A Recipe for Survival

Art by Dave Lebow

A delicious meal, being made, by a ferociously starved giant,

A pinch of salt, to bring out the bitter sweetness

In the young tender meat, marinating in a cage of fear

As the broth stirs into a simmer, begging, for the ingredient

That’s making the giant salivate, at the trembling pot,

The giant, glances over to the far end of the counter,

Finding two shivering, overtly malnourished children,

The beastly giant licks her lips, collecting the excess saliva,

And all the children can do, is stare, as they drown in distress,

Trying to ignore the storm brewing, in the giant’s empty gut

That exudes a thunderous rumble, calling out, to those meat sacks

Who were scanning the oversized kitchen, for deliverance,

But to no avail, they were still caged, in a living nightmare,

Wondering, if they’d survive, the bleakest of moments,

They couldn’t even recall, how many moon cycles have passed

Since they were abducted, picked right off their backyard tree

Where they had spent days, staring up at the stationary cloud,

Legend of its gray presence, pervade the town’s sense of security,

Curiosity, distracted the two children, who lived in discomfort,

Struggling with the abundancy of their impoverishment,

They perched upon the top branch, trying to distance themselves

From the swarming straits, affecting their cold home,

At the same time, climbing closer to the gray fixation,

Is it possible, that the giants in the cloud, are without melancholy,

A shared daydream, that haunted the children’s cognizance,

Now, aware and locked, in the their own caged disquiet

They find the giant, approaching with their stringy fingers

Clawing it’s way, through the impermeable gray,

Straight, towards the earthquake rattle, of the cage,

The giant lifted the steel entrapment, to face it’s delicacy,

The children scurry, as far away, from the giants face,

Which is pressed up to the tiny bars, squeezing

Its nose in, and inhaling, their sweet delicious aroma,

“Not to worry, your torment ends, as soon as you hit the broth,

Boiling, calling out for you, and yes, even the broth is excited,

How lucky I was, to have sniffed out, your perfume.”

Indeed the giant was lucky to have tumbled and stumbled

Out of the cloud after, what seemed like a purgatorium search,

She scored for the last ingredient, which became a rarity,

For the land has grown scarce, of this highly sought after delicacy,

The most hunted, for it is the tastiest and most tender meat,

Wondering, with her sight hazy, and rapidly diminishing

She followed a scent, her nose kept calling her onward

As she failed to notice, the edge, of her depleting world,

Sending her crashing down, to the wanderlust children,

She caused a colossal commotion, sending onlookers

To their windows and doors, spying at the settling dust,

Awaiting for the cause, to be unveiled from beyond the curtain,

With the aid of an oncoming storm, its gusting winds

Pushed aside the veil, and there she was, the monstrous giant,

But to the children, she was salvation, the answer to their query,

As the townspeople gathered arms, the children softly approached

And recognized, the trembling, in the giants wide stare

That was following the chaos, that started to swarm

The unknown, an empty land, except for tasty treats,

It was hard to breathe, to inhale the air’s thickness,

Her hunger, was ferociously tearing herself up inside

But her attention, was now on the lack of breath

And how quickly, the town readied their defences,

The townspeople anticipated this moment, knew of its existence,

So when she fell, the atomic tremor, had awoken the riot,

And yet, the children’s curiosity, pulled them forward,

The town behind them, filling the night with a raging fire

They called out to her, as she still layed in her self made canyon,

“Giant! We are tired of this world and want to see where you reside.”

