An Eloquent Quiet

When there are

no words

the eloquent quiet

speaks to a deeper thing

of

meaning within us,

where there is no hiding

from

that which forms the

core of us.

Buffeted like harvest scarecrows

by winds from every corner

in the open field.

Will you stand,

though you rot from the inside,

or will you be pecked apart

by scavengers

posing as pretty distractions,

making unlikely alliances?

When the colors

of the new moon

form your corona, aura, and nimbus,

aligning itself with a deeper darkness,

and your voice is your only

weapon,

Scream into the eloquent silence

and let it amplify

the beating of your heart.

 

Sentinel Serapeum

It is said that when Julius Caesar burned the Egyptian fleet, the fire spread and consumed the Great Library, but it was not so.
We found these creatures, these humans, a boundless source of fascination.
They were small, but endowed with something that drove them to great heights in mind and spirit, and great depths in destruction of themselves and their homelands.
We studied them, watched them grow and fight, love their families, conquer and rule over their enemies, worship their gods, and unlock new knowledge that, to us, had been eons old.
The earth was not large; it was a pretty runt, a bright blue fledgling in the obsidian nest of the universe, but these men were voracious in their desire to learn of its mysteries, as were we.
To that end, the smaller dragons among us visited. Some stayed to help men with their battles, but their memory was wiped from the pages of books not ascribed to myth. The voices of the faithful who proclaimed our reality were said to be insane, or possessed of the demonic; they were summarily dismissed, condemned, exiled, or put to death.
And so it was we thrived, and thrive still, for above all, we learned that men are killers of that which they fear, and determined in their hunting. With enough numbers, gnats can drive an army from the battlefield.
I saw the fleet burn. The fire made the ships dance on the waves, even as they listed, even as they slipped into the ocean’s cold embrace.
My King was saddened, but told me to go claim what was there, as the building of such a repository of man’s answers to his own questions would not be undertaken on such a scale again.
Concealed by the roiling smoke, I landed on the palace grounds, and engulfed the Great Library in flame. To the eyes of men, it burned and was no more, but it dwells now in the world of dragons, resplendent in our Grand Cave.
And now I watch the single narrow path that leads there, waiting for the one who seeks to rekindle the flame of the intricacies of their world’s knowledge, of its achievements and downfalls, its perfect balance tipped by human hands, its consuming cycles of death and rebirth.
I watch for a seeker’s lantern, a lone star shining low over a high hill.
But the path has long been empty, and my own flame, long unused, dims within me.
The books, parchments, scrolls, and treasures of the human mind are yet here, yet waiting, but time is an inexorable, incremental crucible, and eternity is yet to be.
And now the winds are rising, blowing sand across the path that I may not disturb. It is a slower, cooler form of destruction, but no less a ruin; the more so for remaining undiscovered. Though I long to know it will not become a wasteland, it is not up to me.
I am but a sentinel whose sight is dimming, watching for light upon a disappearing path that leads to a world starved for wisdom and knowledge, but slowly dying, mortal as the flames of Caesar.

 

*Art by pandiivan.deviantart.com

Dappled Shadows

In the shade, the sun through leaves

dapples the ground with spotted light.

And in the pleasing breeze,

the butterflies and dragonflies

dance

in fluttering, staggered, hovering

grace.

Seagulls skim the slate gray bay waters,

and the white clouds smile

in the open blue of a late summer sky.

There is no contemplation

of darkness here, for that will come

unbidden, inevitable as a

change of season.

There is only the pleasant moment,

recorded in meager words on a

quiet afternoon.

For now, I will fade into the dappled shadows

and just

be.

No Quiet Silence

There is no quiet silence.

there’s the turning of the page,

a peal of laughter,

a snatch of conversation, innocuous and inane,

the rush of wind over the ears,

the rustling sway of wind-dancer branches,

the susurration of the sea,

the cracking of the baking soil,

the buzz and click and hum of droning insects,

the sizzle of fires

the churning core of the world birthing mountains

the hiss and patter of the blizzard’s snowfall

the wail of the newborn,

the dying sigh of the old.

And death itself is only sleep,

as restless spirits manifest to tell us all:

There is no quiet silence.

 

Long Road, Short Time

Splash, skip

jump, flip

stick your tongue out

pout your lip

 

Grow, play

run, pray

getting taller

every day

 

Chores, toys

birthday joys,

making friends with

girls and boys

 

School, sports

jeans, shorts

staying focused

out of sorts

 

College years,

drinking beers,

childish anger,

grown-up fears.

