Lost Out of Light

Art by Andy Kehoe

I shed myself, shaking in the hull of darkness,

I try not to make a sound, searching for the entrance

That will lead me, to the land of light, where it’s safe,

As for right now, I feel there are a million hungry eyes

Fixated on me, as I trail through the sinking land of shadows,

They know, I don’t belong, walking amongst the dwellers

That hide behind draped curtains, not from terror,

But to track my steps, waiting, for me to loosen

My grip, upon the sheathed dagger, battered and worn

It holds light, etched into it’s edges, a useful deterrent,

But how long will it protect me, as I’m surrounded

While I’m stranded, feeling out the blind emptiness,

The growling gets deeper, closing in on my wandering

Around the dark howls, seeking the distant gateway,

I’m lost, out of the light, mislead by the masquerade

That is parading in the treetops, gaining my full attention,

No matter where I find myself, I’m running parallel

To where I want to be, yet I’m spun in the dreary landscape,

Clutching tighter, onto the dagger, as my pulse narrows

And it gets difficult, to collect my breath, struggling

In the absence of clarity, settling in to the glooming clouds,

Hoping they can’t collar me, to tie me to the abstract,

Holding me just out of reach of light, with its glow

Nearly gracing my toes, a torture set by these dwellers,

They thrive, on the misery of light, and I’ve walked in too deep,

My legs, can barely carry me further, as the dagger slips,

Into the abyss, I stand upon, for anything that lands

Onto the same ground I’m lost on, also goes missing,

I’ve strayed, past the protracted, unsure, if I’ll ever locate

My way back, to the blended doorway, that I’ve traveled

Through on many accounts, but stayed close to the border,

This time though, I took a long tumble, down this hill,

Treacherous and unyielding, darkness, will always break

Those who harness light, upon their fragile chests,

So here I’m stranded, shattering, under the suppressing anchor,

Piece by piece, I’m losing myself, absorbed by isolation,

I wasn’t dragged here, I wasn’t pushed or bullied,

I slipped, crashed and lost direction, and now, I’m a dweller.

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Haunted by the Inner Demon

I believed I did, but then the demon inside my head

Reached out, put itself in control, and ropped

Off that person, became an aged faded portrait,

One I admired, absorbed it’s brilliance and vivid emotion,

Then the demon, that stalks in plain open consciousness,

Rattled my head, shifted the entire frame into dust,

I’m trapped, inside my own, in the entangling web

That laps over and over, burying my gated clarity,

The more I struggle, the louder it becomes, deafening

Where I just give in, fold down, within it’s cold grasp

That has eclipsed, the beauty of truth, now lying in mud,

All because, I validated the demon’s spun filth

That slithers through my canal, injecting deceit

Into my malleable mind, I never stood a chance

Against my demon, who has become apart of my persona,

So much so, I can’t distinguish the difference between us,

I might have found my home, but they’ve vanished

Into the furthest lot, while I struggle with the lock,

They’re still there, before me, reaching for the compass,

Following the illusion before them, while I lay buried

In the forgotten sands, pushed further down,

Suffocating the inkling of hope, where is that home

That can calm the storm with her touch, upon the nape

Of my feeble stance, for her scent, softly lingers,

As I look for the silver lining, hoping she’s there, smiling.

Ornaments

Art by Lisa Steinberg

You’ve been carried off, a distance unrecognizable,

Smells putrid, as it enters, your fragile senses,

A damp, almost transparent cloth, snuggly fastened

Around you, rendering you blind, to the horror

Before you, so you strain sight, constructing the scene,

But all that appears, are blurry shapes, dancing

Like apparitions, and the more you stare, more appear,

With an even larger object, in the center, wooden

Compared to the floating blurs, yet it’s presence

Slithers down your spine, icy tremors, from within

Intensely pounds upon your chest, as darkness takesover,

You abruptly awake, with the sudden burst, of your heartbeat,

The blindfold, gone, and you slowly fix focus,

Upon the center subject, who, from stolen gasping moments,

Is slowly constructing ornaments, the same ones, dangling

In your crowded view, its clear, except for the intent,

Of the individual, with a pale sack hiding it’s identity,

You feel cold inside, as sight has choked your speech,

It completes the ornament in its possession, and suspends

It above both of you, gently flicks it as it swings,

Lifeless, only gaining momentum from your own scream,

How do you suppress the howling terrors that emanate

From your trembling cage, locked in by your own doubt,

Starring at you as you shiver, the black hollow outlets

Are consuming you, taking away your stability

As you slip further, past the gates of inescapable sanity,

The more you stare, the more you see, the center subject

Is actually you, slowly deconstructing your fortified self.