She gave a soft nod, and layed her hand for them to climb

Which had outraged the town ever further into fury,

She had the children in her hand and towered,

Saw the onslaught of the town quickly advancing,

Looked around, and saw a mountain, with its peak in the clouds,

That’s where she can get back to her own familiarity,

Her stride, had a much farther reach, that she pulled ahead

And lost the town within moments, as she neared her stairway,

She needed her hands, so she shoved the children into her pocket

The mountain was before her, and it was a simple ascension,

Eager and excited as she easily made her way back home,

Easier to breathe, as her hunger was now again, her focus,

Which brings us here, to her bouquet of aromas

That is taking over her entire home, a delicious allure,

She seasoned the broth with spices and homegrown vegetables

As the children wanted so much, to engulf the contents,

Only, they were to be the last addition to the waiting concoction,

They damned their own lust for something different

As the giant reached for the children, prying them off the bars,

And now all they had to hold onto, was each other,

Dangling above the steaming pot, they could swear they saw a face

In the overturning broth, with splattering lava

Jumping out from the quaking pot, almost burning their bare feet,

The boy looked at his sister, hugged her tighter

And just as they were let go, to plunge into the volcanic pot,

He shoved her, just outside its reach, as he plummeted,

She heard his terror filled cries, as she hid behind tall food scraps,

The giant, blind from hunger, didn’t even notice,

But before long, the giant had a full stomach and a wide smile,

And when a giant is that full, it desperately needs to sleep,

Leaving the kitchen a mess, and the girl to her lonesome

It’s a perfect opportunity, for the now angry girl, still in hiding,

Just like climbing up and down her tree, just outside her window,

She climbed, to the giants throat, and avenged her brother

With a chipped off piece of a knife, left out on the counter

That she had acquired, from the rage that filled her heart,

She ran the fragment across the blubbered gully

As the giant bled out, dying whith a belly full of deliciousness,

And the girl, never left, she stayed in the clouds.

Doomsday’s Arrival

Art by Mark Bryan

The winds, starts to rattle the grey shudders violently

As it smacks feverishly, against the rattling windows,

Lightning so fierce, it streaks across an angry sky,

Then grumbles louder than the thunder that preceded,

A man rushes down the stairs, knocking over a lamp

And pushing aside a chair on his way to the shelving unit,

Resting on one of the shelves, is a framed snapshot of the family,

He grabbs it, punches the glass, takes the photo,

Then finds the car keys, resting on the table in the shallow light,

Cast by the over casting doom, fear overtakes him

As he yells out to his family, to hurry their task,

For the impending future, stampedes toward them,

He yells again, as he heads towards the window

And finds the two rolling horsemen of the world’s demise

On the approach, and their only chance of survival,

Was beyond their home, to which he yelled one last time

Before the entire family rushes out, together, all at once,

They pack the car, with all they could shoulder,

Kicking the dirt up, they sped away from the rampage,

A little easier to breathe, until the home they loved,

Where they built their family, was so easily picked apart,

All they could do, was trek ahead, hoping to survive,

The road was silent, as they passed through abandonment,

Even inside the car, not even the white noise of silent air waves,

He started to relive fond moments, it was where he fell in love

Many times, over and over again, with his wife

And their two kids, engraved, into those homey walls,

That no longer echoes the past, those intimate moments

Is shipwrecked, by the tidal wave of this apocalyptic end,

He looks over at his wife, struggling to find his voice,

“Do you think, we will ever rediscover ourselves,

Here, in the mist of what was, hiding from annihilation,

Will we ever rest, the fear gripping us, and lay upon soft grounds,

Or does it even matter, as long as we can huddle together.”

She speaks, within them, while looking back at the children,

“There was a promise, we made after our protracted conversation,

But you haven’t held up your end, not yet, there’s still time.”

He looks back towards her, then back to the emptiness,

“I don’t know if I can, what happens afterwards,

The unknown road, that will lead us to the next phase of life,

I want to remember all of us, you, in your bathing suit

Running around after the kids, as I play the announcer,

And after catching them in your arms, we all pose.”

“The same bathing suit, I’m oddly wearing at this moment.”

Suddenly he notices it, the same outfits in the still,

A winter chill, grew inside, as he let those words vibrate,

Why is she wearing the same exact suit from the picture,

He pulls over suddenly, swerving, stopping yards away

From a new set, of this impending conclusion,

“You did it, you went through with what we discussed.”

“There’s nowhere we can run, that’s why we decided to die together,

In our own way, beyond what was trying to keep us apart,

I understand your fear, after seeing our deaths,

But you can still find us, after you jump into the void.”

