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Other Literature Matsu's Word Hole

Discussion in 'Non-Terraria Creations, Art, & Literature' started by Matsu, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I've been interested in writing and the finer points of it for sizable chunk of my life and over the last roughly 8 months 2.5 years I have been striving to write something every day. I am famously bad about sharing my work, so I tend not to show these inane ramblings to anyone other than myself. But I read it in a book somewhere recently (and I cannot for the life of me remember which one) that practicing alone only serves to exacerbate one's flaws. So I am going to start posting some of the stuff I have written that I think is less bad than the other stuff. This thread has no set schedule for updates and I will only be putting stuff here that I think isn't hot garbage.

    Prose
    It was a rough hour of the night when most reasonable people would have been in bed, but three very unreasonable people sat in a bar. The air was dry in The Desert Rose, as it was dry in all of the desert country of Khandra, a fine layer of sand and sawdust coated the floor. The rough pinewood table the three men sat at snagged at their clothes and had a constant stickiness about it, an affectation brought about by years of being covered in spilled liquor and various bodily fluids.

    Hans, the oldest of the three men, gestured wildly with his slightly pudgy hands; his jowls jiggling all the while and his wispy graying hair growing more and more frazzled. Petrarco, the youngest of the three stared at the old man with rapt attention, his blue eyes taking in every movement and jowl jiggle; occasionally he would fuss with the scraggly blonde hairs just starting to sprout from his chin. Darian occupied the third seat, his hand resting on his cheek and his elbow upon the table.

    Looks like Hans is spinning the kid another wool.” He thought wearily.

    Darian had been in Petrarco’s shoes once, way back when he joined this foolish profession. He had once heard that you should respect old men in a profession where people often died young, so the grizzled old Hans stuck out like a bolt of lightning in the middle of a storm. After their first real job together Darian learned the sad reality that Hans was not some wise old warrior, but simply an old man with a touch too much luck, he felt himself grow slightly sad that Hans would soon have the same realization, the boy could have been no older than seventeen and after tonight he would lose all sense of childish wonder.

    The unrepentant drone of Hans’ story was eventually broken by the barman clearing his throat and looking pointedly at the three men at the rough pinewood table.

    “Yeah, yeah, we know,” Darian said, not bothering to lift his head off his hand and look at the man, “Our client will be here soon.”

    The barman shuffled away around a corner, clearly not comfortable with his clientele this particular night.

    “They should have come by now,” Hans eventually drawled after a prolonged silence.

    “They’ll show,” Darian said nonchalantly. He spared a quick glance at Petrarco, and saw that the boy was starting to get nervous.

    Why wouldn’t the kid be nervous? Odds are he’ll be a killer after tonight if things go according to plan,” Darian thought.

    After what seemed like an eternity the rough door to The Desert Rose opened, letting in a blast of chilled air and setting the sawdust on the floor aflutter. A small man stood in the doorway, clearly uncertain about what he was about to request, but before he got a chance to rethink his request a statuesque and rather curvaceous woman bustled him into the door and next to the three men at the rough pinewood table.

    The small man was dressed in the garb of a smalltime merchant, he wore a simple tan shirt over which a blue vest was buttoned and his brown trousers were ran through with silver thread at the seams. As the small man stood at the edge of the table his head swiveled taking in each of the three men seated before him, before settling on Hans as the man who seemed to be in-charge.

    “You…are the Red Company correct,” He inquired with no small amount of waver in his voice.

    Hans was used to people assuming him in-charge, and so he slipped quite naturally into the act. He dropped the slow and rolling accent he spoke with naturally and slipped into the clipped and staccato speech patterns used by men of means.

    “That we are friend, who do you want us to kill?”

    The big travel atlas sat truculent in the glovebox, long since neglected since the advent of the smartphone and the proliferation of mapping apps. Though the once lustrous red letters, “Map of the Continental United States” were now fading to a dull salmon the atlas didn’t mind. Though it now had an ever-present crease from being jammed in the far back of the glove box, hidden behind old tissues and a handful of crumpled receipts it didn’t mind. Its hopes got shot up high one day when a questing hand removed it into the sunlit expanse of the car only to place it back into its stygian tomb once the hand had found its true goal, but it didn’t mind.

    The big travel atlas knew that one day it would shine again. When the phone batteries were dead, or the mapping satellites fell from the sky, or some driver just felt nostalgic; its tattered spine and crinkly pages would breathe the fresh air of use. It never once thought it was being delusional, it was sure that it would have its hay-day once again. People needed a map, not just for driving, but for life; and the big travel atlas was holding onto that last thin thread that it was that map.

    In the not exactly unique glovebox of a not exactly exceptional car there sat a book; an atlas to be more precise. You see when this car was first bought in the long ago of eight-track tapes and big hair the dealer had a special sale going on, “Buy a car and get a free atlas! Plan tomorrow’s big vacation today!”

    And so, an atlas came to rest in that car’s glovebox. Magma red block letters proudly arched across the cover “Big Travel Atlas: Map of the Continental United States!” The pages all waited crisply printed and sharp edged waiting for probing hands to tuck in and find a place to go; and that is exactly what happened. The first owner of that car and that atlas had large hands that he kept very well bedecked with rings and watches. On summer outings, away from town he would pull out that atlas and rifle through pages with one licked finger until he found the particular rural route he was on and a way to get back to the highway he needed to be on. The atlas had it pretty good all things considered and so it was content with its life.

    Eventually the man with the large well-accessorized hands sold that car and the atlas contained therein to a young woman freshly allowed to cruise the roads. It was with her, with her slim fingered and long-nailed hands that the atlas saw the prime of its use; sure, by now the magma red letters had begun to fade to a more muted tone, but the young woman with the slim fingers didn’t care a lick. She was struck with the fervor for travel that only exists in the young that are for the first time allowed it. She followed that atlas’ instructions to the letter and went on trips all across the land, to the beach where a strong breeze tore a sizable chunk of Maine out of the slim-fingered girl’s hands or to the big city where a not quite couth bird made an unfortunate stain on the outstretched mass of The Great Lakes. The slim-fingered girl kept that car and that map for an eternity and the atlas offered all the congratulations it could muster with its now raggedy edged pages when one day the slim-fingered hand that pulled it out bore a ring with a small diamond.

    That was around the time the other set of hands joined the atlas’ slim-fingered partner, this set of hands was rough and scarred; an arc of dark black hairs crept up the side almost up to the callous-marred pinky. This set of hands did not treat the atlas with the gentle reverence of those of the slim-fingered young woman, it would draw the atlas out and harshly pry into the pages, heedless of the small rips they caused near the staples, and roughly refold things up when they got what they needed. It was due to this roughness that the atlas got the big crease across its front cover as it was shoved angrily into the back of the glovebox with the crumpled receipts.

    Eventually the slim-fingered woman’s lust for travel ceased and the atlas spent longer and longer in that ink-black glovebox; growing very well acquainted with the vehicle registration and ever-growing horde of old receipts. One day however the atlas felt something jolt, the car jumped forward with speed that the atlas did not think the old warhorse could still muster. The hairy-rough hands probed into the glovebox as the car sped along before retrieving some slip of paper, the atlas tried to keep track of them all but there were so many; it was pretty sure this paper said Hospital though. In the brief and frantic time the glovebox was open and the heavenly light of the car’s interior spilled to all corners of the atlas’ little kingdom the atlas saw the world outside and saw those slim-fingered hands spread wide around the distended stomach of the young, well not so much anymore the atlas realized, woman. The glovebox was shut again like an iron trap, the dull clunk of the plastic teeth catching had an eerily clerical ring to it.

    It was then that the atlas waited, it didn’t have much choice at the present moment, as the car that made up its whole universe sat still for hours uncountable. Eventually the atlas felt the all too familiar rattle of keys in the door, it had gotten quite adept at this over its long life, heard the small pops of two doors opening, and then a sound that was alien and new broke through the glovebox’s cage-like door and pierced into the atlas like an icepick; the shrill and angry wail of an infant experiencing the world outside of the hospital for the first time.

    Things were a rush following the introduction of the new person, with their small and pudgy hands; oh so eager to rip and tear. The woman with the slim hands stopped using the car to go to work for a long time, so the atlas sat in stillness and silence. Eventually, time had become hard for the atlas to keep track of, things returned to a period of relative normalcy; the slim-handed woman or the rough-handed man would occasionally rifle through the glovebox. The few stilted glances the atlas got of the wider expanse of the car now contained a plastic seat mounted quite securely into the backseat.

    As time moved on the atlas became more and more entombed in the glovebox that was more and more coming to resemble a sepulcher. Old napkins, crumpled receipts, various and sundry knickknacks to keep the baby calm became a sedimentary layer that lay over the atlas. It’s once vibrant cover was now quite dull and lusterless. Occasionally the atlas would see the light of day as receipts and other bits of detritus were shuffled, but never more than a scant few glances. It was roughly then that the big change happened and the atlas entered a new cycle of life.

