When the Broken Dolls are Screaming

She left me here alone with them again.

I asked her not to; I always ask, but she always forgets.

I try not to look at them, but the room is only four walls, and I’ve read all the books in the case now, some more than twice.

I do the, read the books, to keep from looking at them.

They seem whole, serene, even, their painted poker faces never moving.

Dust motes drift in the persimmon light of a dying sun, and there’s an air of expectation, though no one’s here but me.

And them.

Their eyes glitter as they track me aimlessly moving about the dark and stuffy ‘guest quarters,’ for such is my dwelling called.

The days of glory, when it housed royalty, heads of state, politicians, and valued courtesans (two sides of a coin, that), had long past.

It was now little more than a storage room containing forgotten tributes and trinkets of those times, but the dolls took up the most space.

They belonged to Doll Kensington, a woman child with a moue for a mouth and the morals of a…

No…no, I will not brand her a whore; she was voracious in her appetite, and highly skilled at sating them; she enjoyed sex unapologetically, and when expedient, or necessary, charged highly for those skills.

I was a fool to think I could save her

She was a fool for laughing at my foolishness.

Even now, I wonder if her spirit is the one within these dolls; I can fell the heat of the hellfire in their eyes, the longing for revenge.

They are, after all, no different from their namesake: her eyes glittered, but had no life, her limbs were pliant, but without strength, her face was garishly painted, and her red, red lips were cold.

But I never touched her.



I was alone in the bar.

   Life and music, women and smoke, vice and danger all danced around me with the familiarity of tired old couples no longer in love, clinging to a tattered remnant of a happy, fading memory, even as they trampled it underfoot.

   In the bottom of my glass, I saw myself.

  It wasn’t appealing, so I ordered another to drown the face, but it only floated to the top again, and looked at me with sad, defeated eyes.

   “It’s on me,” a voice next to me said, and a pale hand with painted nails slid money across the bar, and an old hand, bristling with white hairs and missing a finger, slid it off and took it to parts unknown.

   I didn’t look up, or say ‘thank you,’ or do anything.

  The pale hand went from the bar to my thigh.

   “I can make it better.”

  “Only for awhile.”

   “It’ll have to be enough, love.”

   I tossed back the whiskey, felt it burn my blood, and followed her out into the abyss.


Inner Cage

Inner cage  Outer rage

Kill the people Turn the page

Bleeding in an alleyway

Watching darkness hunt the day


We’re the only monsters here

Gods of violence, blood and fear

Rule blue heaven overhead

Die not with me when I’m dead


I am dead to faith and hope

Love is but a hanging rope

I’ll not dangle; Best beware

I will roast your heart so fair


Toss you like a broken knife

Dare you still to be my wife


Break inside the inner cage

Sail the sea of outward rage

Take me safely back to land

with your roughened, gentle hand


When your love has calmed the beast

Claim his heart your wedding feast

Ever fast and ever true

In the inner cage





© Alfred W. Smith Jr.  2015


And Yes, I Still Believe in Love

And yes, I still believe in love
I still believe it’s there
It’s trembling out there somewhere in
the frosty winter air

Or trapped inside a mountain cave
from which it can’t escape
because it fell while running out
and gave its knee a scrape

Or floating on the raging sea
and looking for a light
to guide it safely home to shore
before it’s out of sight

Perhaps it’s on a city street
outside at a café
You didn’t hear it call your name
and hurried on your way

Perhap it’s somewhere crying for
it cannot find a heart
that seems to want to keep it and
not tell it to depart

So when we say we ‘look for love’
that happens to be true
I still believe it’s out there and
it’s looking for us too.