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.

Chaos and Her Myth

Art by Victor Castillo

The night sings, reaching the high spirits that occupy

This sacred forest, as she dances along its spine,

Gleefully, as a child does, without care, or consequence,

Only this child, is no child at all, as told within it’s own myth,

She doesn’t belong here, for her presence distracts the follow,

But is that her intention, to see how rapidly, it all can crumble

As she hovers in the midst, revelling in the collapse

To which she holds the match, reflecting destruction, in its flame,

Oblivious, to the chaos that is savagely engulfing

All that has occupied her existence, that is now her solitude,

Yet she brandishes her painted smile, which is constantly appeased

By the havoc, sprinting through the fleeing lush panic,

It is the fire, soaring across the tree tops, blanketing the forest,

Leaving behind, only dust, in the frames of the bygones,

For how can anyone tame, an unruly, destructive force

With a tarnished past, tormenting her every action,

As she fled far from the expansive northern light,

Until her transgression, of all that has manifested

From her being, became a speck, in her conjured whirlwind,

So they fear her, as her myth spreads like a rolling tidal wave,

So much so, that they hail chaos, and make her a god of fear,

Not worship, but to revere her, in hopes of calm waters,

As she peers through the flames, spying on her origin,

Never letting those, who unleashed chaos upon herself,

Forget that chaos, will be their life, until their own, find death.

~Before

It was a perfect utopia, oh so many moons ago,

When our home wasn’t a brittle skeletal structure

That it is today, a sad and lonesome fate, we buried ourselves,

Deep within the torture of chaos, as we are now the tormented,

She resided in our town, a young girl, truly gleeful,

She was in the open lavender field, skipping and laughing,

Only she was not unattended, not too far away, was a pursuer,

Observing her, as she scampers through the brushing,

Until she stumbled, upon a boy from the town’s presence,

She started to tremble, seeing evil in his wide grin,

So she sprang, into a mad dash, back towards the town,

As the flower blades whipping her, as sprints past

Holding tightly to her sweet innocence, a delicacy

To the swampy town folk, clawing at her heels, salivating,

Just as she gets within view of her home, she collapsed

Down to her knees, as she watched in horror, tearfull,

A bright angry blaze, ripping apart her family,

Behind her, without noticing, gathered a proud army,

“You don’t belong here, you little demon, go into the flames!”

“Why have you done this, you cruel murderers!”

“Your family has darkness in their ugly hearts,

You’ve brought nothing but trouble from the moment you settled,

Now, it is time for you to wonder alone, or die with your own.”

“We did nothing to you people, we just wanted contentment.”

“How, when you tease the town, with your prancing,

We saw how you danced and brought sin to our hands.”

“You blame me for your horrid and perverse eagerness?”

“You either stay, and be a slave to our new desires,

Or escape, never to return here, amongst these ashes.”

She looked upon the crashing, of all that had kept her safe,

In minutes, it was reduced to waste, washed away with the wind,

She rose up, without turning towards her accusers,

“You won’t ever see me, but my fury, will always burn

And chase you, as you have chased after a martyr,

Be weary of your steps, for you shall now see your misdeeds

Along with the all those, who mimic your ignorance.”

And so it became, a world suffering from chaos.

Thine Own Self

What feels like dragging an anchor through the sand

Is just a weary man, stripped, of his beloved identity

As he looks ahead, to the forsaken path, and dreadfully sighs,

With dissatisfaction, of how he’s traveled an unforeseen

And an oblique distance, he ponders, how one man settles

While staring intensely out, through the frosted panes

Into a jaded blist-full scenario, that no one emerges

As the valiant one, but dreams, of a momentous moment,

Only to realize, he’s simply contrived the impossible,

A floating barrel, brimming with an unstable psychosis,

Closely stalkingly him in the pitch black unknown,

As he pulls on the weight, that forces him still,

So he howls, at the glow of the full moon, nestled

In the falling overcast, shrinking from its absence,

A furious fray, rages on, in the complicated mechanisms

Carefully cranking, each gear shifting the other in place,

What might seem, like an unruly jagged jigsaw,

Is paradoxical, for this man scours the land of dormant giants

That at any moment, will awaken, to tear him down, crumbling,

Then in a panic, he tries to collect himself, scattered

And struggling to keep bound, each piece resistant

To the onslaught of his fever, hoping harden his malleable

Self constructed being, riding the rim of insanity,

Fearfully aware, of the beasts still hibernating within,

And once those disengaged fragments, stray past the valley

They will rise, and take control, losing himself, unabridged,

Married, to the distant trail, never again, fully collected.

Ornaments

Art by Lisa Steinberg

You’ve been carried off, a distance unrecognizable,

Smells putrid, as it enters, your fragile senses,

A damp, almost transparent cloth, snuggly fastened

Around you, rendering you blind, to the horror

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

But all that appears, are blurry shapes, dancing

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

With an even larger object, in the center, wooden

Compared to the floating blurs, yet it’s presence

Slithers down your spine, icy tremors, from within

Intensely pounds upon your chest, as darkness takesover,

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

The blindfold, gone, and you slowly fix focus,

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

Is slowly constructing ornaments, the same ones, dangling

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

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

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

It completes the ornament in its possession, and suspends

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

Lifeless, only gaining momentum from your own scream,

How do you suppress the howling terrors that emanate

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

Starring at you as you shiver, the black hollow outlets

Are consuming you, taking away your stability

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

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

Is actually you, slowly deconstructing your fortified self.