    One day the atlas was scooped out of its glovebox with a handful of other detritus and it was brought into a place it only saw out of the shimmering portals of windows; the atlas was outside of the car. The woman with the slim hands held the atlas for what seemed to be an eternity and the atlas saw the ghost-traces of that old smile, so full of wanderlust, cross over her face. The woman with the slim hands tucked the atlas under her arm, throwing the other assorted detritus from the glovebox into a large plastic bin, before moving the atlas into a strange new land; a wholly new car. This place was foreign to the atlas, the car it came from was nothing like this at all; the chunky hole for slotting in tapes was replaced with a thin line, the tan leather interior was replaced with sleek gray fabric, and the dashboard was covered in electronic displays and dials. The slim-handed woman opened a new glovebox, this one as of yet unstained by years of use and life, and placed the atlas inside with deliberate care before shutting the small door with a dull clunk.

    The atlas was intoxicated by this new space, not since its youth so many uncountable years ago had it been in a space so luxurious. The new glovebox was as clean as surgery theater, no fossilized layer of napkins and trash here; the only things that shared this place with the atlas were the vehicle registration and an operating manual, a swanky place indeed. When the hinged door of the glovebox was opened by either the slim-handed woman or the rough-handed man and things, typically the operating manual, were pulled forth the atlas saw the most marvelous thing of all; a window in the roof of the car that allowed one to view the luminous orb of the sun itself. The atlas itself was even removed from the glovebox a handful of times and consulted for its vast knowledge of the highways and byways of the United States. On such occasions the atlas noted that the large plastic seat that used to adorn the back of its old home had been replaced with a slimmer model, something that produced more of a boost in height to the person sitting in it than anything. The atlas also saw that the once pudgy-handed infant has grown into the awkward, all-limbs stages of childhood. The child the atlas would see sat in that seat in the back of the car possessed thin bird-like limbs that it moved with the awkward, yet graceful, energy of childhood. Sometimes the bird-like child would be allowed to sit in the front seat where they would make sport of opening the glovebox time and time again, as if expecting something new to one day be there. It was on one of these bouts of glovebox-opening-mania that the bird-like child pulled the atlas from its sepulcher and began to hastily turn through pages; the child sounded out the names of states and pushed the atlas towards the slim-handed woman for approval on multiple occasions. While it was not the task it was made for or the life the atlas was used to living the atlas felt a calm acceptance of this new lot in life.



    It has been years since that bird-like child last pulled out the “Big Travel Atlas” and gleamed out a smile as brilliant as the sun showing through the window in the roof of the car after having successfully read the word “Mississippi.” That once new glovebox, upon first inception viewed as a vibrant palace to rival the heavens themselves became just another stygian abyss in short order. The atlas, once so proud of being in an exclusive club with the vehicle registration and operations manual now sat in a state of dejection; it sat quietly and alone, blind to the world around it under its vesuvian layer of trash and other assorted waste.

    In a disturbing act of synecdoche, the atlas itself had grown to be able to represented by both its cover and the edges of its pages.

    The cover was faded beyond belief now, the letters had made the final shift to white, with a just barely visible pink at the center of the letters. The place where a crease once marred its surface had finally done enough structural damage to break away completely; leaving a gaping wound through which the muscular structure of the atlas could be seen. Once upon a time the bird-like child had discovered the joy of ink pens and as such had demonstrated this on the atlas with the kind of fervent and fecund enthusiasm that can only be demonstrated by a child utilizing a new idea.

    The edges of the pages had grown so brittle and ragged that they disintegrated at a touch, leaving a powdery white snowfall upon the tips of fingers or sides of hands that might brush the atlas by accident while doing some other chore in the glovebox. The spine of the book wasn’t much better for the wear, two of the three staples that held the thing together had been rent asunder long ago, leaving gashes two-thirds from the top and bottom of the spine; only a very determined or perhaps stubborn staple in the center of the spine held the whole mess together.

    It had become a recent hobby of the atlas to think back on that day when it was first brought to the new car, torn from its old glovebox like a refuge from some war-torn country. Was it merciful at all to do this to the glovebox? Would it not have been more humane to simply let it be cast into the trash with the other detritus from the glovebox? Or better yet, would not the ultimate symbol be to be left in the glovebox to be sent along with the car that had been the atlas’ home for so long?

    The glovebox spent much of its time contemplating these questions anymore and yet never came to a cohesive answer to them. On one day, he would feel the bitterest of hatred for his life here and lament not being left to his devices in the old car; but on the next he would weep tears of joy at simply being given the chance to live another day and mayhap be useful eventually.

    There were certain days when the atlas could hear its replacement droning on in its mechanical voice, the atlas assumed this was when the slim-fingered woman drove the car; the atlas guessed her hearing must be hard by now. At first the atlas begrudged the GPS, some fancy electronic doodad that did all the brain work for you, beloved so much for its mechanical voice that honked out the directions for all to hear. As time went on however, the atlas began to feel a strange connection to the GPS, for surely it too would end up like the atlas one day; cast aside and replaced by the next jump in technology, then it would sit under a veritable ton of refuse and grow to wax philosophical about its replacement.

    There was a time however when the atlas, perhaps as a consequence of its loneliness, did began to feel sparks of hope; be these real or some act of desperation forged by a dying will is as of yet unknown. The atlas was sure that one day its time would come again; when the GPS’ mechanical voice finally grew silent, or when the satellites that made its digital maps plummeted from the sky like fallen angels, or just when the slim-fingered woman or rough-handed man wanted to get beyond all the technology and just use a physical map. These flights of fancy and hope kept the atlas going for a long time, but when the last sparks finally faded the atlas fell to its lowest. It wallowed in depression and wailed against the bars of its cages in anguish, praying that some divine force would just take mercy and throw it in the trash or burn it or crush it into a tight cube with the rest of the car.

    Now however the atlas has grown beyond that phase. In its old life, it now waits in the manner of most old things; it no longer wails and wallows, or lies in hope, or dreams philosophically. It simply waits under its pile of trash with a stolid acceptance, for there could be worse things in life. One day maybe it would be an antique or a collector’s item, its age surely would be impressive to some; or mayhap it would show some small town or road or monument that didn’t exist in modern maps. Some ancient artifact that was only preserved in the annals of history in this faded old atlas, passed out during a car sale that time has forgotten.

    It is with that stolid acceptance that the atlas sits today. Listening with half an ear as that once bird-like child explains to their slim-fingered mother how their phone of all things can be used to navigate now and that clunky old GPS can just be tossed in the glovebox now. It is with this stolid acceptance that the atlas finally feels a sense of contentment, for one day soon it may no longer be alone.

    Candles seldom intimidate. For the most part people tend to have, if not an abject fear, a healthy respect for fire. Candles however are viewed as something diminutive and therefore not scary, they represent mankind’s mastery over the elements; we can contain fire on a wax pillar and use it as a tool.

    Despite all this though, there was a certain young woman, holed up in an inn that was falling apart and filled with the dregs of society, that often spent her nights tossing and turning in fear of candles. Or more specifically a single candle. She could remember it in extreme detail, the monolithic image of it cut through the haze that obscured most childhood memories. Her father said it had been in the family for generations, the hexagonal candlestick seemed to weigh as a mountain. It was covered in golden paint, for surely her family couldn’t afford a solid gold candlestick, and there seemed to be an ever-present pearl of flame dancing atop it. Like an upside-down tear drop that little flame captivated her, so much that she often thought about the amazing things that would surely happen if she just reached out and touched it.

    Fralia awoke with a shiver. A chill wind blew in from the sea and her single threadbare blanket was a poor ward against the cold. She rolled off the cot, just barely long enough for her frame, and her feet brushed the rough floor planks. As she stood she took in her space, just the right size that if she stretched her arms out she could touch each wall. The room was sparse, despite being told she could keep her own possessions in there; she didn’t have much beyond the clothes kept carefully folded under the cot. The only extravagance of the space was the window, thrown wide open, that granted a view of the all too distant sea. She stared out the window for the briefest of moments, taking in the mingling scents of chilled salt spray and the last sputtering wisps of acrid smoke from the oversized hearth downstairs. She eased the wide wooden shutters of the window closed, no real glass in a place like this. With the window shut she dressed hastily, lingering only on the near shapeless boots that came last. The bronze buckle that cinched the boots had been bent, and grew more bent, for going on a year. Fralia did the best she could trying to bend it back into place herself, but she would need to find someone that could actually repair the boots before long and money with which to pay them. Fralia let out a long and lingering sigh, spending money to get her boots fixed was not part of the plan.


    She ran a mental calculation on her meager monetary assets, she got on average about one copper coin a week. She didn’t have to pay for her closet of a room and her twice daily meals, usually whatever was left over after the paying customers had eaten their fill, so long as she worked. She reckoned that repairing the buckle, a task that would require relatively precise work as the buckle was small, would take at least one silver coin; ten weeks of wages. This not counting time spent walking the almost sixteen miles to the nearest hamlet, time which she wouldn’t be working and therefore not being paid. Everything had a price and it seemed the price of a pair of boots was going to be a lingering dread for Fralia today.