The Hypnotist

Art by Magda Proski

You see, what you want to see, trapped in a narrow tunnel,

You hear, what you want to hear, trying to forget

As the echo in your chamber, seems to be infinite,

So loud, with nowhere to turn for peaceful salvation,

Louder, it seems to grow and vibrate the hollow box,

The walls begin to crawl upwards, on itself, stretching

Back down, towards the familiar self-deprecating pit,

You feel better, in the loneliness that closely surrounds

And presses against you, slowly cutting you, to leech

Out your prolonged existence, to seclude you further

Away from the surface, but this goes unnoticed

Because you still see what you want, as reality

Storms the castle, laughing at the crumbling defences,

But you’ve come to me, sunken into the comforts

Of the enveloping couch, and put your trust in my skills,

You might be aware of all that has eluded your consciousness

For so long, but they’ll stay behind the heavy curtain

With my influence, so you can see and hear, what isn’t there,

And when it begins to resurface, you’ll return

With new demons amongst the ones picking at your scars.

Knots Tied by Devil Hands

A whisper, stalkingly crawls into an unsuspecting ear,

And once inside, it becomes the sole audible sound

In its suffocating world, drawing in nothing but white noise

Surrounding that once distant echo, able to slither through,

The room, begins to feel more cryptic, as that hissing voice

Creeps louder, buzzing in the canal of a tortured soul

Who closes his eyes, and hangs by a steel noose,

The outside, falls silent while drowning in their own hands,

A sea reflecting the pitch night, swallowing vibrance

While it searches for its next drifter, floating along the tide,

And it does, like a sonar, as a tear crashes on its body,

The devil in the depths, tying firm knots for clouded minds,

The high water is at the brim, about to overflow

From all those, who have drowned, seeking sanctuary,

At their hollow gasp, he hands them what they seek,

A bound rope, eager to send them to the engulfing gallows,

A chill, rushes over them, as their sight struggles,

The sea, has claimed another, washing away from existence,

Leaving all behind, finding no answer, only guilt

For more of an open hand, diving into to their darkness

Kept unseen on the surface, kept to be, their own demise.

Nightmare IV: Living in the End

Time, has been cruel, looking out into the dust

From the tightly compressed box, devoid of any object,

Beside myself, an aging dog, my only visible friend

Next to all the ones I’ve conjured up, in my twisted mind,

All I can do, is look out into the howling nothingness

That has enslaved me to these walls, as I scratch

At them as each day passes, dragging my fingers

Deep into the visceral, coming out sick and dented,

I fear that when I fall into a deep sleep, and dream

That when I awake, I’m still in that dream, caged

In a worse hell than this, an everlasting nightmare,

An entrapment of my own mind, therefore my design

Seeded in the unventured crushing depths of my ocean,

Eyes getting heavy, as I fight to stay away from slipping

Further into the tunnel, where the end is the darkest edge,

It starts to hurt, to keep my eyes aware of my current state,

The room starts to slowly vanish, as the shadows swallow

It whole, then I awake, in a different nightmare,

A cave, with a glowing red lights, nestled in the blind

Corner, that was further away, than just a second ago,

Closer and closer, it nears, but never reaches,

When can I fall asleep now?

The Protected Are We

Art by Denis Zhbankov

Deep, in the recesses of a town, hidden from the open eye,

Lurks beasts, protected by the frightened inhabitants,

As if released, from Pandora’s mysterious keep

Now amongst the curious, and the hurried defenses,

But the town shadows the secret that dwells in the forest

Just outside the reach of light, under the canopy

Of lush trees, while it devours anything alien,

But eventually, all hidden truths reveal themselves.

