Saturday, January 26, 2013

Moonlight Sonata

If there was a song that came close to the mood of this poem, I think it would be Comforting Sounds, by Birdy. 

Update: Also Lullaby, by Sia, You Are the Moon, by the Hush Sound, and let's not forget the title version, though that doesn't really match the mood.

The moon, the moon,
The ruminous moon.
Sometimes rising,
Sometimes dying,
Always radiant just beyond
A veil of wild air.

The moon settled a layer
Of quiet peace on the dun hills,
Made silver the night.
There was a soft weariness
That came of a day well spent,
The night come belatedly,
On straggled trees, creeks bent.
The centuries came, passed,
And never did all the ruins
Man saw made, nor the earth blasted,
Change the face of the moon.
She turned her face to the sky,
Seemed to kiss with lips softly
The loveliness of the moon,
Breathe with bated lungs
The patience of the night.
The quiet and the dark
Seemed to be murmuring of all
Things passed, and yet to come;
Longing with her whole soul
For unknown miracles that lurked
In the cool midwinter sky,
Pale arms flung wide, shining,
She waited…

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Late-Night Soliloquy

Caught by the drowsy fervor
Of a late night soliloquy
I muttered
Strange utterances;
Half sang, half-cried
Prose softened with sleep,
Imbued with the quicksilver passion
Of dreams.
Inspiration brushed me,
A white song of the moon,
Myself, softly crying,
The song, softly dying,
I spoke of my dreams.
Caressed by the cool light
Of the moon,
Which is not blue, nor white, nor gray,
but some spectral shade
That dissipates at day,
I waited, and wept
For the words to come,
like breath…

Monday, January 7, 2013


The world is bitter
skinned raw
with frost,
grass leaves bent
with weight
of ice,
Trees shivering,
numb in wintry gusts.
High on Picacho Peak,
a disc
of burning radiance
Rises high,
Breaks forth into the sky.
A swelling,
a rising,
of heat,
of light,
of life.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Killing Me Softly

