Lakeside Fire

The fire, piled high with driftwood torn from docks in a recent tornado, sent up tendrils to lick the sky. Sparks and bright orange curls of wood dusted the clouds which covered the sky in dull overcast sheet, stealing away all the stars, any hint of moon tucked away until the only lights are those that shine across the water, green lights at the end of docks, yellow squares of windows, and our fire, crackling  and roaring in the silence, bravely and proudly rearing against the blank vault of the sky. I sat before it, feet and hands glittering where they were smudged with mica filled sand, glimmering scales on my palm like a fish. The heat of the fire was intense, forcing us to sit back from it in a wide half circle. It was a witching type of night. We had drawn mystic patterns in the sand by light of the setting sun. In the dark we told stories, weaving our own magic in the gloom and the sparks, our faces bathed in shadows and flames.

As the fire burnt low, so did we, our stories became grim and intricate. I believe we all felt remorse when we put out the fire, sizzling and roaring in its death throes, send up billows of gray smoke. We walked back up to the house, glittering sand trailing from our feet.

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The Tiger

I dreamt a dream of a tiger

In musty darkness of a circus tent

Light filtering thorough small holes

Like stars in a maroon night

And glowing dark red gold

Where fabric grew thin.

I smelled the tiger before

I saw her, heavy scent

Of fur and dung, stinging

Of adrenaline and fear a

Hot musty flame.

Yes, I could sense a burning,

Beating flames, burning

In the stomach, gleaming

Embers in the eyes.

Yes, I could see the eyes

Flashing flames in the dark

Filled with deadly fear.

Drawn inexplicably, I moved

Closer. On the edge of hearing,

A large padded foot fall, silent

As a heart beat.

I saw brindled fur, catching

Light in dust motes, orange on black

Flames in the night.

She never showed me

her whole length

Tantalizing flashes

Flicking tail.

We approached each other,

Staring as each confronted

a nightmare.

Finally, I stood before her

I reached out to touch

Her rippling brindled fur

And bruised my fingers on glass.

For I stood before a mirror.

Waking up to Snow

Knocking on your door,

We raised you from your slumber,

Tore you from soft dreams of summer,

To embrace the icy wind.

Dark and warm as a womb,

Your room was bathed in gloom

But we opened windows wide

And let in a cold, cold bright

To slant across your face.

We tore your sheets from your bed,

Your pillows from under your head

You crinkled your eyes,

Your face blooming new lines

You curled round, like a cat

Back arched.

We pulled you grumbling to the window

Your eyes sparkled in the light of snow

Your skin grew taut

And rippled with cold

The light hurt you

But you wanted to see.

Walk Along With Me (Two Ropes)

Oh my Oh my,

Wash your blood from my hands.

Take the night off, lover

Return in spring.

I don’t want to touch you now

Cuz I can’t feel a thing.

Right is wrong, without a doubt

I’m buried deep and don’t wanna climb out.

What is wrong with me?

That I can’t catch fire.

Tinder is wet, lay it out in the sun

How did I come

To this?

I’m a child

Kicking tantrums to the stars.

Oh Father, why?

I’m not a poet,

I write to waste time

Until I die.

I was not made for loving

Beauty is only skin deep

But peel that away and we’ll just bleed out.

Take me to a place where dead men speak

hear my Father’s words

Walk along with me.

They tied two ropes,

One for you, one for me

Slung them over

Your Mother’s apple tree

Walking down Old Oak Road

I heard angels cry

Walk along with me

Walking down Dead End Road

I heard devils sigh

Walk along with me

They tied two ropes,

One for you, one for me

Slung them over

Your Mother’s apple tree

Coyotes howl on the wind tonight

The moon shivers like an old dead wight

Don’t light a fire I

Want to see the stars

October sits with his head in his hands

Noble king of a dying land

I’d sell my soul

so summer won’t end

But who would want it anyway?

I’ll fall asleep to lullabies of crows

Never to wake until the devil shows

Your tears flow from the river to the sea

You cry out loud

‘Why won’t they let us be?’

They tied two ropes

One for you, one for me

It’s a long road home

So walk along with me

Breathing Flames

Something is calling me, a wolf howl, a drum beat , the scent of smoke on the wind. At night, spinning and spitting flames, we are more than what we are.

Ring around the moon, bright in my eye, thin wailing howl coming from my throat, ripped from there by the rushing wind scattering sparks around us.

A deep breath, hesitation. Pressing the bottle to my lips, mouth filling with the slick warmth of lamp oil. Not too much. Don’t swallow, don’t spit. Hold it in your mouth, like a pouch, a water jug. Don’t spit, wait for the torch.

I wonder if the dragon was scared the first time he breathed fire.

The air is tight in my lungs, ready to burst forth, wanting to push the liquid from my mouth. Hold the torch up, not too close.

Then release.

Fire blooms before my face, searing my lips with heat, roaring in the dark. Just as quickly it fades away, leaving me to wipe oil from my chin and spit out the last of it from my mouth. I will taste it all night, not just the lingering oil but the flames as well, flickering in my dreams until it startles me awake with the acrid scent of smoke in the dark.

Something is calling me, a wolf howl, a drum beat , the scent of smoke on the wind. At night, spinning and spitting flames, we are more than what we are.

Ring around the moon, bright in my eye, thin wailing howl coming from my throat, ripped from there by the rushing wind scattering sparks around us.