Stained Purity

Artwork by Ryu Eun Hye

A heavy darkness, is draped, and framed around her sullied grief,

For she never thought of his heft, until the severed head

Of her dear father, stoutly rested upon her hollow chest

While she intently stared, through the heavy curtain, of the night,

Into his pale blue lifeless eyes, that almost seemed, to reciprocate,

Was just her eyes, reflected back in the frigid shallow depths

Of her king, whom she once revered, with a kingdom, that despised his rule,

A lost empire, they walk blindly, towards the brim of the cuff,

As the stains of treachery, seep deeply, into the fibers,

Pain, trapped in the talons of deception, running rampid

In the grand castle, housing death, of those fallen to the shrouded blade,

It was the world in despair, perched, upon the young girl’s shoulders

As she softly asks, “Why?”, waiting for those cold lips to part, and answer,

But the eerie dead silence, weighs heavier, than the rotting disjoin,

How could she knock on the gates of sanity, expecting sincerity

When all it does, is ignore the plea of the lost, and of the broken,

But does that mean, the axis you’re buried in, has to be your grave?

A question, she struggled with, as she gently placed her father to rest

Upon the stained royal threading, like the one, sunken into the ground,

She vacated her bed, and approached, her blurred reflection,

Only, there was something else, peering back through the looking glass,

As she crept in close, she found a tight huddle of decapitation,

Painted, onto the folds, in rigid strokes that blended its unsightly disorder,

Which pierced the veil, straight into the heart of her innocence,

She questioned their appearance, searching her deprivation

For clues to clarity, knowing, their presence was the real query,

But her concern, was their striking anger, pervading desolation,

Nothing, but the whispers in her ear, from voices long snuffed

Out of existence, to be resurrected, in her hour of torment,

A glaring stain, that’s all it was, she repeated back, drowning the voices

Suddenly surrounding her, enveloped by their breath,

A rising fog in her narrowing canal, leading her back to the surface,

“Your hands!” – the voices repeated, like a skipping record

Echoing off each other’s final syllable, heard eternally

In her mind, as her fading grip on the tangible, loses the edge,

While these voices, coming from a mirage of floating deceased familiars,

Continued their repetitive chant, and feeling those words vigorously rattle

Against her chest, drowning her, in the avalanche of their onslaught,

Still hearing it’s chime, as it shakes off the rust, a ghost from her past

And a rising chill, that slices through, as time stands still

Atop the broken pendulum, forgotten about amongst the rubble,

Hooked, into her consciousness, as it slithered through her senses

Leaving behind a grave remembrance, like a figure in ragged cloth

Slowly scraping its scythe, along the conscious dread,

She felt it’s jarring slither, invading her temple, tightening it’s grasp,

As she ripped herself out, from the inside, and examined the parasite,

It’s familiar villainous glare, captured, her bewildered attention

And dragged it, with its thorny tentacles, tattering along her entrails,

Purging this alien being, examining it in a stunned silence

As she becomes consumed by this evil, stretching out, spilling

Onto her crumbling perception of her own sanity,

Who were these gruesome faces, glaring, at the poor girl, losing her religion,

Starting her monologue in order to rationalize her madness,

Trying to convince herself, that it was only a haunting mirage,

But then she noticed her cage, was slowly shrinking, tightening its choke

Around the absolute, leaving her gasping and frozen, in it’s imprint,

Grasping her head, as if it was the only way, to keep it attached,

Closing her eyes, feeling for tranquility, to which has dissipated,

Leaving her stranded, alone, in the complexity of this moment,

As “Your hands!” again, reaches out from the infinite darkness

Of her own chambers, where these faces, have found birth,

Or have they been stationary, from before the dawn of her time,

Only now, breaking silence, as they catch her terror-filled attention,

Dragging her sight back towards the perched dominion,

Pulling her in, staggered over, planted back on her stained damask,

And strayed her sight, to what she hoped, was a horrific illusion,

Tucked up intothe bedstead, as the watchful eyes follow, meeting her gaze,

Piercing her shaken soul with their watchful daggers,

Then, in unison, they speak… “Your hands, carried our words

Lost eternally, in the tears crashing down us, for we are known!”