He pulls the photo from his pocket, they’re living in that moment,

And that’s where he should be, once he shuts his eyes,

He sees the engulfing black swirl of doom approaching

As he stares into the eyes, of the one with tattered wings,

A wad of tears, choking his words, he whispers to her ghost,

Looks calmly down at the passenger seat, backseat

And behind his, smiles, a tear held in the arch of his curved lip,

Takes a deep breath, in the knowing, they are simply, not there.

Dorian Poe 2019

Out From the Drift

The events, that have led you into the drift, remain vague,

Stunned at the absence that crowds you, as a flutter

From the stinging bitterness of the swarming tundra

Causes a twinge, down the seam, of the fragile fabric,

You struggle, with the blurred recollection, violently dragged

Into the listless stray, and abandoned, as you proceed

In solitude, leaving you open to the blueak, still silence

Of a constant stream, afloat, here in this winter desert,

Straining to clarify what’s embedded within the pouring mist,

You slowly crouch, below the constant stream

And notice a crow, perched above, stretching its beak apart,

Expecting it to echo a screech, but this hush stays intact,

Hidden, in the thick darkness hovering atop the contrast

Is the hunter, and you, their paranoid, panicking prey,

Softly, does this stealthy pursuer glide through the desolation

Never losing sight of you, while you wonder inside your rattle,

Trying to discover the path, beneath the iron curtain,

You seek blindly, unaware of the sinking ground

Below the weary traipse, of a lost, rusted anchor,

Amused by your fatigue, the stalker readies the attack,

Tightening the spread, quietly, with precise patience,

Oblivious and still, you follow your own exhalation

To prove to yourself, of your own, beating existence,

It’s time, to challenge the draught, but where is the well,

And now, here I stand, above my fading martyr,

You’ve always lived in the drift, escaping my persistence

For far too long, until this night, when you gazed upon silent death,

Only I can hear its shrill voice, calling to me, my hound,

It’s a pity how memory can fade, and vanish from the freeze,

Finally now, the drift is completely vacant and abandoned,

A Lost Tale’s End

A rushing bitter wind, that does not cease, pushes

All throughout the barren forest, with no twig

Wavering in its path, as it surrounds an eerie collective,

Bunched by a haunted settlement, deep within the barrier’s keep,

Seen there, is time forgotten and slipped, into languish,

The moment is sheathed, of when it all was corrupted,

A nightmare, living out its terror, without any appease

To those, who bear the events, who’ve had their vibrance stripped

While they roam the gray, replaying what occurred,

A cemented finale, taunts the living, as the sorcerer revels,

Everlasting glee, surveying the misery and agonizing gloom

Of the forest folk, for this tale wrenches the hearts

Of all those who hear it, for that reason, no one dares, recite,

Even now, it aches to divulge its truth, to these open pages,

Of how the forest, became an eternal, winter graveyard,

It all emerged, from an unrequited desire, the villainy

That had crept up, invading sanity, pulling at its soundness,

Belonging, to a creature of longing, for their infatuation

With vivid eyes, that had pierced his stone temple,

Had become, his sole existence, all by which he was consumed,

Her smile, gave him lift, up out of his own misfortunes,

Her sweet perfume, eradicated his somber disposition,

Until, she shattered his euphoria, as he plummeted

Deep into a hollow dimension, within his own psyche,

Where a whirlwind, has trespassed, and brought affliction,

His Hyde side, was rapidly expanding, and replaced

His once calm demeanor, to become a turbulent venom,

Set to corrupt her happiness, bring it all down to a speck,

He found a curse, one so baneful, that it frightened demons

That lurked inside of him, to which sanity almost escaped,

Only those same depraved beasts, flinched and encouraged

The curse to breathe, giving spark, to the creation,

The next day, he skulked from the only alley untouched by light,

Followed her gleeful stride, past the town’s border

Into the equally spirited forest, awaiting her prince paramour,

Unaware, of a sneaking presence, surveying her beauty

That used to appease him, now stirs a volatile rage

That he used, to target, her daydreaming wonderment,

All while she roosted, upon the agreed meeting stone,

The cold pendulum, swung furiously, as she lingered

Under the complacent sun, hovering in the eternal echo,

The curse, had entangled her, oblivious to it’s clutch,

Locked, within her own time capsule, within an eclipse,

And the only way, to escape the curse, was for her heart to warm

In the embrace of her inamorato, for it was outside his reach,

As the ice barrage, gusted over the entire lush forest,

Unleashing the scourge, to devour light, without any prejudice,

Leaving the orchestrator of the curse, in the inmost of darkness.

