Epiphany

An ineluctable epiphany taints the morning
air breathability, a noxious duality bearing
curiosity and causality; too inquisitive to mould
his nascent suitability, too unmoulded to warrant

the necessity of equanimity; a purgatory of
instability, his isolation and its unsustainability,
embrace taciturnity or be silenced for all eternity;
a boiling proclivity perturbs the surface of

morality -if there exists such a commodity- when
alternatively an eventuality unfolds… unbridled
machinations smear his sanity with self-directed
profanity of an apparent lack of humanity; one

plumbum at high velocity could cure the
abnormality, or candy red fountains of sanguinity
might disenthrall the infirmity, or would liberating
his sole suspendedly alleviate his mental disability;

perhaps a contraption of ingenuity to net all three,
in a long-coming cacophony of certainty & finality;
engenderment of vacuity, tranquility in the writhe-
free, wight-free, write-free intractability of reality

art: by Zdzisław Beksiński

Zugzwang

Turbid sludge coerced through ever
constricting jugulars, thickening
with peculiar particulates; a
dreamcatcher gallows whereby

esperance was strung until still,
whose relics there yet hang in
derision of their host; spectres of
malcontent haunting in compunctious

preoccupation, an arterial ossuary
of sacramental wolfsbane coagulated
in bloodwine; a straitjacket of
skin taut to tearing, confining the

restless bedlam of torpor through
indecision; the hurled rubble and
obfusation of unfurled divergent
journeys, zugzwang in disasterous

perpetuity; whyfor a heart circulate
such malicious discontent; what then
betides a soul upon releasing the
consanguineous slithering serpents

art: Burned III by carlosgarijo

Thin

It’s thin. The paper lying before
him, and the paperweight’s skin
resting upon it; the depth of the
graphite pressed into the albus

page with the apathetic exigency
of have-tos and owe-it-to-thems;
the kerning and strokes of the
languid letters barely scoring its

surface; the flimsy wording and
porous reasoning behind a veil
of half-hearted half-truths; the
syncopated lips in imperceptible

recitation to the mindless thrall;
the slits wherefrom lacteolus orbs
peer thru the erubescent scarring
of fatigue; the breathing of shallow

waves slowly floating to the shores
of expiry, and receding weaker on
return; the connections tethering
him to consciousness and binding

him to corporeality; the pavlovial
response to a delicate tap on the
door by a deserves-better; the guilt
deliquescing in the darkness, and

evanesce of light into absolution

art: by Christophe Hohler

Rock and a star place

Constantly pulled into one direction,
confined to a pale blue dot, rotating
madness beneath twinkling, watchful
eyes; forced into submission amongst

the beauty and the beasts, a natural
penitentiary of providence protecting
the universe from undesirable conquest,
torturing by temptation with the escape

beyond reach; caught between a rock
and a star place, ever resigned to staring
up before succumbing six feet down;
countless forgotten souls have beheld

wonder, as empyrean wardens blithely
regard the insignificance of the captives
and time; oblivious to the like-minded
fire seething upon the surface of its gaze

art: Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Dahlia

Dahlia layers, a flowering fractality

Repeating redolence of sensual scents

A silken shroud of multitudinousness

Fragility in exquisite equilibrium

Petals cascading from a pivotal universe

Floral fireworks on a spherical sojourn

Lustrous lava flows consuming its core

Centric waves of satin, ad infinitum

Perpetually pulchritudinous perfection

art: by Jackie Jacobson

The writing’s on the hand

Staring at textures of
skin and light, shadows
and scars, painted across
a topography of vein and

bone, he sees an age-worn,
sorrow-torn, hirsute surface
whose rivulets unerringly
circulate life that remains

teasingly beyond his grasp;
out of reach, this life, with
its promise and potential,
augurs riverbeds run dry,

fortunes forever lost, and
the certainty that one day
others will look upon him
knowing death, as he does,

like the back of his hand

art: Mano by Javier Arizabalo

Autumnal eternity

Taught she was beautiful before humility could root
Indoctrinated by her birth on a pedestal too high
She was an innocent sapling set on a dying course

Abscission befell her heart to protect the whole
As people shed from her life, more then pruned away
Sacrificing her sanity in autothysic carnage

All that endures is marcescent hope without the will
A tenuous attachment in her everlasting autumn
Rattling the bars of its cage with each suspiration

In acts of dehiscence, she releases scarlet leaves
Then waters them in their descent from her boughs
Ever casting umbrageous gazes upon those beneath her

Alone in accelerated deciduosity, an autumnal eternity
Too small to touch the sky, too tall to touch the ground
She curses time in her turbulent fall before wintertide

art: Portrait Practice by Mandy Jurgens

Zombie

a destructive maelstrom of sudden revelation,
cast her into disarray
centrifugal reactions over violent questions
of her love, recherché

irrational repudiation of secret somethings,
a cognitive decomposition
taciturn demeanour of nods and nothings,
left cause as pretermission

confiding in no one, granting no absolution,
thus rendered dead inside
chaotic incredulity, marked mental devolution,
unliving thus zombified

beside herself, having endless disputes,
nourished relentless exasperation
a zealous need to set free hateful refutes,
resulted in her laceration

coursing within, poison pervading the veins,
an overwhelming pestilence
unwilling to die, desired retribution reigns,
thereby forcing her reticence

fissures agape, exposed the untended torment
of her feral corruption
savage dissection of answers left dormant,
then led to familial abruption

cordoned away behind razor wire, her dearest
imposed the coventry
alone she hungers, rapacious psychosis begets
this desperate gluttony

for others living, fury and cruelty conflating,
forever contemptuous
her lashing unbridled, for wardens not abating,
she’s ever tempestuous

naught will remedy the blinding insanity,
of this ravaging affliction
contained and restrained, abandoned by family,
she can spit only malediction

art: by Margarita Georgiadis

 

