Friday, September 19, 2014

Cracking case

My case is cracking
    and I am scared
        to be seen without filter
            and unprepared
For the arousal of doubt
     and certainty of tears
        It's safer here
             with glass and mirrors
Where my affairs are settled
     and image spared
        from the burning fear of love
              and its searing stare. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lonely coffee

What is it exactly that keeps me down --
full of friends but lacking ends
for all my work and talent have wrought
nothing more than empty spots
and coffee alone
in a crowded room
of self.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wait by the phone

Another day. One more year.
This week has passed.
Not long to last.
I'll do it soon -- just after class,
like I said I would
that other time,
before I got that job of mine.
It's great, really,
I'm making dough,
though I forgot that place I'm supposed to go.
Oh yes, she...
Well, I haven't time.
But I cannot get her off my mind.
Maybe tomorrow I'll try again.
Or not...
I can wait.
I'm awful young, for goodness sake.
I got a career to make
and places to go --
and I don't want to be tied up, you know?
Besides, single and free is where I want to be --
bound to no one,
answerable to God and me.
Though Friday night I feel awful alone,
sitting by my phone,
hoping someone will call.
Or maybe it's my ball to pass,
it's a pain in the ass
to not do the things to know you should,
especially when you know you could.

Friday, October 2, 2009

To explode

Is it just a buzz that gets me by?
Drowning fears, cares, worries and qualms
in cups of joe?
But at night, when jittery drugs fade,
shadows hid arise in force,
choking joy and mimicking hope.
I'm crying to God to let me know
just a few more steps along my road.
The tension, strain and stress is too much.
To dwell on it long takes my song;
the dance I jive to get me by;
to lead, to read and hold the tide. explode! To let it flow free!
To curse caffeine and its sugary dream;
to speak in truth, no subtlety or lie;
to hold a hand, caress a cheek.
My God, my God,
please let me free.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Man's Past

The man whose greatest fear was not knowing his place
just looked at his past to get a taste
of all the things that got him on,
got him off and got him wrong.
And he sees from the poems, the stories, the songs,
how far he's come and where he's gone;
his leering hopes — oh how they've fall'n
“How will I read this poem,” his thinking starts on,
“when today is swept, and new days dawn?
Of wisdom, or folly will the words seem drawn?”
His past is made of naive worries,
dreams that hurry through and along life's oddest flurries
that give living its truest life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hike

East over Oregon's rugged Cascade Mountains, down into a dry land as much brown as green, through the windy gorge of the great Columbia, and finally into the hills of the Wallowas. Here, at a wooden footbridge over a shallow, winding and frigged river they call the Lostine we begin our hike.

Four miles lay before us. Not a long hike; about three and half hours if we keep good pace. But every mile will be well fought for. The trail is steep and wild; only half-tamed by works of man. A short, easy hike to a rocky crossing of the river sets our pace. Across it, a field of tall grass and bright flowers awaits. We cautiously cross the river, with more than one of us soaking our feet as we slip on the slick rocks.

Onto the real trail we then begin. It is steeper now; thinner. The forest encloses us, and occasional sharp, rocky drops on our right warn us of misstepping. We come to the first switchback, a place where the trail turns around and sharply inclines, taking us above ground previously covered. There will be eight of these before the top. A short rest, a sip of water, and then we continue.

Legs weary; breathing becomes a fight. Jagged, salt and pepper speckled granite pebbles crush methodically underneath our boot-laden feet, orchestrating the unconscious rhythm to which we hike. Larger, less weathered stones often jut from the trail, only aggravating our already burning thighs. A hike more like a rock climb, we often think.

But then, out of the shadows of hallways of pine suddenly blossoms a field of luscious green. The violets, reds and deep blues of various flowers stand scattered about the refreshing meadow, laid out in a pattern known only to their maker. Soft dirt replaces hard stone beneath our feet. Cackling chirps of untamed birds sound out from above. We're still far from through, but softer scenery gives us some reprieve.

We reach the final switchback an hour later. But victory seems small against the path ahead. Now, the path inclines sharper than it ever has before. The trail becomes like a trench at some points; a rocky creek at others. We are led through lively, colorful fields at the foot of powerful rocky mountains. Birds sing and fly above us. But we hardly notice. The trail fools us with crests that seem to mark the end, but once reached only reveal even more obstacles ahead.

