From Within

Artwork by Miguel Membreño

There’s something that lives within me, picking, at the scabs

Left from years of suppression, after that first eruption,

I’ve learned how to coexist, with this force from within,

Keeping myself secluded, meditating, and keeping it dormant

Under the tree in the deep nebula, nestled in her grace,

But it has taken me a lifetime to learn, how to preserve this solace

As I perch atop the peak, peering down into my past,

Finding myself lost, amidst the rusted and abandoned,

Lingering in their company, connected to their dismay,

A deserted city, left to rot in the after, forgotten

Are the cars that stay stranded, on the lifeless streets,

Hollow domiciles, shattered windows sprayed, over every inch,

A city, once so alive, now a fractured wasteland

Where I traversed, unable to escape the wondering ghosts,

Projected out from within, to blanket me, from the unseen storm,

So I walked alone, finding remnants of those departed

Immersed in the rubble, as I plucked out, a crumbling frame,

Leaving behind, what it had successfully preserved,

A captured memory, of a family, arms intertwined around each other,

Undisturbed, by the horrific events, that crushed this concrete jungle,

Left to silence, except for the raven’s echoed squawk as it flew overhead,

I then let the snapshot float back, to rest upon destruction,

As the darkness, started to scratch at me, from the inside,

First, it was dull, but then it started to hasten and intensify,

Until it couldn’t be contained anymore, and I erupted,

A ferocious pulse of energy radiated, creating a crater, where I stood,

And sent all the surrounding deserted cars, trucks and busses

Into to the clouds, while almost touching the endless abyss,

Giving this city, it’s second disastrous tremor,

The first, was not too long a distance, from that very moment,

The day felt heavy, carrying on, trying to shoulder the weight,

But we were together, my family, as in the snapshot,

Walking down the crowded blocks, holding both my parent’s hands,

Gripping tightly, fearful of being swallowed in the wave,

And they never let me drift, as I closely watched all those that passed,

They had kept their sight on me, also fearful of the wave,

And suddenly it was all ripped away, from my tight grasp,

An abnormal quake, that violently rattled the entire city,

Causing parked car alarms and city population to panic,

As everyone huddled, from the shards of glass that rained down,

And there, in the distance, a tall wave of darkness

Speeding toward us, a city blind, for a few moments,

As it started to settle, sight resumed, and anger began,

Slowly, the entire city started to implode with hate,

Bloody fists and broken bones, you could hear every break

And you could feel, every cry, from a brutal blow,

We were suddenly at war, with each other, for no reason,

Yet we felt this urge, needing to fight, hate, destroy,

And there I was, cowering behind a fallen pile of stone,

Watching the brutality, rage on, seeing no end,

But more focused, on my parents, fighting each other,

They were battered and bruised, and most likely, still blind,

They fought with such ferocity, they ended up killing each other,

As did a lot of the others, and those who survived, escaped,

Fleeing the battleground, shedding the overbearing anger,

As I stayed behind, exploring the exposed city,

A difficult day to replay, fearing that the darkness can rise,

As it now, only lives within me, attached to last one standing,

A leach, that feels as if it was expanding its web,

My reward, for surviving this hate filled war,

The one stricken with grief, and the remembrance, of this horror,

I walked up and down every block, finding food

Imagining I was still there, walking with them, tightly gripped,

I also feared what might happen, when I find another soul,

Would I engage, in an instant, be switched over

Remembering the hate, and it comes on, full power,

So I kept burying it, always trying to dig the whole deeper,

Until I felt it was safe, down low enough that I found my balance,

It still sits in my gut, pounding and scratching upon

Its shackled prison, decades, below the surface,

It is now, a hollow hateful spirit, sick from its own disease,

As I feel the wave of calm, from the cool brush, of the breeze.