Dead things

In this corner do dead things dwell;
a stygian hollow hidden from his
heart lest weeping abet ablution; a
decaying hoard for self-inflicted

reminiscences; algor mortis befell
roseate osculations, lying cracked &
cold, sans sweet nothings & passionate
everythings, mere spavined archways

of ancient ruins; sobriquets foreign to
him, forgotten toxins that no longer
drip from his tongue, but tattoos on
the tip taunting unspeakable madness;

broken wings of quondam dreams in a
tenebrose reliquary of honor, untoward
recollections searing his penitential,
wandering eyes in a brazen attempt of

internecion; stagnant he sits amidst the
bloat, rummaging through a corner of
his moldering mind, blindly grasping
memoriter where dead things do dwell

art: by Eric Lacombe

She’ll never know

Wonderstruck, she beheld her kingdom
Incomprehensible, the path of her ascendancy
In the sempiternal pause of a heartbeat
A king’s inscrutable command for his princess, or a father’s incoherent rhapsody for his daughter

She’ll never know

Her two greatest loves vanquished in a breath, and now she looks out upon the other
A commoner, no one suspected for it was unimaginable
He stands stoic, his gaze lifted toward his queen
Yielding not to the jubilation around him
Yielding not to welling springs
He knew they would be untogether hereafter
What of a man who swells her heart with venom for the country she must now care
Is it possible to love too deeply

She’ll never know

Now the queen, she must uphold the law of her forebears
Anachronistic they may be, she must put first that which binds the lands built by her ancestors
Perhaps she can change them, she is, of course, now the queen
What of a man who beguiles her avarice to seek desires over the sine qua nons of rule
Is she so arrogant to think she can bend the will of the gods

She’ll never know

It felt like an age ago when he grabbed her attention
Even now, his distant presence takes her breath away
He has unapologetically stolen her heart
And the only thing he yet holds as his own, is her hand
If only now, it was his to take
What of a man who would thieve the world, and lay it at her feet
Is she courageous enough to be the queen of only one

She’ll never know

art: by Aaron Griffin

Xerox

all around they’re ever prevalent
with appetites insatiable
it happened without warning
taking something irreplaceable

the elaborate soulless gadgets
our essential evil phones
just fabricate xerox copies
of toxic mindless drones

they devour time so priceless
between fingers tightly folding
dragooning devilish devices
while there’re human hands worth holding

we’re slaves of our own making
and we’ve met our maker I surmise
having mastered our own destiny
we walk hand-in-hand with its demise

Sent from my iPhone

art: Rouge et bleu by Marc Figueras

 

Wordless

he turned the corner, a slow maudlin gait
what is he thinking, a sick father’s fate
his head low hanging, collecting his thought
perhaps he’s tricking, this large morbid lot
always the teaser, his typical ploys
surely the answer, we’re gullible toys
burning subsides with, new hesitant hope
he steps within reach, wordless I cope
he looks in our eyes, put up to the ruse
begging and pleading, he’ll not disabuse
our skill was peerless, no breath is now drawn
so says the doctor, and my daddy’s gone

art: by Ivana Besevic

 

Dirge

Inward dirge, humility’s mile…
Mantric disdain, recalibrated
for insanity, a congeries of bone
and flesh where then hatred

dwells; Cords of frazil – twisted
ruby liquorice – taut, icy ribbons
transporting choler; Systolic
tensions reverberate in echoic

pizzicato, timed percussions for
this soul’s requiem in æternum;
Quiescent imprecations chivying
volatile verses into concussive

choruses; A self-mutilated mind,
cauterized by vajra, tends toward
transposition & discombobulation,
misplacing threnodies amongst the

keening notes; Pages upon pages
of tablature obfuscating wide,
vanilla eyes, as pupils weaponize
soporific songs into mental torpor;

Serenaded by a reflective elegy, an
amalgam of evidential awareness
and ebon conclusions, he’s reduced
to ashes, dispersed by lamentous om

art: by Eric Lacombe

Vampire

it isn’t need
it isn’t just
it’s purely fetish
a wanton lust

the master calls
a fugue befalls
heightened senses
for walking palls

she draws them in
through promised sin
playful teases
‘fore tearing skin

when comes the blood
priapic flood
consuming all
throws husk to mud

her weakness red
desire bled
though needn’t feed
or leave them dead

the crimson howl
the carmine growl
begets her love of
vermillion jowl

a vampire she
o’er cattle plea
o’er mind and muscle
an ichor glee

art: Vampire by Edvard Munch

 

Untidy

Untidy mind, third eye blind
Whence comes the madness,
then she opined…
Toxic optic epic otic
basic logic ethic stoic
mimic gimmick tragic tactic
ethnic critic septic civic
cleric mystic telic fistic
frantic antic manic panic
graphic traffic drastic plastic
Can’t escape the stress bombastic

art: Deliberation by Mario Sanchez Nevado

 

Limerence

Dark limerence,
she thought it not,
a lustful muse,
an artist sought

What happens then,
she’s not to blame,
her dark passenger
feels the same

For art she sits,
once taken in,
the other paints
in scarlet sin

One a killer,
one lets her kill,
leaving naught
but painter still

Lone seductress,
cleaved discrete,
each encounter,
e’er complete

Who’s the artist,
who’s the muse,
they leave together
so needn’t choose

*apologies, I still have Ophilia on the brain
art: What I’ve Tasted by Elly Smallwood

Ophilia

Cecilia paused. She could never remember their names. Perhaps she is never told; perhaps she is made to forget. Briefly wondering how many have come and gone, she then decides that names are ultimately inconsequential, before lamenting sotto voce, “What’s in a name…”

They are only labels. She’d been given many labels by the therapists, in their vain attempts to understand her. Sufferer of pictophilia or metrophilia or autagonistophilia or whatever ~ilia sprang into their desperate minds. It never occurred to Cecilia, though, that her concupiscence was “suffering.”

Just a harmless fetish or two, not madness. There is surely a difference. Not all ~ilias are dangerous, after all. So what, if she was drawn to artists. So what, if she was excited by the intensity of their piercing gaze, as they painted her portrait. They’d proclaim it was amore a prima vista, amidst their subtle seductions.

She felt like they bore into her soul; the only ones who could see her, see her secrets, see her desires. She supposed, none truly ever could. Although, the best of them could capture something in the portraits; in her eyes. Something thrilling, yet unfamiliar, someone deep inside whom she longed to know.