Feeling, the wakening cracks of her dessert tongue

As she forces speech, wide eyed and dismayed,

“Known… by who? What is the reason for this horrifying presence?”

“Your hands carries our weight, our debt, in the blood you spilled.”

Those last words, chimed around in her sunken skull,

The horror still perceived, within her bewilderment,

“Who’s blood?!”… was she already bathing in it, taken from the guillotine,

As she crashed against stone, constructed in her own clouded mind,

Stopping her from cognizance, dormant, upon her padded frame,

As she was afraid to lose her grip, upon the shadow that she cast,

For she did recognize the gazing, frightening huddle,

She bolted herself onto her likeness, speaking to her past, suffocated

Under the anchor she drew upon herself, forced deeper

Into the shadow of her virtue, until the moment it had shattered,

For her empire, collapsed, under the weight of treachery,

Losing sight of anything further, past the point of her father’s doom,

Suddenly the room spun Her around, as the ragged cloth approached

With a dusty veil, draped from its crown, scrapping a scythe of bone

Beyond the deep of its narrow cave, toward her illumination,

And it’s true reveal, slowly pulling back, shedding the darkness,

Divulging, the unkempt veil of matted, and tangled hair

That seemed to blend, into the stained ragged cloth it wore

As it continued to replace, the space between them, groaning,

And dragging its skeletal foot, beyond, onto the foreground of her disbelief,

There, amongst the spinning silence that entwined their convergence,

Was the distant shadow, now in front of her, a glaring reflection,

As her insanity grew from the heart, it was awakened, by her mind,

A sinuous mound in the collapse, down to her frail knees,

Suddenly, the little girl, was a fallen angel, amongst the bones of time,

Her own moment, calcified, while being buried alive, within insanity,

“I know the gruesome expressions on the faces, peering through the shallow’s deep.”

Awoken, by the beast of her own hollowed out incarceration,

She was never far, from its breath, heavy upon her nape

And reminded constantly, of the head she had torn off, by sharp steel,

In order to save an empire, that fell, along with their queen,

But even though she had retired the beast, it tends to rise, eventually.

51422 D. Poe

This Midnight’s Visitor

Created by Linda Unger

Once, upon a furiously biting chill, was a vanishing man, desperate

To battle through stubborn barriers, that encapsulated his struggle,

For not a single ounce of gain, could this stranded soul grasp,

Huddled, into the soft dark, forced, to witness the fury of the storm,

As it was the night’s eye, peering down, upon his heavily draining

State of weary, and unrest, fading any inkling of ease,

Sunken deeper, into his velvet plush web, trapped in horror

With the panic, of his very own distress, he embraces a Neverending night,

Which finds it’s perch, upon his sil, tapping ever so gently

Upon the fidgeting glass, that can barely keep the rage contained,

Tap tap, tap tap – unnerving, as each tap was burrowing into his scalp,

Incessant beckoning for his attention, from those quick jabs

By a devil bird, dressed in shadows, but still discernable,

Splintering the glass, letting in a low clash of howling winds,

He tightly clasps his eye lids shut, as the tapping continues, loudly echoes

In his very own outstretched halls, with the cannonade, inching closer,

Becoming a deep thud, rippling into a shallow resonance,

Narrowing in, struggling to pacify his now erratic breathing,

As if his chest was going to cave in, and leave his heart, under the rubble,

To escape it, he ventures out into the maddening stir,

Shouting, “No winged beast can follow me through this void!”

Not realizing, his sanctioned place, his very own stoop,

Giving him a lack of distance, from the tapping persistence,

As the “winged beast”, stalked, upon the man’s obvious misery,

Suddenly, sees his retreat back in, hearing his wrestle,

Bursting in through the door, startling his unwelcome visitor,

Now hovering, vigorously flapping it’s wings, fighting against storm,

And finally, the fated shatter of the window, allowing in his guest,

In, with a flying frenzy, zipping around, knocking over sanity,

He reached for his fading, yet slightly lasting grip of the dissolve, to peg

This creature, with those fallen parts from the decomposition

And then, by the powers of Willow, the bird, metamorphoses 

Into a Sphynx, standing tall, with such a look of distain

But then rubs her head upon his shivering torment,

And as unpredictable as all felines are, it goes for a chomp

Upon his apprehensive status, and avoids insult to injury,

“Such a rude visitor.” He gruffed, reaching for the bits of leftovers,

As it echoes in speech, crashing hard against the silence,

“And you, are a rude host, as you should be honored at my arrival,

For with this open canvas available to me, I planned my perch here.”

