Of Blood and Stone

In time

the blood and stones

write history.

The comfort of

stone’s cold embrace

allows life’s elixir

to leave its

indelible mark

forever.

Dry now,

with all emotions of the moment

contained within it,

the sanguine secrets

of the day

are imparted, recorded,

remembered, and held

like a pressed flower

between pages.

Dead to history,

vibrant with a story of the past.

Unsearchable.

Unknowable

by any and all,

by all and sundry,

except the stone.

The Secrets in the Wall 2

Chapter 2:  Secret Games

The last brick was laid in for the tombs, and the people came to fill it as they years passed, some with solemn ritual and whispered grieving punctuated by muted sobs, others with mirth and raucous celebration of a life violently lived, and still others seething with quiet anger and not so secret relief that the departed would trouble them no more.
   But he’d been the first.
   The girls were playing hide and seek with the boys, and the forbidden territory of the tombs was too tempting a place to be ignored.
   Karlyn and Essyna had broken away from the rest of the group, going into the shadowed end where the torches wrestled with the perpetual draft that came down the chutes into brackish water.
   There they waited and tittered behind their hands, confident no one would venture this far to find them.
   Essyna said to Karlyn, “I heard Prince Broderic is not the true son of the king.”
   Karlyn gasped. “Then whose son is he? Who’s brother?”
   “I don’t know, but if the king finds out, and it’s true, the Queen will die.”
   As Karlyn turned to look for seekers, Essyna’s braced herself on the wall; she snatched her hand away suddenly, as if something had stuck her.
   Karlyn turned to her. “What happened? Are you all right? Did you hurt your hand?”
   Essyna looked at it, curious. “No. It’s not even cut, but something stuck me.”
   Karlyn ran her hand over the brick, rubbed it with her fingertips, but nothing happened.
   The Secret could see them from inside the wall, their gowns bright but stained at the hems with a slimy wetness that would earn them punishments, and their just-so hair beginning to unravel, Essyna’s red-gold ringlets like a beaded cowl across her shoulders, Karlyn’s the bright yellow of a late morning summer sun.
   Footsteps echoed, and an older boy’s voice called their names.
   Their eyes widened in fright, and they scrambled from their hiding place to make themselves seen.
  “We’re here, Broderic!”
   They stood before him, eyes down.
   He laughed, not kindly. “Your mothers will have your hides for those dresses, and your fathers for coming down here when you knew you were forbidden.”
   “You could not tell them,” Essyna pleaded.
   “No way to explain away those stains.”
   Karlyn swept her right arm downward, and the stains disappeared; her smile held only a veneer of sweetness. “What stains?”
   Broderic swallowed.
   Another Secret joined the first, and the wall visibly shimmered.
  Broderic cried out and turned white.
   The girls turned to look over their shoulders, seeing nothing, and turned back to Broderic, questions and worry replacing their fear.
   “Let’s g-go,” he said. “I-I-I’ll tell them I f-found you in the garden.” The torchlight and the sounds of their footsteps receded, leaving only abject blackness.
   “Wise choice,” Karlyn said, and the dire echo of her veiled threat carried back as the Secrets settled into the stones.

Darkling Water

Down by the river,

she runs through

the night.

 

Shade alabaster.

Shrouded moonlight.

 

Some rich man’s wife.

Some farmer’s daughter.

Some say she haunts

by the

Darkling Water.

 

Some say they’ve

seen her

run through the trees.

 

Some say she cries out

with keening and pleas.

 

Some say her pale hands

are dripping with blood.

Some say she’s lying so still

in the mud.

 

No name is given.

No questions asked.

Sitting on mossy stones,

in moonlight basked.

 

Chills when she looks at you,

grasps at your sleeves.

Crying, she clutches you.

Spectral heart grieves.

 

There’s no escaping now.

With her you go,

caught in the current’s

ethereal flow.

 

Some rich man’s wife.

Some farmer’s daughter.

Some say she haunts

by the Darkling Water.

 

Kairi’s Serenade

Kairi comes down

by the

moonlit water

to play for

me

on random  summer evenings

 

Not of this world any longer,

I cannot hear her,

but I can see.

 

Ah, there she is.

Fair and dark are her features,

Dark and fair is her song.

 

Spinning, playing a bright flourish,

she smiles at a memory,

and I feel the press of its

warmth against my molding bones

as if she hugged my spirit.

 

I wonder if she feels

my presence?

 

At times, when she plays,

there are tears.

 

I long to take them away, to

wipe them tenderly

and tell her all is well,

before we kiss,

before we part.

 

I hold onto that moment

that never was,

never will be,

and it will ever have to be

enough.

 

As Kairi turns to go,

the melody is severed,

and the notes are interwoven

with the stars.

I feel what I can only call

a smile pervade my being.

No, there will be no tears tonight,

just the song, dark and fair, it’s plaintive echo

traveling through the lichen covered

headstones of the forgotten, as Kairi, fair and dark,

vanishes into the mist, and over the hill.

Moonlight Mistress

Draw me deeper,

Moonlight Mistress

into your land

of soft shadows,

the blush of your

cheek tinged

in deep blue inks

 

Draw me deeper,

Moonlight Mistress,

into the lemon-pale

playpen of your

midnight lair.

 

 

Draw me deeper,

Moonlight Mistress,

into silver-flecked eyes

that hold

mystery

and key

 

Draw me deeper,

Moonlight Mistress,

behind fragile,

obsidian feathers

hiding tender lips

that kiss

and whisper

and sing

of love

 

Draw me deeper,

Moonlight Mistress,

into the

Essence of you,

real and intangible,

far-off, yet visible,

distant, but reachable.

Incomprehensible.

 

Draw me deeper,

Moonlight Mistress,

and disperse me;

I would be the lunar light

suffused upon your

starlit skin

 

Shining on you

from the outside,

glowing with you

from the inside,

until the

cold, unfeeling dawn

baptizes us with dew,

and the

absolving morning sun

dissolves us

together

 

Drawing us

closer,

and

deeper still.

The Grave Worms

How quietly the grave worms tread

And tunnel through the fertile earth

For now I lie here cold and dead

Devoid of sorrow, done with mirth

 

But yet I hear them whispering

To centipede and fly and ant

That they can hear me breathing still

Did Death consider and recant?

 

“We’ve eaten them alive before,

So even if they haven’t died

We’ll feast on warm flesh bountiful

Before he claims a demon bride.”

 

The wood that forms my coffin creaks

And rodents too join in the fray

But dead blood never, ever leaks

Dead eyes don’t see the light of day

 

And yet I hear them

Scraping, scratching, clawing, whispering

Whispering still

 

I wonder will my hearing stop,

Or will I hear them eat their fill?

 

How quietly the grave worms tread

And tunnel through the fertile earth

For now I lie here, feeling dread

Devoid of sorrow, done with mirth.

De Value

Well, let’s see…

 

We’ve been

 

Categorized as subhuman

 

Documented as inferior

 

Theorized as violent

 

Despised as unintelligent

 

Valued as garbage

 

Discarded as worthless

 

“They’re:

 

Not worth getting to know

but worth keeping out.

 

Not worth hiring

but they only want welfare

 

Not worth educating

but they’re thugs

 

Not worth any money

but we destroyed their

prospering towns

 

Not worth access to power

but they’re violent.”

 

So if you truly believe that,

Let me ask you this:

 

Why, for one second,

would you pretend

to be something so…

 

worthless?