Other Monsters

Artwork by mioke.de

They materialized, out, from the tightly, nestled forest,

Unsure, of where they were, or even how long they were racing

To vanish, from the ravenous wolves, biting at their heels,

Salivating, as they feverishly sniffed, for the fleeing monsters,

Who were hastily trekking, through the frozen landscape,

A deeply chilling howl, pervaded the heavily shrouded silence,

And in that crippling cold, a phantom grip, around their racing hearts

Forced them, to increase their stride, sprinting down the snowhills,

Hoping to stretch the distance, between them, and their pursuers,

Yet, through their fatiguing muscles, they started to collapse,

Into an inescapable decline succumbing to its hypnosis,

Feeling the calm drift, settle overhead, in the lull of the cold,

Sinking, past the veil, dragged down into fright

Of their own creation, the architect, admiring his own nightmares

That slowly start to turn their focus, upon his own heartbeat,

Inching closer, with their sharp,  outstretched claws

Directed at him, surrounding the fear, within himself,

And then he snaps back to the tundra, a monster, at the head of the pack,

Trapped in a panic, gusting further into the bleak

As a storm stampedes in, devouring their trail ahead,

But how far must they traverse this barren winter desert,

Before they can rest, upon the embrace of sanctuary,

Enveloped, by the swarming frost, their bones, tighten,

As they plow ahead, deeper, into the unknown fray,

Seeking shelter, from the blistering onslaught, and their trackers,

As they tuck, behind the whiteout, into a shallow indent,

Barely able to accommodate them all, they pile atop each other,

Submitting, to the groaning exhaustion, waiting out the storm,

Until that same stalking howl, suddenly disturbs the stillness

And awakens the leader of the pack, without his pack,

He was alone, amongst the vast white silhouette,

With soft winds, bringing forth, the echo of the howl,

Encapsulating him, in constant terror, from the monsters

He manifested, and that are now, terrorizing their creator

By following his weakening tracks, in the dense snow,

As the wisp of his breath, mixes in, with the frigid air,

Scans his surroundings, barely noticing dark figures in the distance,

Stuck, at the top of his throat, was his frightened scream

As their twitching approach, suddenly rushed forward,

With their elongated razor claws, aiming, to strike,

Nowhere to escape to, as his pack, are now the wolves,

Itching, to rip at his flesh, and taste the fright, he inflicted,

Surrounding him, as he collapsed, face buried into the fleece,

Slightly peers out, and finds the pack, has dissolved,

Instead, he saw a speckle of random color amidst the absence,

Got up and staggerdly crossed the path, to a rainbow shield bug,

As it sat, unafraid of the approaching monster,

Who carefully lifted it, from its cold nestle,

“You don’t need to be afraid of me, no one does, no longer,

There’s something much worse than, its the monsters, we uncage,

Those we created, within ourselves, to bring our dread

Into the circulating realm, to overshadow it, with horror

As we urge these beasts, to scratch at the walls of the unsuspecting,

Until we grow a shield, like you, my little friend,

One that we can protect ourselves with, from the other monsters,

Yet I remain vulnerable, to attack, from my very own construction,

Living out a terror filled sentence, in this rattling cage,

As the howl echoes, again in my mind.”