    “The Rowdy Mare Inn and Hostelry” exemplified everything a ramshackle building could aspire to be. The roof leaked, wind tore through the window shutters, and the oversized hearth vomited greasy smoke as long as it was burning. It did not cater to those with money to spend on better lodging and it was never meant to. From what Fralia had been told by the proprietress of the establishment, the stout old Mrs. Gert, the inn was originally built as a place for sailors to spend their measly earnings without having to trek all the way to the nearby village. As time grew it become a haven for, shall we say, less than reputable sailors; the sort that tend to liberate other ships of their cargo. Fralia didn’t know if this reputation is what made the place so downtrodden or if the downtrodden nature brought the lowest of society’s lows, and she quite honestly never cared. The place was a rickety box that was currently home to at least three criminals that Fralia knew of, but it was the center of her universe right now. Very few places would take in a young woman who wandered up with nothing to her name beyond a few raggedy dresses, but “The Rowdy Mare” wasn’t the sort to turn down anyone offering to work for a pittance. Fralia was just glad that, so far, no fights had broken out over breakfast.


    Fralia bustled from table to table gathering grease-stained plates and empty mugs. The majority of the bleary-eyed men that occupied the tables ignored her, as they did every morning, but Fralia was distinctly aware of the few eyes that lingered on her for longer than was probably polite. She remembered when she was a girl and her mother told her a story about sailors that stayed out at sea so long that they married the first women they found, as a child she laughed about the comic scenes her mother described; but now she worried that the sailors, hard men that had been at sea for at least three months from what she’d heard, might have something in mind a touch less civil than marriage. She ignored their leers, but she squirreled away the notion deep in her mind that she would probably have to do something about them before the day was done.

    The morning passed in a flurry of spilled beer and ever more unnerving glances. As the chill of early morning was burned away by the sun rising over the sea the hard-faced men that made port in “The Rowdy Mare” trickled out, some in pairs or small clumps but most alone. Each man had steeled himself for six long weeks at sea with cheap beer and dubious food better than they were liable to get aboard ships, at the very least this food was passably warm. Fralia made busy setting chairs right, sweeping out the grime tracked in by muddied boots, and gathering any bits of scrap food to throw to the old sow pig out back. The rear door of “The Rowdy Mare” whined and teetered on leather hinges that were, at least as far as Fralia thought, older then she was. She placed herself gingerly upon the old stump to the left of the door, used as a base for splitting logs Fralia assumed, and began to aimlessly toss chunks of hard bread and burnt sausage ends over the sagging fence of the pigpen. The sow pig waddled out of its tomb of mud and its own filth and began loudly snuffling up the offerings, as jubilant and dutiful in its consumption as any priest consuming a holiday meal.

    As the pig gorged itself Fralia watched it with an ever more curious eye. When she first arrived at “The Rowdy Mare” her feelings towards the pig had been mixed, at first, she felt sorry for the beast trapped in its meager enclosure of packed mud and excrement. Mrs. Gert warned her not to step into the pen to feed the pig.

    “Only e’er toss it it’s meals from a goodly distance away,” she mumbled out, followed by a too-toothy grin.

    In an act of smug petulance veiled as kindness Fralia did exactly the opposite. She clambered over the waist high fence and held out her waiting hand, corn cob held out placatingly. The pig moved in the unnerving way that can only be attributed to large animals moving at speeds that should be impossible given their bulk. It evaded the sacrificial corn cob entirely and closed its mouth right around Fralia’s ankle. Shortly after Fralia let out a yelp, she could swear she heard Mrs. Gert cackling from the common room.

    From that day on Fralia only ever did as she did today, toss the sour beast its offerings from afar lest it take you for its next meal. People often worried about the scary animals you hear in stories. Wolves eat children in the forest, a giant bird swooped down and took the neighbors goat clear into the sky, some giant fish sank a schooner. Never in her life had Fralia ever heard a cautionary story about the girl that got bit by a malevolent swine.

    Fralia thought about this pig a lot when she had the time to let her mind drift in whichever way it would. She sometimes thought the pig was like she was, trapped here in a space that seemed too small. Other times she thought this violent pig was the sole malignancy from which everything wrong with the world was spawned; won’t some hero come slay this pig instead of questing after a dragon?


    Fralia welcomed the pig thoughts though, even the ones in which the pig was the whirlpool of evil from which the things of nightmares were spread. These thoughts were fantasies and she knew that, they were preferable to the thoughts she had of real occurrences. Thoughts of heat and light and sobbing. Thoughts that caused her to bolt upright in the night in animalistic dread as faces made of roiling ink-black smoke shot through her mind like an arrow through a rabbit.

    After her daily pig meditations Fralia was back on her feet and back to work. She swept and polished. She boiled and stirred. She listened as Mrs. Gert told the story, seemingly her only story, about how when she was a girl she worked from sunrise to sunset in an inn not even half this nice. Delivered with the croaking whine of old age and meant to make Fralia feel a sense of deep gratitude for what meager things she had. The story never worked as intended.

    Very few came into “The Rowdy Mare” over the course of the day, the only patron Fralia even saw between her other chores was the miller’s son who stopped in to sample the cheap beer. She kept twitching her eyes towards him as she worked on scrubbing the caked-on char out of the hearth. He’d approached her with a clear interest once, commenting that her hair was the same shade of gold as the grain his father ground into the good flour. After she’d made it clear she wasn’t interested he ignored her completely. She kept waiting for him to push on her again or to lash out, but he simply treated her as though her very existence were a nonfactor in his reality. She wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that this complete denial of existence made her feel worse than rage or bitterness. She made efforts not to dwell on it, but whenever he would come in she would think on it again if only for the briefest of moments.

    As the sun sank below the sea Fralia made her way up the stairs to her room. Taking care not to place her dirty boots in the center of the freshly swept risers. She entered her room and let out all at once an explosive exhalation. The kind of exhalation that only springs forth when you have worked a full day and sleep is finally in sight. But instead of sinking onto the hard mattress and welcoming the warm embrace of rest, Fralia stared at the bed.

    She felt her breath quicken as a sound like a horse running at full gallop pounded through her whole being with every pump of her heart. It was always the worst when she first set forth with the intent to sleep. She slowly and deliberately removed her boots, he bare feet whispering across the pine floor. As she pulled the shapeless tunic up over her head the familiar metallic tang flooded through her mouth, as though she’d bitten her cheek and blood was welling over her tongue. She gently placed herself onto the cot, trembling to the very core of her being. She fought to keep her eyes open for as long as possible as she stared at the slanting ceiling above her. Barely illuminated by the cool blue of moonlight it calmed her if only slightly.

    Fralia didn’t know when she finally lost the battle with her own weariness and sleep overtook her. As she slept, tossing fitfully on the small cot, she dreamt of mean leering at her in a smoky room. It started out as the thin wispy smoke the remains when a candle is snuffed, gray as the sky on a rainy morning and seemingly too ephemeral to exist in a world so concrete. But as the smoke drifted around the leering and calling men it became like the acrid and oily smoke of burning fat or kerosene. As this oily smoke pooled and roiled over each and every faceless man, drowning out their cries and blotting out their lust-filled eyes it became shot through with angry red flashes like some sort of hellish thundercloud. It roiled and burned through Fralia’s dreams for an eternity this smoke, touching upon every corner of her mind. As the smoke churned it began to assume more and more definition, predator’s eyes began to form under a heavy brow. A slab of a nose crowned a mouth curled into a rictus sneer, the mouth began to writhe and twist like a poor imitation of speech and just before a sound could echo forth from it Fralia shot upright in her cot.


    Her chest heaved and she was covered in a thin layer of sweat that rested on her skin like snow. Her head swung back and forth as she clenched her teeth to the point of pain. It took her some time before the feral dread left her and she remembered where she was and as it dawned on her that she had been dreaming once more she pulled her knees up to her chest and sat in the center of the cot. She cried the first several times this had happened, horrid dreams of smoke, fire, death, and faces that shouldn’t be. But she was out of tears now, crying never made the dreams stop; all crying did was make her feel even more like a too-young girl lost in a reality that shouldn’t be hers.

    Fralia managed to claw out a few hours of not particularly restful sleep before she blearily stumbled into another foggy and chill morning. With the sailors having vacated the premises “The Rowdy Mare” was once again largely empty, even in what should be among the busier hours in most inns. A handful of older farmhands sat clustered around a table nursing watered beer and mumbling under their breaths with the type of fervent grumbling only capable in the crotchetiest of old men. Fralia paid them little mind and they her and the morning progressed with a stillness that reminded Fralia of the morning after a torrential downpour, the type of morning in which one wasn’t quite sure if the sky had spit its last or it was merely taking a short break.

