well, I convinced her to come home early! I picked her up from the airport today!” The ensuing silence didn’t discourage his enthusiasm, “She’ll be out momentarily!”

He picks up the chilled wine bottle and begins to circle the table, with a song in his heart. “Wine, Madam Farnsworth?”

Madam Farnsworth, the family matriarch, sat in an old wooden, wheelchair. Older than he thought possible, she married into the family before he was born. In her left hand, a butter knife from the family’s opulent silver collection. That is, through the back and out of the palm. The stubs of her right hand were propped against the neck of her Farnsworth fine crystal; only her pinky finger remained, so she could forever put on airs. He filled her glass to the brim with the most expensive selection from the Farnsworth’s vast wine cellar. Then glanced at the mechanical larynx he forcibly inserted into her tracheostomy.

With an open mouth grin painted on his face, he gently placed the wine bottle on the table, and began turning his head toward Mr.Farnsworth, while his eyes briefly stayed locked on her.

Mr. Farnsworth. He was a large man, a brutal man. Without patience and quick to anger and violence. He sat at the head of the table, with half a head. Sheared was his skull from his left ear to over his right eye. He had perhaps all the of the world’s cigarettes protruding from his gaping bone box. His left arm was cut off far above the elbow and hung at his side, above a dark crimson stain in one of their many plush, exorbitant rugs. His right arm was removed below the elbow, and resting on the fine silk tablecloth, maggots lapping up the nutrients. There were dozens of cigarette burns covering what remained.

“Mr. Farnsworth, sir, Madam would not like to see your elbow on the table,” he says tightly smiling, before pushing it off to hang at his side. “I don’t need to remind you, sir.”

The man moved on to Master James, passing by an empty, awaiting chair on the way.

Master James, the rude and troublesome son of the Farnsworth’s, sat wide-eyed and slack-jawed. He took after his father in temper and tactic. Nothing brought him more joy than tormenting the man and the memory of his deceased parents. The boy was ruthless in his subjugation. The man moued for a moment over the boy. “Nothing to say today, Master James? No venom to spit? No taunts? Sap? Rag-a-muffin, bully bait? Son of a b-bitch?” His jaw was tight, he’d break his teeth, if he had any of his own left to break, “Fart catcher?!” He stared at him, tendrils of madness stretching wide his eyelids. Then in his best, most affected impression of the boy, he screams, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

Moments later, the rage in his eyes dissipated, and he visibly relaxed. As he rolled back up to a standing position, from an aggressive lean on the table that he didn’t remember making, the man’s gaze crossed the costly china in front of Master James, and he smiled. “Thank you. Was that too much to ask, Master James?” He removes a silk handkerchief from his oversized breast pocket. Monogrammed with the letters R.F., he dabbed at the boy’s lipless, gaping maw. Then he waved his hand to shoo the flies away from the plate, wherein the boy’s eyes and tongue lay, encircled by 29 pearly whites.

Back at his chair, he raises a glass to the table, “To the Farnsworths!” and takes a drink.

“Now,” he says, “is it time to eat?” He reaches for the lid of the silver serving dish at the center of the table. As he does so, his sleeves pull back, exposing countless cigarette burns on his forearms, “You don’t need to remind me, sir…”, he says below his breath. Then the empty chair catches his attention, and his brow furrows imperceptibly. “Where are my manners?” he exclaims, “I forgot our guest.”

He then lets out a sharp, quick whistle. In seconds, a beautiful, old golden labrador jumps into the chair. “Dear Master Bart, thank you for joining us,” he says genuinely smiling at his friend, “Do you prefer white meat or dark meat?” Bart only pants expectantly.

“White meat, it is.” And he lifts the lid off the silver tray, slides a jealous gold and diamond ring across the exquisite, alabaster skin, and over a brilliant, vermilion fingernail. Then tosses the finger to Bart, who snatches it midair, and happily trots away.

The man contemplatively sits back in his antique chair. Drained, he gives a sigh and takes in the scene before him. Then, in one lackadaisical motion, pops a gold rimmed, blue eye into his watering mouth.

Note: everything italicized is authentic 1920s American slang, including the title


Of a sinister banister and the lobby it overlooks…

Everyday he wonders how much weight it can hold

Not the weight of the subconscious he buries
Not the weight of the crushing world he carries
Not the weight of the heavy heart he ferries
Nor even the wait of this wasted time he tarries

Everyday he ponders how strong the rope needs to be

No stronger than a sign for his mind to condone
No stronger than the need for imagined sins to atone
But stronger than the hope that a hand finds his own
And stronger than the resolve to go on walking alone

Everyday he muses how far the rope needs to reach

Farther than the reach of family and friend
Farther than a will that’s not ready to bend
No farther than the sorrow that he tries to ignore
But farther than the distance to walk out the door

Everyday he reflects as he walks away from the lobby

And the sinister banister
And into the sunshine
And through the trees
And down the path
And far from those memories

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