The People in the Walls

Artwork by Anton Semenov

In this house, the walls, whisper to each other,

Heard by only one occupant, as she shivers, under her covers

Hoping to stay shrouded, in the softness of her bed,

From the groning, snaking underneath, and then into her closet,

Where in the depth, of the shadows, are these frightners,

Stalking, this young girl’s every move, unsafe in her own home

As these stains upon the walls, covered by paint, peek through,

For the faces behind the masking, peer, with their gaping eyes

At the terrified child, pressing her doll closer to her chest

Calling out, “Mom! Dad!”, waiting for the light, to engulf the dark,

But countless sleep deprived nights, sharing bright fairytales

Trying to subdue her tremors, assuring her, there are no monsters,

Has rendered her parents, comatose, in the shudder of their girl,

As she finds shadows, clutching at her bed sheets,

Slowly dragging off her cloak, exposing her to the terror,

Scratching, through her walls, oozing into the girl’s vulnerability,

Her whimpering, intensifies, choking at her inability to cry out,

Caught in a paralysis, from the nearing slither

Until, the sudden cut of light, illuminates the inanimate,

Her closet, occupied by only her toys, clothes and trinkets,

Under her bed, dust bunnies, spread through the entire stretch,

And no reach of shadow, cast from the bare tree out her window,

But along the walls, the faint imprints, of those same faces

Haven’t vanished, into the swallow, of the fluorescent abyss,

Instead, to the girl’s fright, they were more distinct,

Staying within her sight, no longer lurking, within the shadows,

They grew, transforming every inch of plaster, into ghosts of the hollow,

For they’ve become the walls, of her ominous entrapment

As she buried her face, into her parent’s exhausted embrace,

But she couldn’t stay there, as she tried to play, ignoring

What was there, on her walls, staring, absorbing her innocence,

There before her, at every moment, no rest for the haunted,

She’d gone down, to have breakfast, and suddenly froze,

For they were following her, now throughout the entire house,

She turned, covered her eyes, but did not call for her parents,

Her lips slowly parted to speak, but only a gasp emerged

Before she spoke, and started to plead, with her imagined stalkers,

Speaking to the demons in her mind, to vanish back, behind the paint,

It wasn’t until the family dog, angrily barked, at the wall of ghosts

That the little girl knew, she wasn’t imagining this terror,

These faces, tightly tethered to this house, illuminate for her,

She simply asked the hollow wall, why, as it echoed in her mind,

Hearing herself, in a different voice, which wasn’t her own,

She’d spoken directly to them, as they used her consciousness, to answer,

“I am the first of the hollowed ones, cursed, to this linear cage,

For fear of the outside, had shackled me to these walls

To which I cannot separate from, for we are one entity,

Soon, more like me arrived, where fear had overtaken

As it did within me, and I knew, I was to save them all,

I had drained them of their debilitating fright

And given them life, to which I thought was punishment,

These walls, keep us in that embrace, that you chase,

Then we used fear, emptied and primed you, for this eternity,

And like you, we were all afraid, but no longer in dread,

As you are now, part of the hollow ones, fear, has vanished.”

And suddenly, she was gone, and the dog stopped barking,

Her parents, through grief, separated from remembrances,

Left the house, that had no answers around the disappearance,

As another family arrives, and a fresh coat of paint is applied.

Lost to the Shadow

The moon enters, through the shallow slit in the shades

And streaks across, the cold wet floor, finding her in the corner,

Tightly tucked in, shivering, in the dead of emptiness,

She cradles her head in her already tear soaked palms,

Begging, to anyone, who would bother to listen,

To spare her, and allow the night, a restful slumber,

Only the silence, doesn’t survive, due to the howling

Disrupting the presence within, an agitation, growing louder,

Being cursed to an insomniatic state, she sits and waits,

Pondering the events, that have led her, down this rabbit hole,

A day unparalleled to past ones, being the spark, to the chaos,

After a ordinarily frustrating day, like countless ones beforehand

She blindly walked home, escaping, to her fantasizing

Of moments occupied, by incredible and thrilling events,

Only to awaken, back in the dreary, monotonous clock

With its hands, slowly dragging across, its gray face,

But just as it appeared to be, her usual worn-out path,

An invasion, inside her familiar pattern, shattered the cycle

When a crazed, disheveled man, frantically burst

Out from the black, with eyes wide and trembling red,

Running right at her, as she stood, paralyzed at the charge,

Pushing her off of the path, onto the cracked cement

Where she saw the man, pummeled by oncoming traffic,

Being shredded along the hard gravel, down to the skeletal,

An image, that she was sure, would haunt her during all hours,

Only it was much worse, and far more terrifying,

Still shook up, from the disturbing image of that mangled body

Spilling out all its organs, onto the blood soaked road,

A vivid scene, focusing in, on the sprawled out gore,

Closer in, as she felt her heart, pound, in the echo of fury,

Until she passed out, into a chilling nightmare

Of an animal, ravenously tearing apart an unsuspecting wanderer,

Razor claws slicing through, their icy flesh,

All seen, as if she, was that blood covered beast,

Thinking it was another fantasy, until she crawled back home,

Naked, and painted crimson, coming in at first light,

She feverishly washed off the blood stains on her skin

Noticing, a scratch, that she imagined was from her fall,

But the shape, reminded her of the claw marks from her dream,

She never slept, as she was that beast, slashing at her victim,

A troubling curse, given to her, in a glimpse,

The nights getting longer, slipping further into the monster

Eating at her own existence, until she dissappears into it’s shadow,

If she allows it so, as she climbed out from her corner

And onto the high ledge, to end this cycle, on her own terms,

To finally sleep, and let the world, continue the routine,

Which she desperately missed, and thought of, one last time,

Letting herself free, from the shackles, into an endless rest.