    Shortly before midday the ramshackle door of “The Rowdy Mare” burst open and a cadre of men that made the previous day’s sailors look downright presentable sauntered their way into the common room. Fralia worked to make herself scarce as this new gaggle of crag-faced sailing men made themselves comfortable. As she slipped through the common room towards the kitchen she heard the one sound she’d been dreading for the whole of her short career at “The Rowdy Mare.” A single sharp whistle pierced through the close air of the common room as a hoarse and crackling voice whipped through the air like a blade.

    “Come ‘ere girly, I wan’ ‘cha to take my order down real slow like,” rasped out the blade-like voice.

    Fralia turned stiffly around to see the man who had spoken. The sun and salt leathered skin that covered his face when paired with the bald head made it impossible to tell the age of the calling figure, but the way his too-large black eyes raked over Fralia made it clear just what type of man he was, regardless of age.

    “All we’ve got right now is beer and some weak cider from the early harvests,” Fralia managed to squeak out, using every iota of willpower to keep the quavering that was coursing through her stomach out of her voice.

    “And wha’ if I want somethin’ a touch warmer once I settle down for the night,” he grated, licking his lips as his eyes continued to rake over Fralia. The handful of other craggy sailors merely watched the interplay. One coughed lightly into his hand, but the rest seemed too enthralled by the exchange to make even the slightest of sounds.

    Fralia thought about telling the man that he was more than welcome to inquire with the sow pig out back, but she never quite had the nerve to mouth off. Especially to clearly dark men that would just as soon take a knife to her if she dared. She managed to retreat into the kitchen, feeling his eyes bore into her back all the while. As the door of the kitchen closed behind her she heard the muted sounds of laughter and low conversation as they fluttered back into the common room.

    Mrs. Gert continued to mechanically dice potatoes into smaller and smaller hunks as Fralia simply leaned against the wall next to the kitchen door, trying to gain control of her breathing. Mrs. Gert set the big chopping knife off to the side of the small mound of chopped potatoes and spoke lowly.

    “It was bound to happen sooner or later. Between the golden hair and the body you try to hide under that ratty old tunic you’re exactly what those sailors crave. Word of advice deary, types like that don’t stop until they get what they want or they get a knife in the gut for tryin’” after offering her sage wisdom Mrs. Gert nodded curtly, more to herself than Fralia, and began to cut her potatoes once more.

    Fralia thought about questioning why the world was the way it was. Thought about running away despite the fact that she knew she had nowhere else to go, at least not yet. But she simply watched the back of Mrs. Gert as the stout old woman chopped mechanically for another moment, before she placed the knife to the side of the pile once more. The old woman turned and fixed Fralia with the briefest of glances before she headed into the common room to attend to the sailors while Fralia stayed in the kitchen.


    Fralia looked at the big chopping knife left by the pile of potatoes and gingerly walked toward it. Mrs. Gert always put the knife straight back into the drawer when she was done with it, but today she hadn’t. Fralia’s eyes lingered on the thick blade for what felt like hours before she gently and tentatively caressed the age-worn wooden handle. Without even checking if Mrs. Gert had returned Fralia tucked the knife up into her sleeve and retreated into the rear yard.

    Fralia sat on the stump in the rear yard. She felt the cold of the knife’s iron blade as it pressed against her forearm, but she didn’t mind. She never minded the cold. She dwelled on Mrs. Gert’s words, while this might have been Fralia’s first encounter with a man like this she was not ignorant of what he represented.

    She closed her eyes and saw the scene that was etched into her being. She was five bodies lying prostrate on the ground as flames seemed to lick up and consume the world itself. Fralia wanted to scream but whenever she opened her mouth smoke poured in and swallowed up the sound before it could escape her throat. She watched as the dancing flames grew still, like things sculpted from colored ice.

    I can spare them you know girl. The voice boomed through her very being, causing her teeth to rattle and the marrow in her bones to quiver. All you have to do to repay me is give me five things of equal worth.

    At the time and even now Fralia had no idea what this voice was, but it was offering to save her family and that was something she would pay any price for. She nodded once and a sound like a thousand claps of thunder echoed through Fralia’s skull as she drifted into unconsciousness.


    When she awoke she was back in her bed, her real bed in her family home, with hint of fire or smoke to be found. The only thing out of place was the single sheet of creamy vellum resting on her breast. As she picked up the single page she saw the words written in an ink that was impossibly black. “The souls of five spared, in exchange for something of equal worth. The deal is struck. Five souls are owed, not counting your own at your passing.”

    Fralia sat on the stump as the day dragged on and the sun finally set. She knew deep in her gut that the sailor that had harassed her today would be back, if not today or tonight, eventually he would return. He wasn’t the type of stoop to apathy like the miller son, he was more like the sow pig ready to lash out against the world.

    Fralia thought on sailors and pigs and the handsome sons of millers as the sun painted the sea a deep wine red. She thought on deals struck and the small family far away in Dorvton that she couldn’t bring herself to be around. She thought of deals struck with things unknown and best left alone. She thought of gold-painted iron candlesticks placed just too close to a curtain, candlesticks brushed with just slightly too much force, and candlesticks that wobbled just too far and eagerly shared the hungry flame that crowned them with the rest of the world.

    I have always liked pine trees. Perhaps it is some sort of subconscious manifestation of my typical online pseudonym or maybe it stems (pun only slightly intended) from a solid chunk of my formative years being spent in a house with a large pine tree outside.

    That was back when we lived in the nice two story house on Camino Real; my mom hated cleaning it and my dad had trouble getting up the stairs but my young brain could never fathom reasons to hate the place. It was a constant and safe place for a boy that was incredibly nervous and anxious. My bedroom window faced the back of the house, but my parent’s bedroom faced the front, and I distinctly remember the branches of that old pine tree rapping against the window of their en suite; as though imparting that the tree itself knew our surname and my animosity towards it.

    One year it snowed. I remember this because that is when that old pine tree broke and we had to clean it up; we being my brother and I as our father was particularly fragile at that point in his life. We lived in the arid wastes of Southern California and so were ill prepared to deal with this seemingly Herculean effort. We sat out in the front yard for days moving snow with a shovel older than I am and attacking the toppled branches with small hacksaws. Eventually our father relented and bought one of those long tree trimming tools from Home Depot, the same one he later recycled into a flagpole for his Tea Party rallies.

    After we moved from that house following a series of economic upsets we ended up at the Meadow Lane house, less than a mile away. I remember we drove past the old Camino Real house one day and found that that pine tree was now gone. Whoever had bought the house after we left must have come to the realization that a desert was no place for a pine tree. I had no pine tree in the Meadow Lane house, but I did spend the latter half of my formative years there, so that is a story in its own right.

    Now that we live in the 171st East house I have a pine tree again, after a fashion. Every day on the way home, as I am driven down the scar that is Avenue O by one family member or another we pass the pile of boulders and sand known as Alpine Butte, or so the faded sign would say. I personally don’t believe a pine tree has been within thirty miles of that butte since the beginning of time.

    Maybe I don’t like pine trees after all.



    Poetry
    Mountain Vesuvius,

    Covered in lava so hot,

    Ow it burns a lot.

    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    One thousand ships launch’d for her face,
    My Helen of Troy.

    Most would say her beauty does cloy,
    Some call her a blade draped in lace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    Of lovers, I know she has had many a toy,
    Though all fall short of her mercurial pace,
    My Helen of Troy.

    I’m sure to most this would annoy,
    This never ending herculean chase,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    But to the far fields of Ilium I would deploy,
    And fight a battle worthy of any ancient vase,
    My Helen of Troy.

    When I watch her offer that initial ploy,
    For the coming heartache, I must brace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    My Helen of Troy.

    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    One thousand ships launch’d for her face,
    My Helen of Troy.

    Most would say her beauty does cloy,
    Some call her a blade draped in lace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    Of lovers she has had many a toy,
    Though all fall short of her mercurial pace,
    My Helen of Troy.

    To most this would annoy,
    This never-ending chase,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    But to the far fields of Ilium I would deploy,
    And fight a battle worthy of any ancient vase,
    My Helen of Troy.

    When I watch her offer that initial ploy,
    For the coming heartache I must brace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    My Helen of Troy.

    You dazzle with your hair of raven,
    Your skin as pale as virgin snow,
    Or beauty you are quite the maven,
    You set the hearts of men aglow.

    When near you I feel rather craven,
    My mind works far too slow,
    I hope that you would only bestow,
    Your simple glance and make for me a haven.

    But in that ivory tower you stay.
    A being that cannot help but shine,
    Leaving all that see you content.

    I suppose you have always been that way.
    But of this life I find it quite fine,
    And I glean a piteous enjoyment.

    You dazzle with your hair of raven,
    Your skin as pale as virgin snow,
    Of beauty, you are quite the maven,
    You set the hearts of men aglow.

