Fig Leaf

Standard

Judge me by my cover,

trust me on this,

I am an open book.

In the interest of transparency,

I have laid it all bare,

can you tell?

Look no further,

I can explain that away,

it’s really just a huge

misunderstanding.

It’s all perfectly normal,

perfectly normal.

I don’t want you to strain

your eyes on something

so mundane.

Some things just aren’t meant

to see

the light of day;

the curiosity

kills me

every time.

But not this thing,

which is completely ordinary

and totally fine.

Can you tell?


Bioluminescence

Standard

Signs of life

glint in the corners of

my eyes.

Only giants sleep at ease

in the inky depths,

but there’s always something bigger,

hungrier

on the lookout.

I stare into the abyss,

and realize,

I’m falling right into it’s

dilated pupil.

Hold your breath,

and try to withstand

the pressure.

Packs of spineless marauders

jet through the void

with prying eyes and dazzling light.

They’re gone in a flash,

and if you’re unlucky,

so are you.

Specters wait patiently,

their torch held

right above a mouthful

of crossed rapiers.

Some take a different approach,

gliding through pitch black,

cancelling out their shadows,

sniffing out anyone else

trying to be inconspicuous.

Beware of bright beacons

there isn’t always

someone you’d like to meet

on the other side.


Decay

Standard

The picked flower dies,

but not all at once,

it must first live

with what you’ve done.

It will spend some time travelling,

wrapped in plastic sheath,

until dropped into a beautiful vase,

filled with stagnant water.

And it will hang on,

hang on for dear life,

it will take in what it can,

it will persist.

Home is where

you are

and the rain isn’t.

Yet even with the niceties of climate-control,

the roots have nowhere to go,

in this final resting place.

Leaves shrivel and brown,

like they’ve been fried.

The stalk curls,

turning brittle and bald

in time.

Petals fall,

one by one

and crumble to dust.

Another day of atrophy.

Time heals all,

as it lapses,

until you too collapse.

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Soft Power

Standard

We have you right where we want you:

enveloped.

You will wake up

next morning,

kiss your spouse goodbye,

and go to work;

swearing our long arm

cannot reach you

and your perfect little life.

But there is no escape.

You will use our slang

to make plans with your friends.

You will watch our movies,

and laugh at all of our jokes.

You will do as we do,

and we will welcome you

with open arms,

as if you had a choice.

The outstretched hand

is much harder to dodge,

than the clenched fist,

because it’s intentions are

ambiguous.

This is not a hostile takeover,

we come in peace,

in the name of prosperity

with new wine in lightly used skins,

and the finest pyrite jewelry

money can buy.

Things are often true and false

at the same time,

tell me now,

would you dare call us your “foe?”

After all we’ve done for you?


Event Horizon

Standard

I feel it,

I feel it

as I play this game of chicken

inching up

to the point of no return.

I’m pulled closer and closer

yet the gravity of the situation

never quite dawns on me.

My vertebrae, adaptable and flexible

to a point,

find rest

tracing the shape of the pilot’s seat.

I’ve sat for too long,

and need to stretch my legs.

I’ve come all this way,

and, out of nowhere

I’ve crossed the threshold and

I’m in too deep.

Before anyone I’d ever heard of

was born,

a far-off star collapsed dead

and left a void of

crushing fury,

the wrath of a blind idiot God.

For the crime of intrusion

on His private domain,

I will be welcomed in

for eternity.

And I will be pulled even further

beyond my limits.

I’m just a wayward thread

yanked from its seam,

falling into

the great abyss

I feel it,

I feel it.

Dandelion

Standard

Go on,

get it over with.

I dare you to kick me over,

I will turn the other cheek.

Just try to mow me down

you won’t get my roots out.

Oh, what’s that?

You brought the herbicide today,

oh, green-thumbed one?

I hope you don’t miss

a single one of us

once.

Even if you can manage

to banish all of us,

our cousins will pop back over

from the neighbor’s yard.

No matter what happens,

we have the utmost faith

that we’ll be back.

In the face of degradation,

we live on

by way of what we scatter,

by what we leave behind.

May our hope,

sail on warm zephyrs

and forever outrun

your worst machinations.


The Elephant’s Foot

Standard

The last vestige

of catastrophe

is the open wound

which refuses to heal.

Meltdown in slow motion,

it cannot be allowed

room to breathe.

Domes of rebar,

abandoned forest,

crumbling infrastructure,

and red tape

keeps only the corium

contained.

We all feel

the open secret lingering

in the air,

falling all around us

like snow.

The truth is so plainspoken,

so brash as it stares you in the face

yet no one can do a thing

but trudge on with their lives.

If you dig too deep

and get to the bottom,

you will only find

what you knew was true all along.

An immovable object,

giving off irresistible forces,

leaves its indelible marks

in silence.


RE:visions

Standard

I hope to have some clue soon,

as you do,

as to who it is

I’m looking at

at this moment.

Apparition, I

can’t be sure if

you or I

are all there.

I know what I’ve seen,

meaning I know nothing

for certain.

I wish not to foment doubts,

but when are we not fibbing

to ourselves about something.

Gone in an instant.

Hollow

as the promises I

made to myself.

Walk right through the walls

I’ve built,

made of finely chiseled,

yet false,

precepts.

Am I here for a good reason?

Or was there something

I just couldn’t accept?


Equilibrium

Standard

These two left feet of mine,

they get me places.

Neither in grace nor style,

but I end up wherever I must,

mostly on time.

I’m well-aware

of how I happen to be

positioned,

I feel each fluctuation.

With the gyroscopes in

my ears, I remain

level-headed

no matter how I crane

my neck.

Featherless biped,

I pole vault with each pace,

leap and bound;

not enough drag to stop me,

not enough lift to send me

soaring.

Maybe,

if I push a little harder,

I’ll get somewhere.


Hydra

Standard

Thick, tainted blood coursing

through black veins,

legs like two talon-tipped tree trunks

drag a confused creature

through the muck.

Breath of pure, unadulterated pestilence,

the smell alone keeps all

but the most intrepid

far away.

It picks the bones and chain mail

from seven sets of sated, grinning teeth.

There are many mouths to feed,

and all of them like to savor

each morsel.

A gnarled, writhing rat’s nest,

growing back stronger and fuller

in defiance of defeat.

An inexhaustible capacity

for contingency

plans.

Seven falls to six,

poison blood mist sprays

from mangled stump,

then two more heads

come roaring back —

a flesh-wound quickly repaired.

Much worse than a strong enemy,

is one that’s well-prepared.