 

Career, life

children, wife

Partners team to

deal with strife

 

Kids adults now,

partners old,

summer years

turn into gold.

 

Partner leaves,

one remains, wipes away

the teary stains

 

sits, porch

love’s torch,

lonely heart is

feeling scorched.

 

silence, loud

family crowd,

grandson gently

pulls the shroud

 

Broke hearts

tears flow

in the ground

they watch you go.

 

end of days,

end of rhyme.

 

Long Road,

short time.

 

My Melancholy Muse

 

A hint of autumn chill in the late summer air battled the smells of gasoline, bus exhaust, homeless people, cigarettes, stale urine, and the ubiquitous Cinnabon, a risky purchase down here at the bus terminal.
It was drizzling, and made the neon reflections shiny and the stones drab.
I bought two coffees and started searching, not knowing if I’d find her here.
We hadn’t spoken in a while, and I guess she got tired of waiting for my call; her message said she was leaving, and she hoped I understood.
I did, but I couldn’t let her go.
Checking the departure board there were eight buses leaving at this ungodly hour.
I found her in the last one. She’d bought a cheap green poncho that offered little protection against the elements, and the hood was over her hair. She was so lost in thought she didn’t look up as I approached.
An old blind man was sitting down from her on the bench, silently rocking back and forth.
“Dabria?” I held out a cup. Surprised, she looked up at me with those large, beautiful brown eyes that always seemed to shimmer like a sun-kissed lake.
She didn’t smile, or take the coffee. She just regarded me like someone she recognized and wasn’t sure she liked.
I proffered the cup again.
She took it, popped the lid, took a sip, and made a face.
“Sorry. Bus station coffee.”
She only nodded, then remembered her manners. “Thank you.”
I looked up at the terminal clock that had a booze ad on it; fifteen minutes until her bus left.
I said, “What are you—“
She held up a hand to stop me. “Don’t.”
“Dabria…”
“I said, ‘don’t.’ You shouldn’t have come down here.”
Time was short, and there was no time to filter what I felt. “I don’t want you to go.”
“No? Well, you sure have a funny way of showing it.”
“I’ve been writing with Nightshade—“
“I know where you’ve been. I’m having trouble understanding why you think I should stick around when she gets all your attention.”
“Because I always come back to you; you were the first, and I’m no less devoted to you now than when we started.”
“That’s a lie.”
I sighed. “If it were, Dabria, would I be here now?”
That gave her pause. “I…I guess not.”
The rain grew steadier, and somewhere in the conversation we got the blind man’s attention; he still rocked, just not as much, his head slightly tilted.
The wind harder, making the diverse odors swirl in a nauseating, miasmic, malodorous dance.
“I still need you, Dabria. We’re not close to finished, and I’ve started so late.
“Please, come home.”
“And Nightshade?”
“She’s going to be part of my life, too. Just not the main part. With you, I write what’s on my heart. With her, it’s what’s in my imagination.”
She smiled. “You do have a great imagination. I like tapping into it, too. But if I have your heart…”
“Then don’t go.”
The old blind guy had stopped rocking, and started to smile.
I reached out my hand.
She put the coffee in it, smiling. “Throw that out.”
Laughing, I tossed it, and gave mine to the blind guy. “Fresh cup.”
“Thank you. Glad you got your muse back.”
“Thanks. Me too.” I held out my hand again, and Dabria took it.
I kissed the back of it. “I promise—“
“Don’t.” She kissed me.
As we walked back to the entrance, I thought back to what the old man had said: Glad you got your muse back.
I looked back over my shoulder.
The coffee cup was on the bench, and he was getting on the bus.
“How did he—?”
“Don’t,” Dabria said.
I shook my head. “I won’t. Coffee?”
“When we get home, mister. You’re going to write all night.”
“Lucky me.”
She smiled, giving me a sideways glance from those incredible eyes. “More than you know.”

Of Summers Passed

Ah, I see. You must leave again, my love

to pave the way for your older sister,

the one who colors before the whitening kill.

I shall miss you.

Will you miss me?

We dance this dance

year by year,

and the music,

while ever as sweet,

slows down to the rhythm

of our ending.

I do love the touch of

your sun

upon my skin,

and the way your breath of song

makes the branches dance.

The brightness of your eyes

makes me don that which

tames their radiance,

and the weight of your stare

warms me.

The touch of your hot kiss

on my face

makes me close my eyes

and offer up my cheeks.

My heart takes sanctuary

in your

ethereal greenery,

as even now

you start to fade.

Summer,

I will miss you,

resting in the surety

of your

perennial return.

Sleep well, my love,

and know

my heart

is ever

yours.