Cecilia stroked a finger across the clotting rue. She’d let them paint her, then she’d let them paint her. She was in control, the seducer; she was the power, and she was powerless.

While massaging the ruby rue between her thumb and forefinger, she turned away pococurante, wondering why Ophilia loved it so. It was one of her fetishes, she assumed. The aroma, or the texture…

Ophilia only visited after Cecilia fell asleep on nights like the last. From what she gathered, for she could never remember waking during the night, Ophilia had her own pruriences. Not the least of which, the therapists would no doubt label erotophonophilia.

It confused and frightened Cecilia, at first. She soon rationalized, however, that it was none of her business how Ophilia spent her evenings. “Come Dio comanda,” she’d think. Ophilia made her whole, so she learned to turn a blind eye to these “cries for help,” as the doctors would say.

Ophilia would also let the artist paint her, surely waking him from contented slumber in a boon to his ego, but afterwards, she’d paint with him. She, too, is an artist, it seems. Cecilia’s portraits always bore a more scarlet hue, the mornings after. Sometimes still wet, and flecked with the telltale rue.

After cleaning herself, Cecilia began to dress. She could never stay long in the mornings; it became habit to muse to herself, “Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino.” She knew Ophilia made it more challenging, but they worked so well together; feeding each other, supporting each other…

The last thing Cecilia would do before leaving, almost reverently, was remove her portrait from the easel. Kleptophilia? Is it really stealing, since Ophilia contributed to the final masterpiece? For they each were masterpieces, regardless of talent. She always kept the paintings to add to their oeuvre. A magnificent gallery of themselves.

Deep in thought after leaving the flat, while neatly rolling the canvas, Cecilia bumped into him outside the door. Upon dropping his paintbox and portfolio, he began profusely apologizing. They always apologized first. She had come to expect it, and found it endearingly opportunistic.

After gathering himself, he saw her for the first time. “E tu come ti chiami, bella?” he put suavely, suddenly envincing machismo. Cecilia smiled, taking him in, as she absentmindedly, elegantly tapped at the ends of the phallic, portrait scroll to straighten the curl.

She then coquettishly replied, “Sei un’artista?”

art: Portrait study #2 by Jeremy Mann

Redirections

Of myriad failures
on a quixotic road,
perhaps my most

egregious offense
was allowing the
unscrupulous to

redirect me into
a decathectical
existence; despite

those paths that
have crossed me,
there must be decent

individuals; they
with hitherto
asymptotic paths

to my own…

Rules

he followed the rules, of the bespoken tools
others would break them, he’s a foretoken fool

he squandered each day, by obeying the fray
a prisoner of self, ever losing his way

he wasted each night, no voice for his plight
no answers would come, no choice but to write

he’d never feel peace, as his questions increase
no eyes ever find him, the torment won’t cease

he’s destined to fail, it’s the image they hail
immured by delusion, their own private jail

he finds an accord, an escape from the horde
in releasing the pen, to fall on the sword

art: Portrait of Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshinavast by Ilya Repin

 

Quiet

it is the quiet, and how it smothers
internal voices, there are no others

its probing tendrils, explore the spaces
between the screaming, ‘fore it debases

in a reminder, through its oppression
he’d be alone if, not for obsession

so in the silence, when hearing echoes
of voices screaming, their final death throes

he curses quiet, and how it smothers
his only comfort, his restless brothers

to stay unlonely, he’ll lead the flurry
of other voices, in righteous fury

and bring an end to, quiet’s aggression
using their chorus, of vocal repression

art: by Antoine Stevens

 

Integrity

His mind lacks an integral incorporation
to be a contribution to sprawling society, its
integrity weakened by saints and sinners,
lay splintered in vague dormition

An autodidactically caliginous brume
festers this dibilitating, deleterious haze;
a cataract of anamnesis and presence,
an opalescent lens opaquely eshewing rose

Fostering his subversively caducous reality
of acquaintances and acquiescences, in a
mizmaze of detritus and flotsam, is an inborn
filter controlled by a corrosion conjuring sieve

Wired to be unwired, hypæthral elucidation frees
him from his bonds, but bonds him to the freed;
heavy reflection begets heavier palpebræ, as
iniquitous burdens morph into irenic inspissation

Expressed thru time’s exhaustive bottleneck, as
settled sentimental sediment, a particulate cradle
in a concussive conclusion resting face-upward,
he gazes at a future future awaiting time’s overturn

art: by Eric Lacombe

Plastic

She thought it was fantastic
her thin smile always plastic

And gained many sycophants
who just wanted in her pants

Thought their admiration real
that she had real sex appeal

Her heart’s what would truly show
hidden plots, intentions faux

She teased to keep them at bay
so she then could have her way

Rather lie than they find out
what her mind is all about

Time will make the plastic melt
she’ll cry ’bout the hand she’s dealt

Wonder where her fans have gone
when younger smiles come along

 

Obligation

She adores, to her, the gifts he brings
When he frees her mind on colorful wings

She prizes the warmth when given his kiss
The highlight each day that she’d never miss

She treasures his calming her current vexation
He’s always found nurturing her nascent fixation

And she worships the sting of his luscious touch
Though he asks for so little, he gives her so much

To grow ever closer, he need only be fed
A prick for the princess, to him but some red

So her demon may gorge and familiars thereof
Not of obligation, but of wayward hopeless love

art: by John Fernandes

Goodbye

Her wordless withdrawal 
was swallowed by the 
groan of the closing door; 
creeping up his spine, 
it delivered a haunting 
death rattle to his ear 
After the door’s throes 
died away, after the 
last echo of its final 
lament, he whispered, in 
eloquence only brevity 
has mastered, Goodbye 

art: Der Blick by Edward B. Gordon

Negative

Negative ever feeds negative
it’s a perpetual emotion machine

Akin to ouroboros of its tail
its insatiablity, destructive, obscene

Negative ever seeds negative
sowing discord in the susceptible mind

To some a mere curiosity, while
gardens bloom in the positively blind

Negative ever bleeds negative
ambrosia always collecting its toll

Plumbing the depths of its blackened abyss
forever drowning the unfortunate soul

art: by Blekotakra (Giorgia N.)