Puzzled, he chose to ignore this nuisance, but would it dissipate,

To dwindle past his recognition, and stay stranded,

Would it’s “gracious” presence, even allow to be treated as such,

He wondered over to the shattered open window, searched

The pale night sky, for exactly what, wasn’t obvious,

But it pierced the brick that stood firmly, and into his dominion,

A bolt of lightning, with Satori, swinging into his lucid consciousness.

“What possess a man, to sentence himself to death row

From the strangling comfort, of his sofa, and tying his own noose,

While he writes his memoirs in dust, to erase, in the forthcoming breeze,

There must be purpose, cause, for my rapid breath.”

Softly spoken, yet loud at the very same time,

“You’ve shed the clouds, that have been attached to Achilles,

And now your purpose, in hibernation within, can resume,

Just make sure to leave that window ajar, for I may return.”

And as quickly as it came, it vanished into the gray,

That now displays cracks, of vibrant blue, highlighting the mundane

And ascending beyond the pale, bringing forth, a new day.

The Stranded and the Asthmatic; An Alien Western

What I,

At 38, living

On my own Two pogo sticks,

for 15 years
Have to send
To my parents,

[Insert text here…]

*Hey, its late and I’ve been drinking, so I’m sleeping over at Irene’s (my sister). Sorry I didn’t tell you before. I lost track of time… and, I was really drunk… still am 🤪🙃😝*
Now, that I have been
Forced, to live with my own
Mamma and pappa… again,
So thankful, for their generosity
By taking me in, a stranded mouse,
On his own with his asthmatic cat,
What parents I have,
A pleasant surprise, at the end
Of a very strange tunnel,
Yes, I am back at my home,
Which at one time, was a place I ran from,
I now find myself there,

Here’s the pilgrimage, a western if you will,

That led me back, to my childhood home,


FADE IN; trading in, my Batmobile:
My first car, that I absolutely loved
And miss, so much!!!
I was presented, whith a fun spunk
To my arsenal of bat-motors,

A re-imagined batmo… robinmobile!?!?
Which, only trice, did I flip,
The calendar pages, of the Child,

I stood at the edge, of her total eclipse,
When a flash flood, came, and wrenched
Her away from me, her guts, sizzling,
While submerged, in the swampy depths
Of this wetland, where I’ve resided, for a decade
Of my perfectly contentnt existence,
[Sigh] She was replaced,

but not with the same luster, nor the same edge,
But a month and a half later, what fate
Has brought this to my entrée?
Hurricane fu’king Ida, barged in, shoving
This footloose, and fancy free stag, on the street,
No concerns, for where I can lay my head down,
Me, and my very own, Harley Quinn,
An asthmatic Sphynx, newly diagnosed,
Oh boy, honestly, because my twisted brain,
Thought the absolute, very fu’king worst,
But she’s doing better now

…thank you,


And thank you, to my parents
For taking us in,

…the stranded
And the asthmatic

There were no aliens…

©️Dorian Poe 9/19/21

~P.S.~

Happy birthday to my beautiful amazing sister Irene, and thank you again to my parents for everything that they are helping me with during this fu’king insane time in my life. I don’t say it nearly enough, but I love you guys. I am forever in your debt 🙏

~P.P.S.~

Thank you to Chewy for staying up until 5:30A.M. writing this and killing aliens with me.

… OH, WAIT!?!? There were Aliens

After the Fall

He bursts into the dimly lit room, jarring, the settled silence,

Thrashing the stillness, and corrupting the somber space,

A disorganized orchestra, shouting at the splattered chaos

As he creates a hurricane, shredding this once, happy home,

While seen past the draped rainfall, and heavily clouded windows

Is the lucid view, of his distress, sprayed across the scuffed floor,

For every object he grabs, is another painful, shrillful chill

Singeing, up his spine, sending him on this path of destruction

Where each object is pitched, and fragments upon impact,

But the life from them, vanished long, before this night,

He used to hear their heart, caged, inside their silence

And let them sing, encouraging their spirited orchestra,

Now, a lackluster remembrance, within the death of inspiration,

As he continued his warpath, plunging further down his rabbit hole,

Suddenly, a hollow knock slices through the palpable air,

Interrupting the madness, or perhaps, further igniting his rage

As another hollow echo, drums, along the crumbling shack,

Thoughtfully hidden, deep into seclusion, yet discovered,

Again, is the deep thud, forcing him to charge towards the source,

And without caution, he thrusts open, his chamber door,

His face, flushed with plum, at the realization, and he whispers,

“What if this, is the hell, that I live in?”