~Unprotected~

A stormy day, blurs the contrast just beyond the last tree,

The hibernating land, lies vacant of its projected gate

From letting wanderers into the forest, but most importantly,

Letting those beasts venture out, into the open gully,

A slight chill rushes in, as a foreigner, eager to capture

Beauty of the forest submerged between mountains,

As so many do, who visit the protected landscape,

Exactly what is being protected, is misunderstood

By so many, as a man breeches through, the town warnings,

Astounded by how perfectly nestled, is the serene lowland,

He immediately removes his camera, taking instant stills

Of it all – the towering trees between the ears of mountains,

And the open plain, running into the wave of mountains,

Clicking the shutter with ferocity, grabbing every image,

Not noticing, the dark, mysterious moving mountains

Inching up to the hairline of the trees, peeking,

Seeing this strange figure, near its protected domain,

The man spins around to the trees, and there

Just beyond the last shadow cast by the forest,

A beast with it’s beastlings, and a man with his camera,

They stand there, trying to make sense of each other,

As he tries to steal a still, but the shutter is jammed,

He keeps fiddling with it, setting off the bright flash,

His breathing, starts to quicken, with his eyes widening

At the sight of the three beasts, nearing closer,

Panic, fully sets in, but before he could plant his next step,

He is already face down, being torn and pummeled,

As the shutter, releases and captures a still of horror,

And that slight chill, picks up, lifts that frightening image

Up out of the valley, and into the already fearful town,

It didn’t take too long, before the picture was discovered,

All the townspeople collected, and rifles fully loaded,

To go and hunt down these beasts that they protected,

The stream of torches following down into the heart

Of the hidden forest, where they all gathered

To find a full nest, three sleeping beasts with full bellies,

All of them, who had protected these helpless creatures,

Circled them, raised and aimed their heavy weapons,

And at the drop of a torch, an eruption of thunder,

To end their protection.

A Demon Inside

~Insanity comes from the heart, not the mind.~ A.P. Heart

Would you listen to your mind, whispering cruel words

As the devil does, sinking feelings down into your stomach,

As the heart, watches with tears, steaming down

Creating a puddle, where those feelings drown,

The heart, can do nothing else, but stay witness

To the repression, of what can keep the heart in flight,

That being said, even though the heart is the birth of insanity,

Then, it is the brain that originates what has driven

The heart absolutely insane, some more than those passed,

Be weary of those lost to the overbearing world

The heart seems to be cages in, a purgatory in hell.

Hiding Out

A man stands, dazed in the center of a room, staring

At a ceiling fan, watching the blades orbit his vacancy,

No comprehension, of the chaos, right outside his window,

The rushing sound, of whirling wind, surrounds

His absence, as the heightened tension rumbles

Just below the condensation covered filter of the mayhem,

Reaching, for his incognizance in hopes to distress,

The disorder beneath the cloud of ignorance starts it’s climb,

Slithering up the rattled building, as the distance

Closes in, unbeknownst to the severely diluted brain,

For it only took moments, before the havoc scaled

To the top, appeared and swarmed the depressed space,

All while the man stayed in the bliss, of being unaware.

A Tale of Designed Fate

He stands, at the muted green door at the end of a long

Flickering hallway, as the pulsation grows louder,

Stretching the corridor out from the diseased shadow

That awaits, for it’s fragile knock to be answered,

A twinging pitch floods his ears, crashing him to the cold tile,

His cheek fused to the bleak slab of ice, squeezing

Tighter, the more he struggles, as heavy thuds approach

Opening the aperture cover, but he’s below it’s view,

As the slice from the swinging cover bounces

In the crowded echo, slowly dissipating, abandoning

This crippled being, as he pleads with the inner infestation

To stop, while it eats away at him, slowly tearing

Up his insides, a violent intruder gorging themselves

On his meat, as he hunches into himself, agonizingly,

His cries, shatters stone within, yet it’s hardly audible

To the rat with one eye, peeking out from the crack,

Studying this tiny feeble twig of a man, even to the rat

He was of equal size, still a savory meal for the starving

Salivating rat, surveying the man as it moves in,

Out from the latent space, into the open twitching hall,

The man on his side, his translucent back to the vermin

Slithering closer, unhinging its jaw, to sink its diseased fangs

As the man, with his fleeting energy, gets on his wobbling

Brittle knees, at that moment, finds the charging fester

Gnawing at his arm, and immediately swipes

But the rat, does not detach, finding nirvana

In the flavor of decay, until the poison reaches

The rat’s tongue, recognizes the sensation and aroma,

Lets go, and slowly climbs down while wiping the blood

From its sinister grin, as the man, out of breath rhetorically asks,

“How does a disgusting creature seem even more crude?”

“You should really be viewing your own reflection

Before referring to anything else as you so politely said.”

Surprised that the rat responded, the man scurried

Back against the spinney wall, staring intensely

At the one eyed speaking rat, moving closer whilst saying,

“Now, you must be thinking you’re feverish and delusional,

An outburst from your paroxysm, festering in your brain,

Still unsure if you truly hear me, am I truly coherent?”