For Survival

Artwork by Stefan Koidl

This world, is no longer for the living, while I perch

Over the dead, about to send another, into the black,

But the gun tremors in my pale hand, frozen in my glance

As my mind replays memories, that have lost its vibrance,

For they, are of a distant time, an unrecognizable landscape,

Where bones, don’t crack under my wandering steps

Like twigs, that echoe, in a densely fogged forest,

A graveyard, that rattles the chaos, of my solitude

Being stalked by an army of hollow abominations,

To which I’ve been evading, fleeting, their blinding ferocity,

Hunting for life, I scoured through the muddy desert

Only to reemrge, inside the domain of the hungry horde

Salivating, at the distinct stench, of my hurried pulse

As I widely stared at the tidal wave, hastily approaching,

A flutter of a memory, flashed across, the dooming onslaught

Where I had cloaked my breathing, in a choking silence,

Only there was no more room to hide, for survival, I killed,

Forcing raging bullet, after bullet, into endless vacancy

Crushing the lingering light, entombed, into their after,

Except for one, struggling to escape the claws, of an old bear trap,

That’s how I sighted him, my trail mate, for a brief moment

Until, I hovered over him, in this caged nightmare

With the gun, still stammering, in the biting stillness,

Standing there, fighting off the flooding of memories, to no avail

As the genesis of the collapse, barged in, shackled my mind

To a muffled cognizance, as it magnified in my trance,

Shoved back, into a hysteric argument, with my kid brother

A city under arrest, witnessed from the height of our window

While the shrieking in the background, distracted our focus,

The world, was folding in on itself, as panic, fuled the turmoil,

Struggling, we continued our debate, our next move, for survival,

Which was our pledge, we drudged through, the flooding darkness

That had crept, at our heels, forcing us into the undertow,

We overcame the sinister anchor, there since our abandonment,

But what hatched from the darkest depths, was far more bleak

With the radiating sun, blaring down upon the exposed,

Transforming all those, vulnerable, to the sun’s intrusion

And dispatched, from their solemn routine

Into a crazed, ravenous shell, hunting down the impervious,

The sun’s bewildering metamorphose, punctured, our barrier,

Leaving the immune, at the mercy of these hellions

As they thrashed, at our gates, prying the metal apart,

Letting in the rush of the stampede, overtaking the realm,

Their tumbling chaoss, echoed, through the narrow emptiness

Coming up the stairwell, as everything else, was stifled,

Forced into a corner, with the funneled horror, about to breach,

By the pounding, at the barricaded splintering entryway,

Left with no option, we absconded, down the fire escape

To the alleyway, amongst an expanded turbulence,

Plagued, throughout the stripped city, a disturbing battleground,

Frightened, in the daunting midst, of a world gone insane,

We wrestled our way, dodging countless feral slaughters,

One after another, chasing, after our frantic flee,

Becoming a worse terror, when the horde forced us, to separate,

I lost him, in the howling crowd, swallowed in the distance

As I found my way, to the safety of the city’s edge,

Without sight of him, staying hopeful, for his survival,

But there it was, etched into his pale wrist, “For Survival”,

As the flooding returns, further, than I have been in awhile,

Finding myself, watching through the window, the lively neighborhood,

Then noticing myself, in the close reflection,

Young, and totally unaware, of the forthcoming dread

Despite all the chatter around us, and the subtle panic,

There was nothing, my brother and I couldn’t devour,

For survival, we defied the suppressive hands, of our foster family,

Ran away, reaching Olympus, only we didn’t belong amongst this crowd,

Two teens, in a chaotic city, hands out, for loose change and scraps,

For survival, we found odd jobs, taking us away, from the corner,

Stability, eventually embraced us, as we basked in it, surviving,

A repetitive daydream, but appreciative of our struggles,

So much so, that my brother got a permanent brand,

A small, black lettering tattoo, on his wrist, “For Survival”,

I suggested we get a drink, to celebrate, his fresh ink

As we walked to the bar, he stared through the plastic covering,

I gave him a slight nudge, and expressed

“I wouldn’t have overcome so much without you by my side. “

He smiled, nudged me back, saying, “And I without you brother.”

As we walked amongst ourselves, forgetting the rest,

Now after these eternal, winter months, that had weakened the carnage,

My search ended, towering over what was left, of my kid brother,

A monster of the sun, drowning, in the cold dim light,

Now in the darkest of moments, after endless searching,

With tears, building in my throat, I try to steady my hand

As I tightly grip my eyes, and squeeze, the heavy trigger,

Breaking the silence, followed by the squawks of scavengers,

Leaving me, to my memories, for survival.