    When near you I feel rather craven,
    My mind works far too slow,
    I hope that you would only bestow,
    Your simple glance and make for me a haven.

    But in that ivory tower you stay.
    A being that cannot help but shine,
    Leaving all that see you content.

    I suppose you have always been that way.
    But of this life I find it quite fine
    And I glean a piteous enjoyment.

    I often find myself watching you.
    I wait and wait for you to do something. Anything!
    I don’t know if you notice this rapt attention, you haven’t mentioned it.

    It’s strange working in such proximity to you.
    I hate how you do the job, hate how you deal with the people, hate how you don’t do the job.
    I keep watching and doing whatever you tell me to.

    We used to chat. We used to joke. I like to think we used to flirt.
    The polyamory you brag about so much, oh how progressive you are, rings a sour note.
    And yet I hope that one day I will be one of your progressive polyamorous flings.

    When one leaves you, I rush to offer a shoulder. You tell me you will take up my offer.
    You never will.

    When I am in one of my dark moods you rush to offer an ear. I tell myself I will take your offer.
    I never can.

    If you were Persephone
    I could play Hades and steal you.
    What this might cause I cannot foresee,
    what misery it might make come true.

    I could play Hades and steal you,
    Cause your harsh façade to splinter.
    what misery it might make come true,
    likely it would cause a cold winter.

    Cause your harsh façade to splinter,
    bringing to light a new side.
    Surely it would cause a cold winter,
    Through it all you could easily glide.

    And bring to light a new side,
    What this might cause I cannot foresee,
    Though through it all you could easily glide,
    If you were Persephone.

    We struggle to learn and improve faster
    and through this very course we have learned,
    the art of writing is impossible to master.

    Every work can become a disaster
    so, caution must never be spurned.
    We struggle to learn and improve faster.

    A piece that can stir both tears and laughter,
    with careful hands and hearts, we have formed.
    The art of writing is impossible to master.

    Like Michelangelo working in plaster,
    with new techniques and tools, we come armed,
    struggling to learn and improve faster.

    A circus of words and we the ringmaster!
    With thoughts like lions, waiting to be tamed
    the art of writing is impossible to master.

    Ideas and dreams in our breast astir,
    fighting to show the works for which our passions have burned.
    We must struggle to learn and improve faster
    for the art of writing is possible to master.

    [​IMG]

    Like a far-off star, she burned
    with a light that drew all near.
    All who saw her did revere,
    though all their love she spurned.
    Of fragile hearts, she was unconcerned
    for love was, to her, a strange frontier.
    Passion was not within her sphere,
    with the whims of the heart she was unconcerned.

    She knew her light would fade one day
    so, she waited for one who would not chase her for a lark,
    one who would love her as a shade of gray.
    She waited for one who would not betray,
    and when she smoldered in the dark
    one who would love her anyway.

    I think that I love you.
    Think being the key word there,
    as I don’t know if it’s true.
    As for what brought this doubt, I am not aware.

    Think must be the key word there,
    since I do that far too much; but that still seems wrong.
    Of what really brought this doubt I am still not aware,
    and so, my doubting has been prolonged.

    Since I think love you so much, how can it still seem wrong?
    I am trapped within this cycle,
    my doubting and fretting forever prolonged
    in this self-destructive spiral.

    I’m all too familiar with this cycle
    of fear and worry and dread.
    It is an ever downward spiral
    that just won’t leave my head.

    The winds blow across this sandy place
    that is bereft of sidewalks. Wind
    with a scouring pad that scrapes
    away the sun-bleached dirt.
    The wind stirs up the
    biting grains of
    sand that cut
    to the
    core.

    Coming together
    like that unsinkable ship
    and hidden iceberg.

    Your way of being,
    outspoken, standoffish, off-putting;
    undoes me at every turn,
    removing all doubts.

    Lately I’ve been thinking
    of all the parts of you that are
    voluminous and blinding,
    everything working in harmony.

    The wind blows cold and swift
    dashing many shingles from the roof
    on this tempestuous day.

    Like a razor trimming the stubble,
    the wind plucks the leaves from the trees
    as it blows with its cold resolve.

    All the things the wind picks up
    leaves, shingles, tumbleweeds,
    get mixed in that tempestuous stew.

    If it blows hard enough the wind
    will surely take the whole house next
    and blow it along with its swift gales.

    Like the leaves, the shingles, the tumbleweeds,
    the house will be swept up and out and around
    by the tempestuous wind.

    I wonder if the wind knows about
    all the things it carries with it
    as it blows swift and cold
    on its more tempestuous day.

    Taking things in with his grass-green eyes
    he roams the house, leaving a trail of ebony fur
    upon every surface on which he cares to jump.

    His interest will often take a meteoric jump
    when he sees a new place with his hunter’s eyes
    where he can leave more of that ever-present fur.

    I am sure that he will not rest until his fur
    covers all of this house, and with joy he will jump
    for that is quite the accomplishment in his eyes.

    But my eyes water as that fur makes my allergies jump.

    Young couple standing breast to breast,
    only the gods could tear them apart.
    Both engaged in the classic young lover’s quest,
    to stand as one being with two beating hearts.

    Neither one pays a bit of mind
    to the river of bodies parting around them,
    as passions stoked by romance climb
    and the barrier between hearts grows thin.

    With such passionate love abuzz
    one must wonder is it going to last?
    Will it burn long like the sun above
    or will it burn bright and firework-fast?

    They move now and join the flow,
    two souls, today at least, bound by an arrow.

    Jetstream can write a
    haiku, yes he truly can;
    but not very well.

    Your roots, buried dark and deep,
    within the solemn earth.
    The temperament of that earth would seep
    into you and linger, a curse.

    Your trunk, gnarled and scarred,
    bears a thousand stories.
    Many have known you and carved within
    initials and markings of love and glory.

    Your heartwood, hidden and guarded,
    is kept inside where none may see.
    Though some would claim to know your garden
    they have only seen what you let be.

    But hidden deep in your leaves and branches
    is the secret fruit of your wanted romances.

    Like flint and striker,
    when we touch sparks always fly
    and things start to burn.

    The wick catches flame,
    burning with a bright passion.
    But the fuel runs out.

    Others can see through
    and watch the fuel burn away;
    but we are blinded.

    Hidden in the shroud
    unknowing of the flame’s life
    until it is out.

    Brittle
    like old spun glass.
    Every day I fear that
    I may hear the crash and find you
    shattered.

    Too-small wings beat at the air,
    defiant in the face of cruel gravity,
    all to ensure larval welfare.

    That warning drone causes all to flee.
    Stripes of burnt-umber and goldenrod
    promise the incautious a fury.

    Pollen, that sweet nectar, brought back by the wad.
    The hypnotizing tremble dance of royalty
    directs each and every squad.

    The hive, an abbey
    built to please that godly queen,
    with every waxen hexagon built sharply.

    And when the cold wipes all the flowers clean
    they will wait to rebuild when it’s green.

    Reminder:
    New shirt,
    remove one sleeve.

    Flowing. A fierce vermillion deluge,
    carrying an iron payload. Smooth
    voyages its only wish. Those clannish
    distinctions it makes have no refuge.

    sand grains have no legs
    but manage
    to get everywhere

    The die rolls,
    a rumbling cannon.
    The number
    shows me how
    this fake life will go tonight.
    Please let me roll high.

    I sit here watching
    as cars and sand go rushing.
    Down roads they travel,
    some through choices of their own,
    others just blown by the wind.

    Yet
    wonder
    and good hope
    leave me. They are
    smoke.​

    Light
    brings heat.
    Scrapes away life.

    Can you paint me back home in Wyoming,
    in that hidden place where the thunder rolls?

    Can you paint me a Birmingham,
    a place I’d know if I was a lucky man?

    Can you send me to Amarillo by morning,
    home of the lost troubadours?

    Can you tell me the secret of a father’s love?
    Or the story of three wooden crosses?

    I
    Do not,
    Know why this,
    Has come to pass.

    Cannot avoid you,
    Always taking a spot,
    Thinking of you brings me bliss,
    These thoughts leave me at an impasse.

    No way to rid myself of you
    Constantly coming back into my life.
    You lead me into a stygian abyss
    With your life that gleams like a shard of polished glass.

    The burner on the stove
    sits cold and tranquil;
    until it is sparked
    and it burns hot.

    To call you a flower
    would be a trite metaphor.
    So I will not call you a thorny rose
    or a blushing daisy.

    I think instead you are like a dead tree,
    some skeletal thing children call haunted.
    In some far-off time, I’m sure
    many flitted in your boughs.

    But now all are gone and silent.
    Their attentions turned away
    by your rough bark
    and snagging branches.

    The first glance was made and I saw,
    that ivory field trimmed with rampant sapphire.
    A place where I fit, all snug and secure
    as a key in a lock.

    I have grown older now
    and been long since removed from that lock,
    though I still jangle about with other keys
    that fit that lock.