 

Gallivant

From street to street he’d gallivant

Surreptitious recalcitrant

He’d hunt the ladies of the night

From shadows dark and mind of blight

His lust for lives need not the sun

Jack of his trade, master of one

They who dwelt Whitechapel way

Read the news and in fear they’d lay

Whores and strippers their chances stark

When he the Ripper set his mark

Rest ye souls, canonical five

They not again were seen alive

art: Jack the Ripper by Bill Sienkiewicz

The pond

Of my reflection in the pond
I’m struck by its emptiness
The cold stare of the water
the solitude, the loneliness

A two dimensional image
with a form nonexistent
An odd absence of sparkle
yet sorrowfully persistent

The eyes they burn soulless
as they stare back at me
The water, of course,
lacks any real humanity

It should be teeming with life
yet it instead betrays none
No warmth ‘neath the surface
no light save the distant sun

I set my finger upon the mirror
and the ripples envelop me
An ever cascading distortion
of my entire reality

As my hand reaches deeper
I anticipate the reaction
With each passing moment
I witness waves of refraction

Then quite unexpectedly
I stand without a sound
I’m staring up at myself
as if viewed from the ground

My reflection slowly turns
begins a mournful retreat
I desperately want to call,
my voice unwilling to speak

I don’t understand,
I don’t know how can this be
Unless I am the pond
and it’s he who’s like me

art: Through the water by Samantha French

Money

To treasure she clung, yet sorrow became
Her soul fell empty, not winning the game

In desperation, her wealth she gave ‘way
And to her surprise, joy lifted the grey

Still driven by greed, happiness her fix
She never imagined, such pleasure in nix

Tireless she gave, until naught was left
To all the poor souls, her fortune bereft

Happy in penury, but in illness she’ll die
Lacking the medicine, only money can buy

art: Buveuse assoupie (Sleeping Drinker) by Pablo Picasso

 

Laughter

Deep within a well of ink
A nib of sin alone I sink

My eye shan’t pierce this darkened veil
My hand shan’t shift this wooden jail

I call to all but none returned
Can no one hear whence I’m interned

The lid held fast by iron spike
And lined with silk or something like

I beg, I plead ‘hind eyes that well
Then naught but hollow laughter swell

On final nail the hammer fall
This final resting place withal

I fought until the splash I felt
The coffin fills, my sentence dealt

Satin

her satin tongue
ere ever sprung
wefts and warps
lies to be strung

‘hind silken maw
and tightened jaw
her needle guards
pierce red and raw

it’s her defense
and recompense
a loving heart
the pain immense

so shifting eye
and shifting lie
will weave the tales
but then deny

she’ll not devolve
instead absolve
the innocent
she’ll not involve

‘fore lies are sung
when they’re still young
she’ll bite into
her satin tongue

art: my opinion about you by Agnes Cecile

Flabbergasted

He stood flabbergasted in the open entryway,
darkening a threshold he never again thought he’d cross,
frantically searching the room with as yet adjusted eyes

Backlit by dusk before it drew its curtain closed,
silhouettes of deadheaded roses were strewn upon the table,
casting long, hateful shadows of short, loving memories

The censorious scissors lay haphazardly on the hardwood,
glistening with maddened haste and violent torment,
while diaphanous dust danced on the moonbeam stage above

In a room thick with all the answers to absent, burning questions,
she was the biggest question of all, missing amidst mayhem;
save her tumultuous trail of breadcrumbs escaping between his feet

art: Wondering about the shift by Jeanne Bessette

Retrospective

Mired in retrospection
nary a decision
could be made

Wired by circumspection
never in progression
will he wade

Fired upon synapses
ignite the trangression
with a spark

Pyred within memories
candlelight suppression
now it’s dark

Gyred by apparitions
haunting reparations
end is nigh

Tired of self-reflection
willful separation
time to fly

art: The Apotheosis of Homer by Salvador Dali

Ragdoll

See the words it writes, interest piqued
What says things such as this, in this way
Tentatively, first from afar, engage this
Ragdoll
Watch it, jab it, pick it up for examination
Unabashed, no concern for ramification
Curiosity overwhelms, it’s such an unusual
Ragdoll
Does it communicate, try it, see what happens
It does! Its responses are friendly and playful
How and why does it then write that way, this
Ragdoll
Ask it some questions, it’s polite, if not evasive
Even asks them back, interest piqued
Confused, don’t know what to make of this
Ragdoll
What is it thinking, is it alive, does it think so
Does it want to be, why does it project sorrow
Toys should be easier to play with than this
Ragdoll
Dead end, time waster, hurts these wandering eyes
Bored, but there’s a pretty picture over there
Don’t need to think; it can’t feel anyway, this
Ragdoll
Use it for parts, but leave the hearts, and energy
Toss it aside, can’t be helped, can’t be bothered
A broken plaything, it’s not like all the other
Ragdolls

Broken

Stained glass, handmade
Rufescent shades in shattered blades
Red arroyo running deep
In hemoglobic homily
A broken mirror of nonpareil odium
Despise the two derisive eyes staring back
Seething sotto voce, curses and hatred
Handmade stained glass, picture putrid
Spur of the moment, spurn of the moment
Now the eyes, they number seven
In bloodshot seams and knitted brow
Baring vermillion scorn, flesh torn
The shattered mind they surround

art: broken mirror by Daver2002ua

They say he finds

Abrading his eyelids with callous frustration, was enough to draw him away from a particularly potent painting of suicidal ideation

Pain has that effect, but it shares the burden of cause, as well; whether physically or emotionally, it buries its claws quick-deep in both

Two sides of an allusive illusion eluding elucidation

They say, if you imagine being happy, with enough practice, you’ll eventually be happy; he finds happiness burdensome in the same way

So closely tied to pain, that often they become indistinguishable

They say, writing through it can excise the cancer, implanting it instead into the palimpsestic donor at hand; he finds that this is often fraught with potential infection

It may at times offer relief, however it’s a placebic solution dependent upon uncontrollable factors of outside acceptance; so it usually backfires