A Demon Inside

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

Would you listen to your mind, whispering cruel words

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

As the heart, watches with tears, steaming down

Creating a puddle, where those feelings drown,

The heart, can do nothing else, but stay witness

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

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

Then, it is the brain that originates what has driven

The heart absolutely insane, some more than those passed,

Be weary of those lost to the overbearing world

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

Hiding Out

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

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

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

The rushing sound, of whirling wind, surrounds

His absence, as the heightened tension rumbles

Just below the condensation covered filter of the mayhem,

Reaching, for his incognizance in hopes to distress,

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

Slithering up the rattled building, as the distance

Closes in, unbeknownst to the severely diluted brain,

For it only took moments, before the havoc scaled

To the top, appeared and swarmed the depressed space,

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

A Tale of Designed Fate

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

Flickering hallway, as the pulsation grows louder,

Stretching the corridor out from the diseased shadow

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

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

His cheek fused to the bleak slab of ice, squeezing

Tighter, the more he struggles, as heavy thuds approach

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

As the slice from the swinging cover bounces

In the crowded echo, slowly dissipating, abandoning

This crippled being, as he pleads with the inner infestation

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

Up his insides, a violent intruder gorging themselves

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

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

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

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

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

Salivating rat, surveying the man as it moves in,

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

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

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

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

Brittle knees, at that moment, finds the charging fester

Gnawing at his arm, and immediately swipes

But the rat, does not detach, finding nirvana

In the flavor of decay, until the poison reaches

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

Lets go, and slowly climbs down while wiping the blood

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

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

“You should really be viewing your own reflection

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

Surprised that the rat responded, the man scurried

Back against the spinney wall, staring intensely

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

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

An outburst from your paroxysm, festering in your brain,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As he bares emptiness, for all he possesses is villainy

Anchored, to his eroding ravaged wasteland of a corpse

Dragging itself through the internal seething, trembling

In the bleak, falling without making any sound,

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

A painfully blank expression, stretched across his face,

As the rat stares at the stunted crippled husk

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

And the rat, could not let the opportunity slip past

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

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

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

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

The man pondered, contemplating his daily routine

With one eye, then contemplated killing the rat

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

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

Yet, he leapt and acknowledged their temporary bond,

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

The crack, between the bottom of the fortified door

And concrete floor, then the man heard scratching

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

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

Creaking slowly was the door, as man quickly hid,

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

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

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

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

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

A hideous collection of acquired eyes, frozen in decay,

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not in the slightest, the rat you ate possessed

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

“Now inside my stomach lining, an appetizer,

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

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

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

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

Filled with occupied parchment, lives all sketched out

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

The designer dove back into his sinkable couch

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

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

“The wretch you devoured, explained your cravings,

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

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

From the shrinking man, as the designer got up close

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What of the sun beaming warmth, while a cool breeze

Rushes by, pushing you closer to the sweet scent

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

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

The man looked down at his hands, arms and feet

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

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

Looking for the designer, but he was alone,

No tall gruesome foreseer stalking in the corner

Sucking on his blood soaked fingers from eating a rat,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before you’ve actually left them, because somehow

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

Those moments stay with you, attach themselves

To every unstable vessel, crushed in the avalanche.”

Ode Before Dying

Death before you, and you’ve lost

The concept of how to act,

A slab of marble, chiseled into absence,

Stif, barely able to move those frail lungs,

Gasping, for something stranded

An inch away,

Losing color, in the uninspired slop

Upon your bored plate,

A tick, forgetting to tock and so forth,

Or can you not hear it’s song,

Falsely clapping, as the curtain drapes

Over you, over a hollow echo,

Death, therefore I swallow, and choke.

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.

Punishment

It surrounds us, marinating, in our ignorance,

As we proceed unaware, detached from cognition,

Strung out, in the oblivious, unsuspecting of our ghost,

Clutching, at the dried up leaves, playing in the snowing ash

Until you’re alone, telling yourself, it’s familiar,

You’ve grown into this storm, and become accustomed

To the edge of the moment, waiting to be tipped over,

Hanging on as the ground withers, blends into the fall

And you’re done, regrets crowd the space, you’ve once occupied,

But no matter, there’s plenty to follow those hackneyed mistakes,

Drowning their sadness in shallow waters, black and cold,

Why do we all have our epiphany, when we’re in waste,

Gasping for relief, while they’re burying themselves,

Forcing deliverance further away, for we’re our punisher,

It festers beneath our skin, keeping us a slave

To the rot, as we are all caught in it’s daunting tangle,

Yet, we ignore it all, until it’s deafening growls

Strikes us still, looking back at the missed captures,

Finding ourselves within the break between seconds,

Scared, of who we see reflected back at us, a stranger,

Yet we recognize this shadow, it’s been perched

Above our heads, whispering distractions, leading us to dark,

Deeper into the gullet, until we’re withdrawn,

Alone, telling ourselves, it’s our fault,

For we truly are, our own, worst enemies,

Our focus is on the rest of the world,

That has already passed judgment,

As we carry out our own punishment of self doubt.