Toychest

Childhood locked in a chest, stored in the dusk of the attic

And buried, amongst the years, forgetting the toychest

And it’s contents, that had been there, throughout his youth,

All that directly links, to moments, that kept him awake,

Deep scraping along his bedroom, ripping at the wallpaper,

Frightened in the dark, as the shadows play on the ceiling

Cast, by his perched toys, on his shelves that dropped to the floor,

The plastic rattling, as they slowly drag against the rug,

That even now, the white noise of his fan, drowns the memories

As he wrestles, with the chest, fighting the current,

As the chest, thumping closer and closer, shrieks,

Jarring out from this terror, in a panic, a cold sweat,

A sullen voice on the phone, conveying disheartening news

A trail, leading him home, after one, taking him into the distance,

A vacant house, of stale comfort and soulless posessions,

Nothing stirring within, touring his familiar, unrecognizable halls,

Then preparing to rest, in his childhood bed,

A distracted presence, occupying, his swimming head

Hearing that thumping outside of his usual nightmare,

Mimicking, his own heartbeat, echoing off the stripped walls,

He peers out into the dread, gasping, trying to regulate his breath

As he sees, the paint, melting away, up towards the attic door,

The beating getting louder as he nears, hypnotized

By those steady, groaning deep thumps, grabbing his attention,

Standing below its access, releasing the hatch

As he climbs, through the dense flowing dust,

Finding the thumping had ceased, not even a creak

Of the floorboards as he nears, the lowlit backend,

Finding his locked away fears, pounding at the silence,

The latch withers in his hand, letting loose, all he entombed,

In the darkness, the pounding that shook the shelves

Which knocked over his toys, and the scratching, at his walls,

Enters his chest, grips his speeding beating heart

And whispers to him, “Nevermore”.

Pleading with the Demon

Artist unknown

The rushing surge of guilt, hinders my feeble mind

As I stare, at my trembling, blood soaked hand,

I awoke from my paralysis, to find a disheartening scene

Splattered across the floor, viscious and animalistic,

Vague in my recollection, yet sufficient, to plague contriteness

As I drown, in the vivid horror of my wrongdoings,

How I tortured and mutilated, being amongst the wicked,

Vanquish my enemies, and allow me to proceed

Down, the shrouded path, far away from this stain,

An eternal echo, that calls to me, chilling my disposition,

It haunts my every move, leading me to a grave I’ve myself dug,

A corruption of my soul, within these bone walls

That I can no longer be surrounded by, its tightening grasp,

With every detail of that night, furiously engraved

Into itself, staring at me, an unforgiving surrounding,

Release these enemies from my crowded back

With more approaching my front door, weakened, by the ghost

That remembers, why I’ve fallen to my knees in this trench,

Trying to dodge paralyzing thoughts, anchored to the crown,

Living in this tangent, scratching at the complacent walls

Hoping, for a break of light to peer through the dense viscosity,

I can’t be here anymore, stranded in my own torment

Following my own deceit, deeper, tucked into the corner

Crouching, from an advancing, floating ominous veil,

Before me, the Demon materializes, fearing his words,

“I find it laughable, that you believe, your disguised penance

Will release you from your guilt, and even this cell,

For its you, who has attracted these enemies to your doorstep,

No demon was the puppeteer, during these heinous sins,

How many lives did you crumple, and stuff, into a box,

Rot in this cage, before you descend to relentlessly agony.”

The demon slowly vanished, leaving the man alone,

He looked around at the cold abyss, cradled his sorrow

And endured crushing solitary, fearing, what lies after his passing.