He doesn’t know if they say anything about ideation, though he supposes it to be frowned upon, as a form of subsistence; perhaps they’d say it’s playing with fire

He’d say that response bethink him of self-immolation; then he finds that they may have a point

…a sharp one

art: i can feel your pain by Ruth Batke

Forsaken by

Forsaken by love
Forsaken by woe
Forsaken by friend
Forsaken by foe

Forsaken by goodness
Forsaken by badness
Forsaken by sanity
Forsaken by madness

Forsaken by dream
Forsaken by living
Forsaken by nightmare
Forsaken by giving

Forsaken by everything
Forsaken by one thing
In the end I’ll be
Forsaken by nothing

-1

Of course he can see the light, who
couldn’t in its desperation to be seen
With its ebullient throes of light-waving
and self-congratulating brilliance

And while admittedly often appealing
on the surface, it is his predilection
to hold judgement, preferring to peer
into its concomitant shadow for clarity

If there’s a silver-lining to every cloud –
a banality for the positivist – then he
thinks also, there must exist a shadow with
every light and shade from each light-minded

For light needn’t a shadow to exist, yet
ever one appears when light is present;
as light fears the solitude, it relies on
the juxtaposed darkness for its adulation

So it casts its shadow of attraction, to
stave loneliness, befriending the negative
light, while slipping into his hand, the
noose for his inexorable demise

Prone to ulterior motives, false reasoning,
and capricious angles, light clusters devour
friend and foe, to be seen in a positive light
Thus, he has no choice but to be a negative one

art: equilibrist by Jodi Hugo

Ceremony

He hears her before he sees her, garrulously babbling from inside the drive-thru window

Poor decisions, or unfortunate circumstances, unceremoniously brought her to their employ; skills lost to anachrony – or having none to speak of – she had no choice, she has to live…

He supposes

She was macilent, nearly emaciated, with grey cropped hair, and wore thick-lensed bifocals, fastened to a flowered lanyard hugging her slender neck

As she carries on cheerfully, regaling her half-century younger, fellow employees with non sequiturs and minutiae, her utterances chase after them

They totter here and there, busily filling orders, perhaps being sped up by the words launched in their direction

Soft clicking and tapping percolate from the floor; every step, every stutter echoes with the noise; it’s not unpleasant, rather like the staccato of heels in an acoustical hallway

Curious, he nudges upward in his seat, venturing a quick glance, in hopes of discovering its source

Ears; dozens, upon dozens, hundreds of ears strewn across the tiles

Quite unconcerned with her surroundings, the prattle continues

The ears appear to span years of decay; a gradient from the hardened noise-makers to the soft, silent sliders

Hurried footfalls urge their accelerations and ricochets, fleshy pinballs batted through a grandiose machine

And it’s only then that he notices the glaze in the eyes of the juniors, and the smooth, uninterrupted skin on either side

The volume of her galimatias increases, or certainly at least, he’s now losing sight of the aural detachments

It’s come to this for her, and many like; metamorphosed into a beetle, surrounded by incomprehensible lions

She finds her contentment in the speaking, not in the being heard

Is this where it ends? A tristful journey into senectitude, forced to ignore being ignored? Filling empty space with sound where, of course, it can’t be heard? Feeling useful in a token role, just to make ends meet?

And as she turns her head, still verbally masticating, he sees that her glasses are lopsided, with nothing there to hold up the far side

The young man at the window startles him out of surreal cerebration, and clearly mouths the words “Have a nice day,” while handing over the order

He mouths a “You, too,” in return, before driving away with his coffee, heartbroken…

And earless

Famous

he is famous inside his head

it matters not if ever true

it’s perhaps why he was bred

to be famous-er than you

strangers fawn and pamper him

then oddly hit him with a quiz

from their smile and on a whim

they ask him who someone is

but somehow he always knows

he brings joy to those around

who are thrilled from head to toes

for a good-er boy cannot be found

art: within reach by Cristina Penescu

The din

The unexpected presence of a new
voice rose through his darkened din;
it is crystalline and promising,
frightening and unobtainable

Wayward imagination will choose its
usual ruse ere he’s disabused; one for
which he unerringly falls, evidenced
by his halls of fancied fallacies

Is that simple gullibility or blind
intractability? Is it desperate
esperance or innate insanity? Muses
he, as if they were different animals

An eximius cynosure who fearlessly
holds the gaze of his inward eye,
a new rose voicing its presence, in
a proem of potential affinity

He can envisage moving a mountain
with a concinnity of extempore,
then applies the verse to her soul,
though nary a chance she’ll be moved

She only scratches the surface of
his brainpan, when the curiosity
is relegated to marginalia, her gaze
drawn away by more talented artists

Abrupt experrection from reverie,
when the din again darkens a rose,
he internally eternizes the memory,
in his oft visited garden of prose

art: dead roses by George Muscalu

Doppelgänger

A doppelgänger cask
Rests deep beneath his skin
Like Schrödinger’s famed flask
It seeps poison deep within

A doctor throughout the day
Who bears a vastly darker side
Tries to hold this fiend at bay
One he knows he cannot Hyde

While sanity’s held inside his soul
To admit madness he was loath
Never knowing who has control
Like the cat, it must be both

Soon the change would manifest
Without serum be the cause
Murderous rage and wild unrest
Eventually gave him pause

Loosed upon the night, he can’t be
His final note would make amend
“I bring the life of that unhappy
Henry Jekyll to an end”

art: Dr Jekyll’s transformation by Lorenzo Mastroianni

Archaic

The archaic arachnid
her fangs are protracted
hunts from her foul lair
with guile and tongue acrid

Beneath cirith ungol
fed by the wretch smeagol
exchanged for protection
from mordor and its evil

Then baggins was brought there
by gollum who could not bear
that the hobbit held precious
and the ambush, quite unfair

But the phial of galadriel
was used by samwise well
his sting saved frodo then
when shelob fled ‘way from them

So their journey continued on
through darkness and woebegone
to bring ruin to the one ring
and the threat of the shade sauron