Another ridge is reached. But then a bend. And suddenly, unexpectedly, a valley lays before us. A splash of blue lays on its far side. A lake; our destination. Steep cliffs of white stone rise threateningly around the isolated pool, as if guarding its serenity. A sudden decline in the trail raises our spirits and reinvigorates our legs. A thin dirt trail leads us down through fields of green and along, over and beside thin, rapid streams.

The blue looks more green now as the lake draws near. A rocky outcrop must be traversed before we can reach the lake's shore. Coming over the rocks, we arrive at a trail leading around the lake. Thin, reddish-brown forms dart in the water below—brook trout as far as we can tell.

A patch of grass flanked by a vast field of tall, stacked stone on one side and a crop of pines on the other, is where we finally sit down to rest. Plump, honey-striped bees hop from blossom to blossom around our feet. Large horse flies buzz annoyingly around our heads; mosquitoes stab lustily into our flesh. The tangy aroma of bug spray soon taints the sweet mountain air. A cool breeze ripples the opal lake, gently shifts through the trees, and tingles our skin as it wraps around our weary bodies. A subtle “plop” disturbs the calm, yet seems not out of place. We glance at the sound's origin, seeing only a pulsating ring of water. Another near it, this time preceded by a flash of silver, confirms our hopes: the fish are hungry.

As we fish, eat and rest bare-footed upon large stones, gray clouds emerge over the steep rocks around us. Light rain dampens the land, but we do not seek cover. The air is cool, but that's just fine. The fish are biting, and our cares couldn't be farther.


This is a short story based on the online roleplaying game Everquest II

Peace has alluded me since I first landed on Kunark's rough shores. Even the ship ride from Antonica's docks to the continent was enough to jolt me awake every few minutes. The water is thicker, angrier around Kunark. Redder. Perhaps the land was spared the worst of the Cataclysms all those years ago, but it has been rent in other ways.

I had barely set foot on shore when I was petitioned by agents of Teren's Grasp – the remnant of what was once the illustrious High Elf colony of Firiona Vie. The populace, though resilient, quivers in fear; trapped between two powerful and ruthless empires. Soft-skin is endangered in Kunark, so the outpost has eagerly welcomed and employed the northerners who have been frequenting its docks as of late. Most certainly they have been too welcoming. There is more to allegiance than skin. I would know...

It did not take me long to learn the law of the land. It did not take me long to learn that in Kunark ideals have a way of being discreetly swept away for convenience's sake. In the moist, eerie jungle of Kunzar; in the rugged, spider-ridden plains of Kylong, innocence is not given haven. One does not leave Kunark without enemies. One does not leave without killing.

Still, Kunark has its appeals – especially for one such as I, tossed between so many worlds as I am. In the land of the lizards, old world fidelities are trivial. The Iksar, the Sarnak, even the Teren care little for the politics of the Shattered Lands. In the ruins of those ancient empires there is no Qeynosian; there is no Freeportian. Not even I, a Tier`Dal, am given a second glance. Not even in the City of Qeynos, to which I have sworn absolute loyalty, am I allotted such indifference.

But politics there are in Kunark, and I learned to the play their intricacies with the cunning for which my race is known. My Dark Elf heritage is not entirely lost to Marr. I found that the Sathirian Empire, though vast and commanding, is not without its dissenters. Indeed, many of its commoners speak of the capitol of Sebilis with disdain. Much like any peasant who is exploited by his protectors, these villagers' loyalty is circumstantial at best. And there is something else: Among the dizzying array of factions in Kunark, I found a people who call on Marr. They call themselves the Reet, and many are held captive by the soulless slave merchants of the empire. They are a clan of primitive frogloks of which I have not seen in all of Norrath. Indeed, I had only read about such a species in the tomes of the Concordium.

Oppression. Slavery of Mithaniel Marr's children. In the murky mist and gray lines of Kunark, there, against those injustices, perhaps I could take my stand and find my purpose in this wanton land. Maybe, with all the innocence lost in my unscrupulous dealings in Kunark, I can find redemption fighting for the cause of the frogloks and for the oppressed peoples on the fringes of the Sathirian Empire.

Maybe ideals can be found in Kunark. But perhaps they must take a back door.