    I think the half decade spent growing
    has changed me fundamentally.
    Though decidedly still a key
    I don’t quite seem to fit in this new lock.

    The sunrise was drowned in blood and stained forever,
    With a truth that the criminals deny to this day.
    For over thirty long years we have had to remember what happened
    In those years of gunfire and hatred against a people that did nothing
    To deserve any of it. We are bent by the weight of suffering
    From generations passed, but we are not broken. We will rise
    Stronger than ever, filled with the knowledge
    That we are more than a land ravaged, we are
    A people that has survived.

    Sickly saccharin stench
    of synthetic roses
    fill the halls
    with their cloying miasma.

    Canines one and two sit in silence,
    decidedly off the furniture.
    The whisperrush of nails on cracked tile
    the only noise they make.

    Brother doffs his posture
    of feigned illness, sickness
    being little more than a game
    he plays with his own mind.

    The booming cannon of father’s
    voice is silenced by the too patient
    and too knowing smile
    of that woman.

    Asphalt barrel,
    rifled with skid marks.
    Launches a rainbow
    of two-ton steel
    shells laden with those
    seeking to get away or
    those with jobs to do.

    A languid Summer
    cloaked by the miasmatic
    haze of apathy.

    At the edges of my mind,
    the parts age-frayed like an old book,
    I wondered if I would return.

    To a mistress with whom
    a too-long dalliance
    had been floundered through.

    I tell myself that I enjoyed time
    spent in ever smaller crowds
    reading scrawled the night before lines.

    But now when I think of reengaging
    for my own sake, rather than that of academia,
    I wonder if I loved her at all.

    a pane of clearest glass
    made opaque as any stone

    a room once a haven
    now akin to a gibbet

    so much of life planned
    but the plans have run short

    surely a caterpillar knows
    when to shed earthly tethers

    does it know what to do
    once it is alone and aloft?

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    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  2. darthmorf

    darthmorf Party Girl

    Oho, a word hole.
     
  3. ArmyFrog

    ArmyFrog Plantera

    word hole...you mean words made from the letters qeopadg and b?
     
  4. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Wrote a Petrarchan Sonnet for a class today and was kinda proud of it, despite the minor foibles in regards to iambic pentameter. Read into it whatever you will.

    You dazzle with your hair of raven,
    Your skin as pale as virgin snow,
    Of beauty you are quite the maven,
    You set the hearts of men aglow.

    When near you I feel rather craven,
    My mind works far too slow,
    I hope that you would only bestow,
    Your simple glance and make for me a haven.

    But in that ivory tower you stay.
    A being that cannot help but shine,
    Leaving all that see you content.

    I suppose you have always been that way.
    But of this life I find it quite fine,
    And I glean a piteous enjoyment.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  5. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I got very bored so I rambled in stream-of-consciousness about pine trees.
    I have always liked pine trees. Perhaps it is some sort of subconscious manifestation of my typical online pseudonym or maybe it stems (pun only slightly intended) from a solid chunk of my formative years being spent in a house with a large pine tree outside.

    That was back when we lived in the nice two story house on Camino Real; my mom hated cleaning it and my dad had trouble getting up the stairs but my young brain could never fathom reasons to hate the place. It was a constant and safe place for a boy that was incredibly nervous and anxious. My bedroom window faced the back of the house, but my parent’s bedroom faced the front, and I distinctly remember the branches of that old pine tree rapping against the window of their en suite; as though imparting that the tree itself knew our surname and my animosity towards it.

    One year it snowed. I remember this because that is when that old pine tree broke and we had to clean it up; we being my brother and I as our father was particularly fragile at that point in his life. We lived in the arid wastes of Southern California and so were ill prepared to deal with this seemingly Herculean effort. We sat out in the front yard for days moving snow with a shovel older than I am and attacking the toppled branches with small hacksaws. Eventually our father relented and bought one of those long tree trimming tools from Home Depot, the same one he later recycled into a flagpole for his Tea Party rallies.

    After we moved from that house following a series of economic upsets we ended up at the Meadow Lane house, less than a mile away. I remember we drove past the old Camino Real house one day and found that that pine tree was now gone. Whoever had bought the house after we left must have come to the realization that a desert was no place for a pine tree. I had no pine tree in the Meadow Lane house, but I did spend the latter half of my formative years there, so that is a story in its own right.

    Now that we live in the 171st East house I have a pine tree again, after a fashion. Every day on the way home, as I am driven down the scar that is Avenue O by one family member or another we pass the pile of boulders and sand known as Alpine Butte, or so the faded sign would say. I personally don’t believe a pine tree has been within thirty miles of that butte since the beginning of time.

    Maybe I don’t like pine trees after all.
     
  6. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    A haiku for @W1K

    Mountain Vesuvius,

    Covered in lava so hot,

    Ow it burns a lot.
     
    『Voltear』 and W1K like this.
  7. W1K

    W1K Witch

    "Why the :red: are you writing haiku about mount Vesuvius"
    "Yes."

    Best conversation I've had the entire year.
     
    『Voltear』 and Matsu like this.
  8. 『Voltear』

    『Voltear』 Skeletron Prime

    "Dayooooon"
     
  9. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I wrote a villanelle full of them sweet allusions all the kids are wild about.

    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    One thousand ships launch’d for her face,
    My Helen of Troy.

    Most would say her beauty does cloy,
    Some call her a blade draped in lace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    Of lovers, I know she has had many a toy,
    Though all fall short of her mercurial pace,
    My Helen of Troy.

    I’m sure to most this would annoy,
    This never ending herculean chase,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    But to the far fields of Ilium I would deploy,
    And fight a battle worthy of any ancient vase,
    My Helen of Troy.

    When I watch her offer that initial ploy,
    For the coming heartache, I must brace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    My Helen of Troy.
     
    『Voltear』 likes this.
  10. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    It's been a while since I updated this, so here is a dump of stuff. All poems all the time.

    Helen (Villanelle)

    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    One thousand ships launch’d for her face,
    My Helen of Troy.

    Most would say her beauty does cloy,
    Some call her a blade draped in lace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    Of lovers she has had many a toy,
    Though all fall short of her mercurial pace,
    My Helen of Troy.

    To most this would annoy,
    This never-ending chase,
    In temperament, she is rather coy.

    But to the far fields of Ilium I would deploy,
    And fight a battle worthy of any ancient vase,
    My Helen of Troy.

    When I watch her offer that initial ploy,
    For the coming heartache I must brace,
    In temperament, she is rather coy,
    My Helen of Troy.

    Girl In The Tower (Sonnet)

    You dazzle with your hair of raven,
    Your skin as pale as virgin snow,
    Of beauty, you are quite the maven,
    You set the hearts of men aglow.

    When near you I feel rather craven,
    My mind works far too slow,
    I hope that you would only bestow,
    Your simple glance and make for me a haven.

    But in that ivory tower you stay.
    A being that cannot help but shine,
    Leaving all that see you content.

    I suppose you have always been that way.
    But of this life I find it quite fine
    And I glean a piteous enjoyment.

    Mirrors (Song Echo)

    I often find myself watching you.
    I wait and wait for you to do something. Anything!
    I don’t know if you notice this rapt attention, you haven’t mentioned it.

    It’s strange working in such proximity to you.
    I hate how you do the job, hate how you deal with the people, hate how you don’t do the job.
    I keep watching and doing whatever you tell me to.

    We used to chat. We used to joke. I like to think we used to flirt.
    The polyamory you brag about so much, oh how progressive you are, rings a sour note.
    And yet I hope that one day I will be one of your progressive polyamorous flings.

    When one leaves you, I rush to offer a shoulder. You tell me you will take up my offer.
    You never will.

    When I am in one of my dark moods you rush to offer an ear. I tell myself I will take your offer.
    I never can.

    Persephone (Pantoum)

    If you were Persephone
    I could play Hades and steal you.
    What this might cause I cannot foresee,
    what misery it might make come true.

    I could play Hades and steal you,
    Cause your harsh façade to splinter.
    what misery it might make come true,
    likely it would cause a cold winter.

    Cause your harsh façade to splinter,
    bringing to light a new side.
    Surely it would cause a cold winter,
    Through it all you could easily glide.

    And bring to light a new side,
    What this might cause I cannot foresee,
    Though through it all you could easily glide,
    If you were Persephone.

    Hierarchy (Free Verse)

    I
    Do not,
    Know why this,
    Has come to pass.

    Cannot avoid you,
    Always taking a spot,
    Thinking of you brings me bliss,
    These thoughts leave me at an impasse.

    No way to rid myself of you
    Constantly coming back into my life.
    You lead me into a stygian abyss
    With your life that gleams like a shard of polished glass.

    An Art (Villanelle)

    We struggle to learn and improve faster
    and through this very course we have learned,
    the art of writing is impossible to master.

    Every work can become a disaster
    so, caution must never be spurned.
    We struggle to learn and improve faster.