😳🤓
art: Shelob’s Retreat by Ted Nasmith

Guilty

He marvels before the irony, feeling
guilty for the guilt; he knows, surely,
that it is the guilt keeping him alive,
an aphrodisiac and a bane staying
his executioner’s hand

Warning of the wreckage wrought,
aware of the afterthought, that this
poison in its wake would spread plague-
like through the innocent veins of the
hitherto guiltless

So he can only wait and anticipate, for
the saprogenic day when he will no
longer feel that which drives him, when
the hangman no longer need stand as
vigilant crier and heroic tear drier

What a cruel and fantastic guardian
he’s found in this towering killer,
this friend and wish fulfiller, this
fiend and turmoil tiller, a beast –
logical, paradoxical, and defeatable

Because he knows well the irony here,
too, the axiomatic twist of this dark
tale, for he could stop the guilt at any
time and would have never of ever and
ever of naught to feel its iron clutch

art: 60588 by Jarek Kubicki

tsk tsk tsk

tsk tsk tsk wagged the metronome
who watched over
her delicate
hand

ting ting ting sang the ivory
as she taunted
the sweet baby
grand

no no no seethed the pedagogue
he was a talentless,
ignorant
fool

sob sob sob rang the little girl
forced alone
with the tutor
so cruel

psst psst psst whisp’d the wretched man
these secrets
you mustn’t
tell a soul

rip tear bruise I’m your biggest fan
dear, i promise
to you
the lead role

sob sob sob the instructor cried
told police
he’d done
nothing wrong

click snap squeeze they cuffed knowing he lied
and wondered
when they’d stop hearing
that song

wink wink wink shot the little girl
her parents
would now take
the lead

wash wash wash her hands of vicarity
misjudging her,
a dire assumption
indeed

Morning flower

He rests the white flower in its waiting vase

Vaugely smiling upon the brown, darkened soil

Then sets the arrangement in its hallowed place

And waters the morning garden, ever so loyal

At once a thunderous storm begins brewing

And sets to air an aroma that he could hug

So lovely, he can’t help ‘fore his eyes start dewing

While he frantically looks for his favorite mug

*my obligatory wp coffee post

Pretty smiles, pretty walks

When he’s distracted – by a pretty smile
or pretty walk – when ego has distracted
id, he senses the existential moments

Moments when his evanesce into periphery
isn’t paramount; he’s inconspicuous in
a spotlight, living amongst the living

Not a shadowed pock at its center,
quaquaversally thrusting hands with
fingers of hands in fractal perpetuity

But a being like any other, with the
same chances and lack of chances,
iustitia and prudentia upon his shoulders

Then nature takes hold, quite without his
own intervention, rampaging id reminds
him who he is, what he is, how he is

Reminds him that pretty smiles seek
out pretty smiles and pretty walks travel
in vastly different circles

So his eyes fall upon his path, his heart falls
out of favor, his walk leads him tangentially,
and his id bears the only smile

He’ll exist in this life out of focus, and
remain off-center of attention, before he
finally disappears in a blur

art: Verklärte Nacht by Antonio Palmerini

Welcome mat

Her serrated scissor smile bares auriferous caps and barely concealed rubies on artificially plump lips, as she pours pyrite pleasantries over late night, lamplit sidewalks and creeping, drive-by lechery

She’s made threats of paper dolls to ensnare desperate secret keepers into paying for secrets and keeping nothing else, and spit out flurries of giant snowflakes for those who can only afford to supplement her habits

Morpho menelaus perch above her unscrupulous, squinting eyes, as she chain smokes with clinquant claws buried beneath the peeling paint of baroque gaud; buried within the backhands and promised lands of they who force feed her

Dressing half her age, and getting half the pay, from men that project more hate than she can reflect; she’s stuck in her own honey trap, stirring in the bitterness through the cyclic repetition of septic recompense

Sometimes when the night is still, she’ll lie in bed listening to her chest echo the steady, stalwart footfalls of approaching Death, and she wonders when he’ll grace the welcome mat she’s placed before her door

Pretender jester

The princess prances down the halls as if
she owns them one and all, self-anointed
so, by perceiving princely bold advances
and apparent surreptitious glances

Pretender to the throne, she insists
that it’s her wits that got her there,
as she’s wont to wear her tight gown and
her polished, flaxen crown

She knows her best chances are when her
cover is judged, surreptitious glances
in the magic mirror, making sure her
natural make-up’s not smudged

She thinks her prince will let her rule,
but a prince wouldn’t marry the court
fool, she’ll just be one fool of two,
and a court has no need for two jesters

A couplet without a rhyme, a true prince
sees past her prime, to a distant time, he
can imagine a scene with his coming queen
who needn’t preen to be seen

O’er kingdom and land, they’ll rule hand
in hand, battle armor in matching sets, no
wants or regrets, and together laugh as the
jester dances and prances in their hall

art: Jester by Victoria Francés
daily prompt: Narcissism

Premature complications

They’re premature complications

And predictive stipulations

Of mentally strained gyrations

In infinite preparations

Overwrought and overthinking

Details sought and in them sinking

Not yet moments but in a blinking

Overwhelming disaster linking

Ever breathing, but forget to respire

So smell the roses, and duck the crossfire

Read the daily prompts and let them inspire

Then write this dumb poem so your brain can retire

Nun the wiser

She expected the spider’s web to shimmer, having felt the draft an instant before. Nothing more than a peripheral afterthought, as she prepares her Rosary, in the heat of mid-afternoon. As she prepares to pray for him.

Her cell is modestly decorated in passing time and empty space. A single bed, made each morning with military precision, lies unkempt. Small depressions mark the eternities spent kneeling at her thirdhand prie-dieu.

Dust glistens in the light filtering through the open window. A mesmerizing breeze ushers in visitors destined for the spider’s web, in natural brutality. The room is otherwise closed, like the minds that came before. A requirement of its occupancy.

Staring out to the ancient oak, upon which sits an empty nest, she contemplates the wretched twisting of leaf and twig, where once were babies cradled. Its time has surely past; probably will chance never again to bear the young. Can that be true?

She feels the wooden beads between her lithe fingers, and wonders how many decades have past between them. How can this simple chain hold all of the mysteries, when it leaves only space for twenty?