Below

Artist unknown

What lies beneath the murky surface, is kept hidden

For their, and our protection, as its terrifying myth

Is a warning, for the curious ones near the engulfing swamp

As the dwelling beast, grumbles, in the thick ripples it creates,

Like an enticement, to those prying, around its banks,

Hypnotized, by the sway of the shrubs,  growing off the creature

Pervading the thick moss, entangled with the moist stench,

Bringing the snooping migrant, in closer, to the stirring

In the overturning mire, that begins to slowly swell

And separates, unveiling the monster, to the petrified wanderer,

As it devours him whole, beneath the black nebulous,

A story repeated, to a young and an inquisitive soul,

A little girl, unafraid of the fable, and deeply absorbed

In its lore, that has placed her entire town, into panic,

Angry debates, deciding how vanquish the terror below

Has only created further hysteria, as they place blockades,

Shrouding, the wetlands from ever being traversed,

Until the little girl, succumbed to her heightened intrigue,

She packs her fishing rod and bait, hoping to lure

Out this supposed ferocious and rapacious beast,

She discovers a nestled path, enveloped by outstretched webbing,

Not even her fear of those arachnids, could halt her odyssey,

As she bit down, and charged through the silken blankets,

Feeling the stretch of its cling, as she pushed through,

Swinging her fishing rod, to take some of the brunt

As she kept mowing past the dense vegetation,

Finally, feeling the squish, under her blind steps,

Peeling off the collected entanglement, she found the swamp,

So serene, lavishly blanketed by the green flora,

She was amazed, and excited to ease her bewilderment,

For how can such a place, belong to such a dark tale,

She stepped onto a solid plank, and dropped her baited hook,

As the beast, puzzled, by this sudden appearance,

Cautiously reached out, pinching the worm, as it vanishes

When the girl lifts the rod, checking for any nibbles, nothing,

Plopped back in, as the beast works faster, removing the worm

And ingesting it, the easiest meal it has ever tasted,

As the little girl inspects the bare hook, and drops another feast,

Only this time, the insatiable creature, was caught

As the hook, deeply plunged into its finger,

As the massive beast erupted, out of the dusky water,

Knocking the little girl back, into a swallowing shrub,

Peering out from inside, her eyes fully widened

At the sight, of the monster, from all the stories she heard,

It was much larger than she imagined, yet still, unafraid,

She slowly crept out, and into the streaming light

Carefully disclosing herself, to the panting, angry mosnter,

They both marveled at each other, the beast of legend,

And how the little girl, was blind to the beast’s sonar,

She inched closer, as the beast held his hooked finger,

A throbbing pain, sending sharp shivers throughout,

The little girl cautiously reached out, for the injured finger

Which was snatched back, with an earthquaking roar,

Composed, she climbed the beast and removed the hook,

She jumped back down, her fishing rod in hand, waved farewell,

As the grateful beast, showed her a trail empty of web traps,

They shared one last glimpse, before she vanished,

The girl safely, without webbing, returned home,

She wasn’t eaten, nor torn to shreds by the beast’s razor claws,

Although, there were glimmers of the told fable

In the still moments, when an unexpected fear, crept,

Only to be ignored and shook off, finding a calm gentleness,

For the next day, she ventured back to the tranquil pond

Finding the beast, slightly poking its sight from its domicile,

From then on, they’d spend hours, that led into a soft twilight,

Only to return the next day, growing an unbreakable bond,

Back, in the hollow halls of her den, the light bowed

As her father, watched, her room in the maddening vacancy,

Sirens blaring in his head, anticipating the jarring knock

To inform him, of his only daughters found, mutilated body,

The horror stricken tale, encased his troubled mind,

As the girl’s father, vexed by her constant disappearance,

Followed her trail, and discovered, her glaring disobedience

By the swamp, where he urged, for her distance,

He then saw deeper, at his daughter, resting upon the monster,

His whole body started to pulsate, as he reached for his blade

Nervously, removing it from its sheath, steadying his attack,

The beast felt a surge, shoving the girl to the ground

And finding a charging man, battling out from the shrubs

Heading straight for the beast, with his blade, as his spear,

As the beast pounded the ground, causing the man to stumble

Loosing his blade, lifted, by the nightmarish claws,

The little girl pleaded with the beast, asking to let go of her father,

But the monster was out, and could not be reached

As it sunk a claw, into the man’s thumping chest,

An eerie stillness, washed over the girl, seeing her father drop,

While the perplexed beast, hid in his murky dwelling

That has been corrupted, for the little girl, falling into darkness

Perched by her faded father, finding his blade nestled in the marsh,

Concealing it, as she approached the sullen beast

Who looked to console her, feeling an awakening twinge

Coming from the girl, who suddenly plunged her father’s blade

Deep, into the sunken chest, putting the legend to sleep

As the stunned beast, bogged down, into it’s swampy grave.