Shutting out all his surroundings, he tried to regain control,

“No, it can’t talk, this disease has invaded my sanity.”

“Sanity! Such a lucid concept, where you don’t question

What is laid out right before you, like a talking rat.”

“I just need to speak with the designer of my doomed fate.”

“The demon, behind that door, barters for your life,

But what are you willing, to throw down at it’s feet?”

Silenced by the rat’s inquiry, the man searches his haze

As he bares emptiness, for all he possesses is villainy

Anchored, to his eroding ravaged wasteland of a corpse

Dragging itself through the internal seething, trembling

In the bleak, falling without making any sound,

Grinding bones upon the stone irony, of his own existence,

A painfully blank expression, stretched across his face,

As the rat stares at the stunted crippled husk

Before it, who could be taken and stripped of value,

And the rat, could not let the opportunity slip past

Without getting it’s share, and there was one item it desired,

“Don’t worry, I’ll prime you for your interaction

With the beastly puppeteer, for a specific trade of course,

I want your left eye, so that I will be whole again.”

The man pondered, contemplating his daily routine

With one eye, then contemplated killing the rat

After he got what he needed from the it, and agreed,

Still hesitantly, how can trust be granted to this vermin,

Yet, he leapt and acknowledged their temporary bond,

Then the one eyed rat, sprang into action, vanished in through

The crack, between the bottom of the fortified door

And concrete floor, then the man heard scratching

Along the portal from the other side, scurrying to each lock,

All along the entire length, clicks and clanks echoing in the hall,

Creaking slowly was the door, as man quickly hid,

“Rat! Those locks disturbed silence, has the designer awoken?”

“You worry too much, we mustn’t delay your sacrifice.”

And as soon as the last syllable was uttered, the rat was gone,

Down the gullet, of the designer, towering over the man,

Panning up to his wide, glowing, red eyes starring back,

A hideous collection of acquired eyes, frozen in decay,

Trapped, in the thick web, of the designers face,

“What for do you occupy the space in front of my door?”

“Sir, Designer, a bargain for you, I’ve come to ask for my life,

In exchange, I present to you something of mine you desire.”

Saliva dripping from the designer’s mouth, a runny faucet,

“How do you know, what I desire, are my lustings generic?”

“Not in the slightest, the rat you ate possessed

This information, from being a dweller, inside your walls.”

“Now inside my stomach lining, an appetizer,

I’m hungry for my entree, entrance has been granted.”

The designer moves aside, and waves in the weak link,

A still hush, inside of this bland cavern, on the 17th floor

As the designer, leads his new guest into the drawing room,

Filled with occupied parchment, lives all sketched out

To every plausible end, as well ones as far fetched,

The designer dove back into his sinkable couch

And looked up at the scared, shaking, bag of frail bones,

“Lets see if this rat was true, present your offering.”

“The wretch you devoured, explained your cravings,

So I offer you, my heightened sense of touch.”

The designer sat up, never removing sight, not a single eye,

From the shrinking man, as the designer got up close

With a dastardly grin, sniffing for truth in his words,

“No one, has ever offered their own fragile touch,

Do you know what would be escaping, from your senses?”

“Yes, I lived with endless scratching on the sensory walls

As crimson, pours out and builds up, over my gulping breath,

I’m ready, to lose the razor shards streaking my insides.”

“Pain, is a touch that gets louder, the more you ignore,

What of the sun beaming warmth, while a cool breeze

Rushes by, pushing you closer to the sweet scent

Coming from her flowing hair, and you sink in deep,

You might dissolve pain, but you’ll regret the hollow void.”

The man looked down at his hands, arms and feet

Thinking how he won’t have any feeling, he couldn’t,

Just as he was about to rescind, the man awoke in his bed,

Looking for the designer, but he was alone,

No tall gruesome foreseer stalking in the corner

Sucking on his blood soaked fingers from eating a rat,

But then he noticed, he couldn’t feel his warm covers

Tucked under his chin, or the bed he laid upon,

He tried to brush his hand along his arm, felt nothing,

No pain, or even the water beads from his morning shower,

It was done, deal made, regret had crashed down,

“I wish, there was a way to know, you’re in the good ol’ days

Before you’ve actually left them, because somehow

In the darkness, you know exactly when you’re there,

Those moments stay with you, attach themselves

To every unstable vessel, crushed in the avalanche.”