    A piece that can stir both tears and laughter,
    with careful hands and hearts, we have formed.
    The art of writing is impossible to master.

    Like Michelangelo working in plaster,
    with new techniques and tools, we come armed,
    struggling to learn and improve faster.

    A circus of words and we the ringmaster!
    With thoughts like lions, waiting to be tamed
    the art of writing is impossible to master.

    Ideas and dreams in our breast astir,
    fighting to show the works for which our passions have burned.
    We must struggle to learn and improve faster
    for the art of writing is possible to master.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
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  11. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I'm the only one that posts in this thread anymore. This was made as part of a Secret Santa for @Snarferman
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I wrote a poem about a girl. Are we noticing a common theme yet?

    Like a far-off star, she burned
    with a light that drew all near.
    All who saw her did revere,
    though all their love she spurned.
    Of fragile hearts, she was unconcerned
    for love was, to her, a strange frontier.
    Passion was not within her sphere,
    with the whims of the heart she was unconcerned.

    She knew her light would fade one day
    so, she waited for one who would not chase her for a lark,
    one who would love her as a shade of gray.
    She waited for one who would not betray,
    and when she smoldered in the dark
    one who would love her anyway.
     
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  13. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    One of these days I'm gonna write a poem about something else. Bonus points if you can tell what poetic form I'm mangling in my attempts at New Formalism this time around.

    I think that I love you.
    Think being the key word there,
    as I don’t know if it’s true.
    As for what brought this doubt, I am not aware.

    Think must be the key word there,
    since I do that far too much; but that still seems wrong.
    Of what really brought this doubt I am still not aware,
    and so, my doubting has been prolonged.

    Since I think love you so much, how can it still seem wrong?
    I am trapped within this cycle,
    my doubting and fretting forever prolonged
    in this self-destructive spiral.

    I’m all too familiar with this cycle
    of fear and worry and dread.
    It is an ever downward spiral
    that just won’t leave my head.
     
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  14. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I wrote not a poem, I know weird huh? Either way, a piece of flash fiction with no animate characters.

    The big travel atlas sat truculent in the glovebox, long since neglected since the advent of the smartphone and the proliferation of mapping apps. Though the once lustrous red letters, “Map of the Continental United States” were now fading to a dull salmon the atlas didn’t mind. Though it now had an ever-present crease from being jammed in the far back of the glove box, hidden behind old tissues and a handful of crumpled receipts it didn’t mind. Its hopes got shot up high one day when a questing hand removed it into the sunlit expanse of the car only to place it back into its stygian tomb once the hand had found its true goal, but it didn’t mind.

    The big travel atlas knew that one day it would shine again. When the phone batteries were dead, or the mapping satellites fell from the sky, or some driver just felt nostalgic; its tattered spine and crinkly pages would breathe the fresh air of use. It never once thought it was being delusional, it was sure that it would have its hay-day once again. People needed a map, not just for driving, but for life; and the big travel atlas was holding onto that last thin thread that it was that map.
     
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  15. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I actually wrote a poem that is not about a woman of questionable reality about whom the speaker, who surely isn't me, obsesses over.

    It's a nonet about wind.

    The winds blow across this sandy place
    that is bereft of sidewalks. Wind
    with a scouring pad that scrapes
    away the sun-bleached dirt.
    The wind stirs up the
    biting grains of
    sand that cut
    to the
    core.
     
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  16. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    This is a thing I did for a class. The assignment was to make a poem containing less than six lines that was a single metaphor about an emotion; I am happy with the results, especially since free verse isn't my forte, so I'm dumping it here.

    The burner on the stove
    sits cold and tranquil;
    until it is sparked
    and it burns hot.
     
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  17. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I'm very proud of this one. Free verse is something I tend to avoid, but I think my ability to write outside of formalist poems is improving.
    To call you a flower
    would be a trite metaphor.
    So I will not call you a thorny rose
    or a blushing daisy.

    I think instead you are like a dead tree,
    some skeletal thing children call haunted.
    In some far-off time, I’m sure
    many flitted in your boughs.

    But now all are gone and silent.
    Their attentions turned away
    by your rough bark
    and snagging branches.
     
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  18. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    It's a cinquain. Feels nice to be doing formalist stuff again.
    Can you
    really by gone?
    Drifted off to that place
    that sits above the glowing sun
    forever?
     
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  19. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Finals are kicking my :red: this semester; on a note that is as related as you want it to be here is a dump of poems. All formalist all the time.

    It's a haiku.
    Coming together
    like that unsinkable ship
    and hidden iceberg.

    An acrostic.
    Your way of being,
    outspoken, standoffish, off-putting;
    undoes me at every turn,
    removing all doubts.

    Lately I’ve been thinking
    of all the parts of you that are
    voluminous and blinding,
    everything working in harmony.

    A heavily modified villanelle.
    The wind blows cold and swift
    dashing many shingles from the roof
    on this tempestuous day.

    Like a razor trimming the stubble,
    the wind plucks the leaves from the trees
    as it blows with its cold resolve.

    All the things the wind picks up
    leaves, shingles, tumbleweeds,
    get mixed in that tempestuous stew.

    If it blows hard enough the wind
    will surely take the whole house next
    and blow it along with its swift gales.

    Like the leaves, the shingles, the tumbleweeds,
    the house will be swept up and out and around
    by the tempestuous wind.

    I wonder if the wind knows about
    all the things it carries with it
    as it blows swift and cold
    on its more tempestuous day.

    A tritina.
    Taking things in with his grass-green eyes
    he roams the house, leaving a trail of ebony fur
    upon every surface on which he cares to jump.

    His interest will often take a meteoric jump
    when he sees a new place with his hunter’s eyes
    where he can leave more of that ever-present fur.

    I am sure that he will not rest until his fur
    covers all of this house, and with joy he will jump
    for that is quite the accomplishment in his eyes.

    But my eyes water as that fur makes my allergies jump.

    An Elizabethan sonnet.
    Young couple standing breast to breast,
    only the gods could tear them apart.
    Both engaged in the classic young lover’s quest,
    to stand as one being with two beating hearts.

    Neither one pays a bit of mind
    to the river of bodies parting around them,
    as passions stoked by romance climb
    and the barrier between hearts grows thin.

    With such passionate love abuzz
    one must wonder is it going to last?
    Will it burn long like the sun above
    or will it burn bright and firework-fast?

    They move now and join the flow,
    two souls, today at least, bound by an arrow.

    For those of you tired of me vomiting poems on here, for I know tragically few care for poetry, the next thing I post on here is going to be a long prose piece so strap in.
     
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  20. Matsu

    Matsu Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I promised it and so it shall be, a long form prose piece; known to non-pedants as a short story. Written as my final project for my Theories of Fiction class, prose is not my focus in creative writing (as is readily evident when looking at this thread) but I am proud of how this piece turned out.

    In the not exactly unique glovebox of a not exactly exceptional car there sat a book; an atlas to be more precise. You see when this car was first bought in the long ago of eight-track tapes and big hair the dealer had a special sale going on, “Buy a car and get a free atlas! Plan tomorrow’s big vacation today!”

    And so, an atlas came to rest in that car’s glovebox. Magma red block letters proudly arched across the cover “Big Travel Atlas: Map of the Continental United States!” The pages all waited crisply printed and sharp edged waiting for probing hands to tuck in and find a place to go; and that is exactly what happened. The first owner of that car and that atlas had large hands that he kept very well bedecked with rings and watches. On summer outings, away from town he would pull out that atlas and rifle through pages with one licked finger until he found the particular rural route he was on and a way to get back to the highway he needed to be on. The atlas had it pretty good all things considered and so it was content with its life.

    Eventually the man with the large well-accessorized hands sold that car and the atlas contained therein to a young woman freshly allowed to cruise the roads. It was with her, with her slim fingered and long-nailed hands that the atlas saw the prime of its use; sure, by now the magma red letters had begun to fade to a more muted tone, but the young woman with the slim fingers didn’t care a lick. She was struck with the fervor for travel that only exists in the young that are for the first time allowed it. She followed that atlas’ instructions to the letter and went on trips all across the land, to the beach where a strong breeze tore a sizable chunk of Maine out of the slim-fingered girl’s hands or to the big city where a not quite couth bird made an unfortunate stain on the outstretched mass of The Great Lakes. The slim-fingered girl kept that car and that map for an eternity and the atlas offered all the congratulations it could muster with its now raggedy edged pages when one day the slim-fingered hand that pulled it out bore a ring with a small diamond.

    That was around the time the other set of hands joined the atlas’ slim-fingered partner, this set of hands was rough and scarred; an arc of dark black hairs crept up the side almost up to the callous-marred pinky. This set of hands did not treat the atlas with the gentle reverence of those of the slim-fingered young woman, it would draw the atlas out and harshly pry into the pages, heedless of the small rips they caused near the staples, and roughly refold things up when they got what they needed. It was due to this roughness that the atlas got the big crease across its front cover as it was shoved angrily into the back of the glovebox with the crumpled receipts.