The Long Wait

Artwork by Eddie Mendoza

She stands upon the overgrown platform, peering into the distance,

Seeing nothing, but the green swallow, of the abandoned city,

Breaking through the concrete, plant life has consumed her world,

The death, of this modern civilization, leaving her stranded,

Waiting, for what seems like a never-ending delay

To the transport, that would ferry her through the devastation,

But the evergreen wasteland has crippled, her passage,

A perpetual static pervades the stillness, yielding solace

In the maddening vacancy of this terminal, her cage

And the stagnant wind that brushes her hair across her squint,

Straining, to hear the world, outside this shrouded silence,

But she hears nothing, but the rustling in the bush

As a wondering cat, springs out, and rests by her stance,

“You know, that train isn’t coming, might as well find better lodging.”

Surprised by the cat’s speech, and that she understood,

“How long have I been here that you’re now speaking?”

“Just be thankful for my voice, and the conversation,

Don’t worry, about what can’t disrupt this simple pattern

Of you, perched upon this shallow plateau, stuck in a glimpse,

The longer you stay here, the more your roots will stretch

Down into the concrete, losing yourself to the hysteria.”

The girl, drops to the ground, cradling her heavy head

As the cat nears closer, nudging at her hands, to rise,

“If I disembark here, I might have already lost.”

“Fear of losing, chains us to where we can no longer grow,

And that, is where you settled, running while standing.”

She looks away, towards the sheltered and empty pathway

With no movement, no slowly halting approach to the wait,

“I’ve seen the rust spread, and choke, the low glimmer

Which has guarded me here, afraid to let me leave

Digging its thorns, all around, stifling any and all hope.”

“Yet, you still posess the fight, keeping you afloat,

For why else, would you conjure me to unlock the chains? “

The cat, and the vines that kept her from leaving, evaporate,

She begins a different path, away from the overgrowth,

Heading home, hoping that it too, has not been overtaken.

Hunters in the Snow

Art by Srefan Koidl

Its been snowing, for several days now, a bitter cold

And white fleece, blankets this small secluded town,

Its a, “nothing ever happens here”, kind of outland,

Until the clouds, encapsulates the grounded and petrified,

Eerily quiet, as the entire population, lives as introverts,

Even when their neighbor, pleas for his life, in the frozen night,

Does anyone dare, intervene, in the howling of the blizzard,

No one saw them come, as nature gave them their disguise

To sneak around this wasteland, picking their prey,

They rise in the fall, blending in with the white veil,

But now, during the winter solstice, brings this whiteout

And these fiendish predators, sniffing, for their next kill

That satisfies the wintertide, and the furious storm, subsides,

Some hunts, range a fortnight, others could stretch a week

Drowning the town, in a bitter frost plastered nightmare,

Every home, chained, boarded up, and frightfully abandoned,

But it won’t stray these persistent hunters from their prey

That have absconded, for with the pull of the snow, they’ve returned

To their home, unprepared for the horror lurking inside,

Some stay, armed to battle those, who blend into the shroud,

Closing in, on this year’s chase, the hunters are prepared to feast

On an old man, sitting, peering at the door, with a fire roaring

Behind him, casting a tall silhouette upon the still barrier,

Upon his lap, lies his rifle, recalling his grueling training

A young soldier in a cloud of smoke, snaking out from the barrel,

But it wasn’t until, the cloud expanded, in the devastation,

Growing within that fog, was a shadow of his former,

Lost to the avalanche, within him, carrying pieces of innocence

Off the battlefield, that he himself, had mercilessly fractured,

A stream of hatred, poured out, through the rifle, his extension,

The chaos inside, reflected, by his misguided assassinations,

Tearing down lives, that had no haze, no distortion,

A sudden thud, upon his roof, shoving him back into his armchair,

His grip, tight around the rifle, and his heart hammering his chest,

He gets up, peeks through the crack in the rattl boards,

Without touching the door, it unlocks, and slowly creeks open

Letting in an enraged gust, letting in true fear, for the first time,

His hands never wavered, he never heard, his rifle tremor,

He slowly steps out onto his stoop, gazes into the subtle drape,

The hunters, with sleek maneuver, encircled their quarry,

Before he could react, they towered over the fearful

And all the old soldier could do, was drop to his feeble knees,

Asked for forgiveness, for the lives he ripped apart,

He bowed his head to the snow, felt a tear stream down his cheek

And saw the drop, and the contrast of red amongst the white,

He shut his eyes, and balance, was violently restored.