He finds the jagged sliver, just by his foot, dancing a reflection

Into his face, begging him to lift it, from the cold floor,

“There is no one at my door, yet there knocks one’s persistence.”

As he creekingly shuts the door, unsure of the origin

To this maddening knocking, that starts to resonate, in his crowded mind,

With the door closed, he stood there, resting his sweaty head

Upon the stressed door, listening, to the broken silence,

And then, a thunderous voice appeared, from right at his neck,

Spun around, he caught gaze of an unknown man before him,

“How have you come to be at my toes, I saw no one enter.”

“You invited me, don’t you recall our conversation just before?”

A vacant look, upon his face, puzzled by this stranger,

“Here, let me remind you of what you have clearly misplaced,

I was knocking, for what seemed like an eternity,

Until you threw open the door, startling me,

We spoke, briefly, until you let me in, and here we speak.”

“But you knocked.” Still with a slight hesitancy,

“Yes, I did mention, its how you finally came to be in my presence,”

No, you knocked again… after, while I held the door ajar.”

“I see, that is strange, was that how my previous knocks resonated?”

He took in the sight of the stranger, his smile, deeply curved,

“Why do you ask?” Leaning back further against the door,

“A curious soul, please, if you could answer my query.”

“They all sounded similar, not one different, from the other,”

And as the last syllable, left his lips, the walls stretched,

The ceiling, along with the attached racing fan,

And molding back, into himself being behind the wheel,

Parallel parking, into a tightly narrow space, success!

The sun shined down upon his face, as he smiled up at its warmth,

Suddenly, that same hollow explosive thud, bounced through the air

As it all went black, until he walked back in, angry,

But never bothered with the reason, why his temper flared

As he had returned, home from an ordinary day,

But for him, it was sweet, with warmth in his embrace,

Her face clear behind closed eyelids, with the sun as the projector,

Stolen, robbed of her smile, as he came home,

Lifting objects with her essence, hoping for her vision to return,

As his anger grew, unable to return from the crypt,

“You’re the devil!” With a rising anger in his proclamation,

The stranger chuckled hard, at his absurd statement,

“I’m the one that shot you, grabbed your money

And ran into the street, blindly, and was struck by a speeding car,

This is my hell, this is my house, you’re throwing my things,

Please, I beg you, please stop destroying my home,

A blank look upon his face, “Why are you in here?!”

Pushes the stranger out, slams the door, locks it,

A fire in his eyes rises, as he sees the chamber, put back together,

And starts to thrash, the resurrected home, his whole world,

While the stranger stands outside, getting smashed

Repeatedly, by the car that killed him, to the chaotic orchestra.

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 slight 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 echo, 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 reemerge, inside the domain of the hungry horde,

Salivating, at the palpable 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

Their rigidly sharp and broken teeth, a constant waking nightmare,

No time for trips down days of pleasantries, my dreams were now reminders,

How many times, I had to scour from the rotting corpses,

Instinctively cloaking my breathing, in a choking silence,

No deflection for my presence, as they would near hastily, and hungry,

A new world order, for survival, the choice was to devour the decay,

Forcing raging bullet, after bullet into endless vacancies,

Crushing the lingering light, entombed, into their decomposing after,

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

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

Until, I hovered over him, in this open cage

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, and 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, fueled 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 metamorphoses, 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 chaos, 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 safety along the city’s edge,

But without sight of my brother… 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 a while,

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, that my brother and I couldn’t devour,

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

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 rushing blaring light,

Enveloped in the darkest of moments, for after endless searching,

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

As I tightly grip my eyes around this illustration,

A memorial that will be a new kind of torment, a new meaning

To our oath, 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”.