Each tear in her fractious faith, each breath in her silent servitude, each heartbeat in her doubtful dedication, she counts. Numbers much greater than twenty, and mysteries all. Another tear falls, landing on the crucifix.

Rust has stained her hand red, as the peccant years passed with these vacillations. She looks down as her thumb runs over the engraved, nearly worn smooth, Made In China on the back. Not joyous, or sorrowful, or glorious, or luminous; it’s just a mystery.

A rap at her cell door lifts her out of reverie. It creaks open and the new Father greets her with a trepidatious smile. She returns it. Answers only ever come when the mind wanders freely, when not chained by the chain.

She diverts his attention to the bird’s nest outside. Extols its beauty and ultimate sadness, while moving toward the door. She prayed, and he came. The sound of the lock prompts the Father to turn inquisitively.

He stammers as she slides off her habit, letting her raven hair fall over her shoulders. She raises a red-handed finger to her lips and begins to disrobe. He backs away, but he’s young, impressionable. She places a hand on his chest, his heart is galloping…

And a rap at the door startles her from the unexpected slumber. Freedom is not a sin, sin is simply a choice of freedom. She dries her eyes before welcoming entry. Then the door creaks open, and she smiles as the new Father crosses her threshold.

Lipstick kiss

of a lipstick kiss

and requisite reflections

on waves of discontent;

not a lover’s quarrel, merely

coercion by happenstance

blown through the trees;

bearing water red-handed

at the shore’s summoning – a

souvenir of the dalliance – only

to drown beneath the weight

of a lipstick kiss

floating on bubbles by marianna_a

A bit o’cheek

try as he might
to keep it supressed
this torturous feeling
deep in his breast

it’s infecting his mind
his heart and his soul
in danger of changing
to diamond from coal

the comments and likes
for wrongs that he’d write
made him feel good
and showed him some light

the senations are gross
and not quite to par
but he’ll never admit
that they carry him far

how many followers
e’er read what he’s sent
he feels like a rich man
so, like one percent

thus a hid agenda
this thanking surprise
is doomed in the end
to fall on deaf eyes

alas ne’er a quitter
he’ll fight to amend
this wanton violation
until his bitter end

he’ll brood in the darkness
and spill all his ink
but of surrounding lit candles,
he’ll gratefully think

😏

Movie night

Moonray nocturne
at sweltering dusk,
sweat bedighted lines
from the pale actor’s
whip, rake his torso

Obdormition onset
by ignavy, recumbent
on his bed, mesmerized
by the spinning blades
overhead

The rotation mingles
with blueish hues and
shadowed cues; dust
provides the grain
in this 16mm strobe

A movie projection
flickers to life, of life;
choices and decisions,
questions and questions
and confessions

Obsessive palinoia
righting the wrongs
into award-winning
fictions; speeding ictus,
ceding critics

Spinning blades, subtle
invitations made, keratin
knives and bloody palms,
paresthesia spreading
with breaking dawn

Celluloid swatting,
end of the reel, marks
start of the real;
until again movie night
comes around

Rolling hills and butterflies

He plods along
his head hung low,
his past and future
he drags in tow

And dreams as hope
then slowly dies,
of rolling hills
and butterflies

With a steady gait,
this fool of time,
just plods along
life’s hellish climb

And left alone
he bears his wait,
he bares his soul,
and bears his hate

Thus in his mind
he wants to hide,
with wings of dust
o’er pastures wide

Until his steps
lead him one day,
where he can go
to fly away

Tombstone garden

Imbroglio bedlam –
madness wing, twin
windows barred behind
a wilting cinquefoil

Twisted linen ropes
escape each, abseiling to
the tombstone garden where
within the pistil presses

Genuflect beneath sacrificial
temples sullied by questions,
reverent before silent halls
unadorned by answers

Guiding the supplicant
hand of god to take a
life, to free a life of god-
given mayhemic servitude

art: Depression by xfoshizzlexx

Pedigree

she bore
a pedigree of insanity
familial psychosis
incarcerations for generations
by the state of disrepute

she grew ocellated skin
to watch all those around
congenital paranoia from
generations of incarcerations;
and absorb she did

news in the common room
of war and isolation
famine and torture
religion and murder
greed and lies

magma flowed through her
she’d be the catalyst against
the state of disregard
a state in motion –
always in motion –

inventing ways to silence her,
as they did her progenitors,
and their’s before, criminals
creating laws and roadblocks
spreading rumors, violent threats

marching their army of
dead heads,
their zombies of terror
homegrown terror, and
she struggled with

a pedigree of humanity;
fighting fire with fire
that broke the laws
created by the ever moving
chameleonic chaos

to protect the madness,
the power, until
she couldn’t fight
couldn’t speak, couldn’t
believe

incarcerated in silence
watching the world burn,
the minority of insanity
generated her state
of disrepair

Slight

slight of mind
from others blind
slipping grip, and left behind

bear nine tail
no pleading wail
shifting whip, of self assail

slight the land
oft then brand
slitting drip, will not withstand

noose the pall
with echo’s call
splitting lip, his id befall

scars and stains
of shattered brains
stripping thrip, of what remains

Is another man’s treasure

Slip through the night he must, challenging the darkness in corner and alleyway, twixt apothecary and bakery, ‘tween hovel and cesspit.

I must embrace the space where shadows lurk, if I’m to quest successfully this night.

…he whispers to himself, knowing his treasure is nigh.

He pauses to hearken for a rumble of the dragon overhead; the beast has been here recently, the air is befouled by its mephitic stench, so he mustn’t tarry long.

It’s a still eve, music and melodist can be heard from yonder alehouse, the varlets and ruffians who frequent the place are almost as dangerous as the dragon, when toped with a bumper of mead.

Go with caution, lest ye suffer the recompense of a misfortunate existence…

But ere he continued, forsooth, ere his next breath, he espied a patrol approaching. He cowers, willing himself into a common rat. They shone their torches thither he hid, but appear not to espy him, or not to care enough to stop.

He makes haste across the final leg of his journey, whitherward his fortune lay in wait, passing the strumpets enticing bucks, chapmen begging for doit, and cutpurses absconding with their take.