The Runnaway and Her Guide

Her heart, bears down in her caved in chest, like an anchor,

Too heavy, are her steps that make deep impressions

In the soft snow, leaving her trail as she tries to vanish

From a villainous, overbearing shadow, closely following

As she sluggishly drags herself, wounded by a distraction,

A path, that sat so clouded, she couldn’t see the descent,

Fallen, so far down the rabbit hole, with the weight forcing

Her down further, nothing to ease her into liberation,

The shadow, ingests any inkling of light, trying to squeeze

Through a swell of darkness, only to have her crash

Back into the clinging holds of the shadow’s depression,

She claws at the abyss, escapes and carries her sorrow,

On the run again, she’s found, but by a carrier of light,

An albino raven, hoping to carry her heart, in aid

So that she can fade, past sight of the stalking shadow,

So the raven takes hold, of her weighted torment

As she starts to walk, a little easier, leaving no trace

For the eager and engrossing shadow to plague,

Yet it rolls forward, sniffing for her distinction,

Closing in, the raven urges, for the runaway to hasten

As the raven feels her slipping, back into extinction,

He then spreads his wings, eclipsing the rolling black,

Hoping to cloak her, with her languid fractured heart,

The raven does not abandon her side, as she collapses,

But now, a shallow drop, for she has her loyal guide

To carry her out of the fog, and when she slips again,

He’ll pick her back up, filling in the shadow’s nest,

To one day, sustain the crushing pendulum of her anguish.

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.

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.

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.

Her Little Eyes

She sits, and spies out her window, into the lives of strangers,

Absorbing their day, their routine, becomes her obsession,

Enhaling all that she sees, and files it away, deep, in her mind,

She rummages through, picking apart all the lives

That are absorbed by her little eyes,

Their dark intimacy, hers to rewind and play

To her desires, outlining all these private events

As they unfold before her, never blinking, or flinching away,

Fully vested, as her neighbors proceed, with their reserves,

Unsuspecting of her eyes, as she blends, into the shadow,

Her only ally, the only thing, aware of her isolated existence,

Cloaking her, in it’s safe embrace, as she pushes

Further into it’s depths, losing herself to the shadow,

Nothing is left behind the curtain, as her eyes pierce through,

Studying, a couple separated by a wall, but in the same domain,

No longer their moments, as her eyes invaded

The space between them, which feels so cold, held

In her vision, surveying their constricted movements,

A man and a woman, sharing a story with her little eyes

Without even realizing, how their secrets, are displayed,

The man, sunken into the couch, while the woman slaves,

Leering at the man, her shrill voice piercing his serenity,

Minute after minute, she breaks the silence, and his fist gets tighter,

Gripping onto his anger as best he can, following the drips

Of sanity, that echo out, while those little eyes sparkle,

Gleefully watching the cracks spine up the narrow alley

Of their reality, they rushed into their unstable fusion,

Those eyes watching the man struggle, his temper climbing,

His own eyes begin to stammer, not realizing the knife,

His rage blinded him, he ignored her to the point her own rage

Took control, showed her where her serenity lives,

Took the blade she used for all those frustrated meals,

Ended them, by ending him,

Never have those little eyes, stared so immensely,

Haunted, by her own spying, she’s kept frozen,

Unsure if she should act, afraid for her hobby,

To the world, this all would be an aberration,

Not in her eyes, she never hurt anyone living in others,

But how much, can she trust the shadow, keeping her hidden,

Stuck in the moment, that shattered the harmless,

She draws the shades, pulls the shadow closer,

And finds herself empty, next to the woman still holding the knife,

Her little eyes grows weak, taking with her, all the stories

She’s stolen, while losing her own shadow to her own greed.