    Eventually the slim-fingered woman’s lust for travel ceased and the atlas spent longer and longer in that ink-black glovebox; growing very well acquainted with the vehicle registration and ever-growing horde of old receipts. One day however the atlas felt something jolt, the car jumped forward with speed that the atlas did not think the old warhorse could still muster. The hairy-rough hands probed into the glovebox as the car sped along before retrieving some slip of paper, the atlas tried to keep track of them all but there were so many; it was pretty sure this paper said Hospital though. In the brief and frantic time the glovebox was open and the heavenly light of the car’s interior spilled to all corners of the atlas’ little kingdom the atlas saw the world outside and saw those slim-fingered hands spread wide around the distended stomach of the young, well not so much anymore the atlas realized, woman. The glovebox was shut again like an iron trap, the dull clunk of the plastic teeth catching had an eerily clerical ring to it.

    It was then that the atlas waited, it didn’t have much choice at the present moment, as the car that made up its whole universe sat still for hours uncountable. Eventually the atlas felt the all too familiar rattle of keys in the door, it had gotten quite adept at this over its long life, heard the small pops of two doors opening, and then a sound that was alien and new broke through the glovebox’s cage-like door and pierced into the atlas like an icepick; the shrill and angry wail of an infant experiencing the world outside of the hospital for the first time.

    Things were a rush following the introduction of the new person, with their small and pudgy hands; oh so eager to rip and tear. The woman with the slim hands stopped using the car to go to work for a long time, so the atlas sat in stillness and silence. Eventually, time had become hard for the atlas to keep track of, things returned to a period of relative normalcy; the slim-handed woman or the rough-handed man would occasionally rifle through the glovebox. The few stilted glances the atlas got of the wider expanse of the car now contained a plastic seat mounted quite securely into the backseat.

    As time moved on the atlas became more and more entombed in the glovebox that was more and more coming to resemble a sepulcher. Old napkins, crumpled receipts, various and sundry knickknacks to keep the baby calm became a sedimentary layer that lay over the atlas. It’s once vibrant cover was now quite dull and lusterless. Occasionally the atlas would see the light of day as receipts and other bits of detritus were shuffled, but never more than a scant few glances. It was roughly then that the big change happened and the atlas entered a new cycle of life.

    One day the atlas was scooped out of its glovebox with a handful of other detritus and it was brought into a place it only saw out of the shimmering portals of windows; the atlas was outside of the car. The woman with the slim hands held the atlas for what seemed to be an eternity and the atlas saw the ghost-traces of that old smile, so full of wanderlust, cross over her face. The woman with the slim hands tucked the atlas under her arm, throwing the other assorted detritus from the glovebox into a large plastic bin, before moving the atlas into a strange new land; a wholly new car. This place was foreign to the atlas, the car it came from was nothing like this at all; the chunky hole for slotting in tapes was replaced with a thin line, the tan leather interior was replaced with sleek gray fabric, and the dashboard was covered in electronic displays and dials. The slim-handed woman opened a new glovebox, this one as of yet unstained by years of use and life, and placed the atlas inside with deliberate care before shutting the small door with a dull clunk.

    The atlas was intoxicated by this new space, not since its youth so many uncountable years ago had it been in a space so luxurious. The new glovebox was as clean as surgery theater, no fossilized layer of napkins and trash here; the only things that shared this place with the atlas were the vehicle registration and an operating manual, a swanky place indeed. When the hinged door of the glovebox was opened by either the slim-handed woman or the rough-handed man and things, typically the operating manual, were pulled forth the atlas saw the most marvelous thing of all; a window in the roof of the car that allowed one to view the luminous orb of the sun itself. The atlas itself was even removed from the glovebox a handful of times and consulted for its vast knowledge of the highways and byways of the United States. On such occasions the atlas noted that the large plastic seat that used to adorn the back of its old home had been replaced with a slimmer model, something that produced more of a boost in height to the person sitting in it than anything. The atlas also saw that the once pudgy-handed infant has grown into the awkward, all-limbs stages of childhood. The child the atlas would see sat in that seat in the back of the car possessed thin bird-like limbs that it moved with the awkward, yet graceful, energy of childhood. Sometimes the bird-like child would be allowed to sit in the front seat where they would make sport of opening the glovebox time and time again, as if expecting something new to one day be there. It was on one of these bouts of glovebox-opening-mania that the bird-like child pulled the atlas from its sepulcher and began to hastily turn through pages; the child sounded out the names of states and pushed the atlas towards the slim-handed woman for approval on multiple occasions. While it was not the task it was made for or the life the atlas was used to living the atlas felt a calm acceptance of this new lot in life.



    It has been years since that bird-like child last pulled out the “Big Travel Atlas” and gleamed out a smile as brilliant as the sun showing through the window in the roof of the car after having successfully read the word “Mississippi.” That once new glovebox, upon first inception viewed as a vibrant palace to rival the heavens themselves became just another stygian abyss in short order. The atlas, once so proud of being in an exclusive club with the vehicle registration and operations manual now sat in a state of dejection; it sat quietly and alone, blind to the world around it under its vesuvian layer of trash and other assorted waste.

    In a disturbing act of synecdoche, the atlas itself had grown to be able to represented by both its cover and the edges of its pages.

    The cover was faded beyond belief now, the letters had made the final shift to white, with a just barely visible pink at the center of the letters. The place where a crease once marred its surface had finally done enough structural damage to break away completely; leaving a gaping wound through which the muscular structure of the atlas could be seen. Once upon a time the bird-like child had discovered the joy of ink pens and as such had demonstrated this on the atlas with the kind of fervent and fecund enthusiasm that can only be demonstrated by a child utilizing a new idea.

    The edges of the pages had grown so brittle and ragged that they disintegrated at a touch, leaving a powdery white snowfall upon the tips of fingers or sides of hands that might brush the atlas by accident while doing some other chore in the glovebox. The spine of the book wasn’t much better for the wear, two of the three staples that held the thing together had been rent asunder long ago, leaving gashes two-thirds from the top and bottom of the spine; only a very determined or perhaps stubborn staple in the center of the spine held the whole mess together.

    It had become a recent hobby of the atlas to think back on that day when it was first brought to the new car, torn from its old glovebox like a refuge from some war-torn country. Was it merciful at all to do this to the glovebox? Would it not have been more humane to simply let it be cast into the trash with the other detritus from the glovebox? Or better yet, would not the ultimate symbol be to be left in the glovebox to be sent along with the car that had been the atlas’ home for so long?

    The glovebox spent much of its time contemplating these questions anymore and yet never came to a cohesive answer to them. On one day, he would feel the bitterest of hatred for his life here and lament not being left to his devices in the old car; but on the next he would weep tears of joy at simply being given the chance to live another day and mayhap be useful eventually.

    There were certain days when the atlas could hear its replacement droning on in its mechanical voice, the atlas assumed this was when the slim-fingered woman drove the car; the atlas guessed her hearing must be hard by now. At first the atlas begrudged the GPS, some fancy electronic doodad that did all the brain work for you, beloved so much for its mechanical voice that honked out the directions for all to hear. As time went on however, the atlas began to feel a strange connection to the GPS, for surely it too would end up like the atlas one day; cast aside and replaced by the next jump in technology, then it would sit under a veritable ton of refuse and grow to wax philosophical about its replacement.

    There was a time however when the atlas, perhaps as a consequence of its loneliness, did began to feel sparks of hope; be these real or some act of desperation forged by a dying will is as of yet unknown. The atlas was sure that one day its time would come again; when the GPS’ mechanical voice finally grew silent, or when the satellites that made its digital maps plummeted from the sky like fallen angels, or just when the slim-fingered woman or rough-handed man wanted to get beyond all the technology and just use a physical map. These flights of fancy and hope kept the atlas going for a long time, but when the last sparks finally faded the atlas fell to its lowest. It wallowed in depression and wailed against the bars of its cages in anguish, praying that some divine force would just take mercy and throw it in the trash or burn it or crush it into a tight cube with the rest of the car.

    Now however the atlas has grown beyond that phase. In its old life, it now waits in the manner of most old things; it no longer wails and wallows, or lies in hope, or dreams philosophically. It simply waits under its pile of trash with a stolid acceptance, for there could be worse things in life. One day maybe it would be an antique or a collector’s item, its age surely would be impressive to some; or mayhap it would show some small town or road or monument that didn’t exist in modern maps. Some ancient artifact that was only preserved in the annals of history in this faded old atlas, passed out during a car sale that time has forgotten.

    It is with that stolid acceptance that the atlas sits today. Listening with half an ear as that once bird-like child explains to their slim-fingered mother how their phone of all things can be used to navigate now and that clunky old GPS can just be tossed in the glovebox now. It is with this stolid acceptance that the atlas finally feels a sense of contentment, for one day soon it may no longer be alone.
     
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