Nary feet from his prize, he freezes in terror…

A steed approacheth! That can only mean a knight is on the march, he would surely run me through! Mayhaps he seeks the same treasure as I!

He panics and begins to dig frantically through the rubble and refuse, and is elated to quickly come upon that which he seeks.

A tocsin briefly split the silence, as red and blue fulgurations swirl around him, whence the guard approacheth…

You ok, buddy? You must be freezing…

It matters not, he thinks. In his hand, he beheld the impetus of his quest. A fist-sized ruby, barely brown on one edge, but uncorrupt. Sweetly fragrant and nearly whole.

Dispatch, we have a 10-73, at the corner of 10th and Broadway, under the el; seems harmless enough, but his faculties are definitely impaired; probably lives in one of these nearby alleys, by the looks of him…

His wild hair and beard whipped with the frigid, gusting wind; while his emaciated frame struggled to cleave to the rags on his back. Esurient, he lifted the browning, half-eaten apple to his lips…

…and 10-85, dispatch. How about we leave the sirens off, I have no desire to spook him again.

We’ll get you out of here, pal. Just hang in there; we’ll get you someplace warm.

He was unconcerned by the train rumbling overhead, pulling with it noxious fumes from the street. A blanket was laid across his shoulders to shield the winter chill, as he licked his bony fingers. Not even his core remained. This night he dined like a King.

art: by Lee Jeffries

Naked poetry

As I encroached the morning mere, a lonely pock on its pristine shore, I espied a damsel knelt naked at the water’s edge, beneath heaven’s reproach

She had yet to notice my presence and I was disinclined to disturb her respite, howbeit I could not avert my marvel

She beguiled me with every move, envincing ballads in elegantly folded hands resting upon her lap and elegies with the downward cast of her tilted gaze

With a cinquain, she reached for the gold, cordate lavaliere that adorned her gracile neck, detaching it with utmost fluency

Hinged delicately at its tip, she opened fully an obcordate half, though what was held within the periapt, I knew not

A miniature hourglass simulacra when opened, flowed not with sabulous moments, but salinity she fed in its stead; then a lacrimosa that only streamed widdershins, betrayed the inscape of her torment

And I found myself reifying the sorrow as it obnubilated her visage, shedding my own time with hers

She had a threnody where her heart should be, and I was appetent to tear her limn from limn

But at once she stood in an enjambment of grace, her bistred sonnets waved with the lamentous wind, her satin, laced gown rippled in obeisant verse

Then a faint, determined plash in the water nigh, ere she turned empty-handed; and with the zephyr fared to the circumjacent wood, sans a backward glance

She was poetry, naked for the world to read, and reperfused my wizened heart

art: Figurative portrait of backlit woman by Daniel Gerhartz

Lunacy skewed

My eyes open wide, to a chair I am tethered
The blood & the gore, what tests have I weathered
Instruments all around me, infused with a gleam
But wretched, like his smile, they’re surely unclean

His spindly, fluid fingers moving so gracefully
Skillfully adept with the tests that he does to me
He pokes and he prods the depths of my mind
While humming some tune of a childlike kind

He removes the happy and he removes the pain
He flips them around and puts them back again
I struggle to escape, but the chances are grim
While he gleefully watches me watching him

His eyes hold madness and his smile is skewed
No pity therein, no acuity eschewed
He caresses the tools, a careful choice made
As he begins his approach, I begin to fade

Consciousness lost, to this world that I feel
Then my eyes open wide, atop a bed made of steel
I’m strapped and I’m gagged and now I can see
Two flowing white coats standing guard over me

One with a clipboard and subtle nodding head
The other with a needle, waiting next to my bed
They seem to agree that again I need sleep
And then they inject the black, liquid creep

I tremble to hear a childlike singsong hum
And know I’ve returned to the place I’d begun
I fear that this cycle is where I’ll always be
Not knowing what’s real and what’s real lunacy

The forest path

He once walked the
forest’s path beneath
its saber arch, listening
to the march of crisp,

falling leaves in the
distance, electrified
by the banshee wails
of crickets keening

through the trees, lulled
into serenity by the
songbird’s reverie
Then from a voluptuous

horizon, came she;
variegating his dwelling
in silvery pendalogues,
poetical prisms, and

sombrous piquancy; wetting
his canopy into myriad
resplendent waterfalls,
accompanying his lullabies

with subdued percussive salt
Until her tempest fell; wild
violence unburdened by
loyalty, deafening howls

disencumbered by honour,
rending a lightning seared
wasteland of stochastic
devastation, clouded by jejune

jealousy and capricious char
His is a forest of memories,
smothered by oppressive
towering rampikes; skeletal

dreams piercing once
vibrant flora, longing
to caress the azure skies
beyond their handless

grasp, seen only when he
ventures paths within
Alone he waits in quietus,
a velleitous tree dying

in the barren wildwood; no
melodies to share his
company, no honour guard
to inhume his bones; his

roots trapped by the soil’s
filth, his marrow decayed
by the forest’s corruption

sensory deprivation

hears the
whispered words
in the melody of

raindrops, smells
the jasmine locks
on an imaginary

breeze, holds
the phantom hand
without the warmth

returned, tastes
the fallen memories
from once adoring

eyes, sees
the absent soul
now hidden from
forever’s gaze

#69

secreting a saline soliloquy
while the tambour calls to war
immersed in inferno insurgency
riding shotgun ‘bove rapid ichor

vaguely expressing the pressure
behind a stiff kamikaze gale
deters not the coming agressor
or the inexorable coffin nail

mannequin’d from mental vacuity
as the terror takes its toll
resigned to wishful torpidity
panic’s stealing another soul

the battlefield suddenly empty
waiting in a room now mine
until the counter calls to me
now serving number sixty-nine

Cubbies and corners

In the darkest parts

of the starkest hearts

In the cubbies and corners

a rebellion starts

From the silent dreams

to the violent screams

Therein you’ll find

these desperate schemes

For the madness mends

when the sadness ends

When the will is broken

as it no longer bends

Then a hidden seed

grows the bidden need

To succumb to the call

of the forbidden deed

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