            She kissed him softly with dry, smooth lips. It was passionless, but he closed his eyes in delight. Her hand came to rest against his exposed throat, and he sighed. Then there was a quick movement of pale fingers, an earsplitting crack, and his head flew off his shoulders and rolled to a rest on the floor. The eyes on the detached face swiveled to watch her with bewildered horror. His mouth opened and closed, trying to speak. Then the light went out of his eyes, and they closed.
She was already walking away. Her hand hung at her side, white and bloodless. In that half instant of time, her hand had been too quick to be stained. Just before she reached the door, she hesitated. Half-in, half-out, her face was of one struggling with a terrible decision. Finally, she spoke. “He couldn’t possibly have loved me.” Her voice was barely above a whisper, yet it carried through the room like a clear wave. Then she leapt from the threshold, blurring down the driveway and into the darkening woods. Behind her, an echo lingered.
            On the third day of her journey, she stopped to eat and rest. Loping silently from behind a towering redwood, she surprised a rabbit and crushed its neck with a quick squeeze. Cooked over a small fire, it was bland but nourishing. She ate quickly and ravenously. Full, grease staining the corners of her mouth, she stared into the crackling flames. His face came into her mind. She sighed. It was inevitable. His name was John, she knew that at least. What had he been? An engineer, a software marketer? Something to do with computers. It didn’t matter. No one would check on him for days. A perfectly ordinary man, living a dull, ordinary life. His only bad luck had been in meeting her.
            It had not been by accident. She didn’t know what he had done to deserve her. A disgruntled spouse, perhaps, with connections higher up. The meeting had been in a crowd, as it always was. She bumped into him, grabbed his chin. Took off her sunglasses. One glimpse of her eyes was enough. He followed her blindly after that, into the nightclub, then to his bed. After a week of meetings in restaurants and clubs, of nightly trysts hushed and fumbling for each other, he would follow her anywhere. Do anything she asked. He handed her the keys to his life without question. The others, she knew, would have run if they knew who she was, would have screamed if they knew what she was capable of. They had that much sense, at least. But she wondered about this one. She wondered if he knew what was going to happen, he would have let her kiss him anyway, and accepted his death with grace.
            The others rose before her then, ghosts forming in the wraithlike smoke. They stared at her with reproaching eyes. Condemning her. John was at the fore, and his eyes were not damning. They were melancholy, regretful. He looked at her, and spoke. “It could have been different.” She watched the flames flicker and dance. Beautiful, ephemeral, they seemed part of an unending rhythm. But the patterns lied. They were not immortal. Flames consumed the wood they lived on, and when the charcoal died to ash so would the fire. Their beauty and brilliance would fade into the void. She watched the flames, and her eyes did not betray the turmoil within them. Her features were stone, cold and unyielding, and averred none of the thousand terrible discussions she was holding with the devils and angels lining her shoulders. Would she barter away her soul, or save it at the price of her life? She stood on the precipice of her decision, hunched and immobile, as night approached and the fire died.
            She wondered if it was brave or foolish that she had decided to jump. There was such a thin line between the two. She hitched her bag higher over her shoulder and walked into the office building, her face grim and wary. It was a dull, ordinary building, constructed of yellowing concrete, the windows dark. It was the kind most wouldn’t take a second glance at. A thousand rats scurried by it every day, each caught in their own maze, knowing only their own troubles, seeing only their destination. No one took an interest in the building. It was a good thing. It saved them from a brutal and obscure death.
            The door swung noiselessly shut behind her. She strode forward in darkness until the lights came on with a click. They revealed a plain white corridor, lined with uniform, unnumbered gray doors. She chose one at random and entered quietly. Raucous, noisy work went on uninterrupted around her. Workers in white uniforms and kid gloves worked bent over a conveyer belt. Passing before them in mechanical spurts were scarlet, pulsing human hearts. They were adjusting wires snaking like veins from the hearts, shouting instructions to each other as they labored. In the far corners of the room, machinery creaked and buzzed. She would never know what went on in these rooms, and she didn’t want to know. The office was what she came for, and she walked briskly towards it now, watching the commotion in her peripheral vision.
            She shut the door with a sigh and sat down at the familiar desk. Across from her was a neatly shaven man in a business suit—her employer, Raoul. He looked up from the papers he was reading and smiled at her. The grin was almost disarming in its geniality, but his eyes remained icy and remote. “Welcome back. You were successful in your mission, I assume?”
            “Of course.” She said, and hesitated. She had never been curious about any of her targets. Her purpose had simply been to lure them in and destroy them. But a question nagged at the back of her mind, like an itch she couldn’t reach. “What, exactly, was his crime?”
            Raoul threw her a sharp glance. This was the first time she had asked a question about a target. It was unusual behavior. Not quite suspicious, but unusual. He decided to humor her. She had followed orders, after all. The surveillance he had on her made him quite sure of that. “He was the only remaining heir of a software company one of our close associates wished to assimilate. He probably wouldn’t have taken the post, but the associate decided he was better safe than sorry.”
            So the only criminal thing about him was his bloodline. She nodded. It was what she had expected. John had never seemed the kind of person to actively provoke trouble. So all the questions were answered, but there remained something for her to do.
            “…we thought it would be an easy assignment for someone of your abilities. What-”
            She interrupted him. “I want to resign.”
            Raoul gazed at her, incredulous. “Excuse me?”
            “You heard me. I want to resign.”
            “What’s the reason behind this? Do you want more pay? We can supply it.”
            “No. I don’t want money. I want to be able to sleep at night, without the voices of the men I’ve killed pointlessly tormenting my dreams. When I first arrived here, I believed in our cause.” She paused, and her voice turned bitter. “I believed in you… I thought we were working for something greater. Now, I realize our organization has become a corporation, motivated by nothing more than profit. This has gone on long enough. I want out.”
            Raoul looks disappointed, but not surprised. “I should have known this would happen. Ever since you let Smith go…”
            He let his voice trail off. She slid a sheet of paper across the desk. “Here are my resignation papers.” She looked into his eyes, and saw how they seemed to shut off. A curtain slid across the depths of his irises, closing them, and she got the sense he was no longer listening.
            She scraped out the chair, stood up, retreated warily to the door. Before opening it, she turned for a last look at the man sitting across the desk. He watched her with eyes as hard and cold as marbles. She nodded slowly, as if deciding something, and left. In the same moment, the man pulled out a gun and shot her in the back.
            She had heard the rasp as he pulled the gun from the holster, a moment before he fired. She turned swiftly, but not fast enough to prevent the bullet from hitting her shoulder with an earsplitting crack. Against her training, she gasped. The huge jolt of pressure had shaken everything else out of her head for a moment. Then she saw the man taking aim for another shot, and her training took over. She lunged for him.

           They went down in a tangle of arms and legs. Her shin hit the desk, and a flare of white-hot pain traveled up her leg. She ignored it. Raoul was scrabbling at her scalp, gouging out chunks of hair. She ignored that too, and went for the gun. Once she had yanked it out of his hand, she loaded it with one hand and pointed it at Raoul. “Back off.” She ordered him quietly.
            Raoul raised his hands in the air and retreated slowly. He knew when he was beaten. She reached behind her with her left hand, trying to find the ventilation shaft. Just as her fingers touched cool metal, there was a crash at the door. Four hulking men, dressed in ordinary  sweats, stood at the threshold, the door swinging crazily off its hinges behind them. The man in the front had an Uzi over his shoulder. Without a moment of hesitation, he leveled it at her and started shooting.
            A spray of sparks danced on the wall; a tumult of noise thundered around her. A bullet grazed her cheek and left a line of fire in its wake. She kicked in the ventilation grate with her foot, crouched, and dived inside.
            She felt, rather than heard, the man with the Uzi striding towards the grate, still firing. There was a stretch of dark metal in front of her; then the tunnel dropped, leading to more of the ventilation system below. She slithered forward frantically, skinning her elbows, and went down the drop just as the man aimed his Uzi inside the grate.
            The shots of the machine gun echoed above her as she fell, growing gradually tinny and distant. It was utterly dark. She considered the dimensions of the building and the room, but she had no way of knowing how far the building extended underground. She could fall miles for all she knew. Just then, her back hit metal, a sucker punch. All the breath whooshed out of her lungs with an oof. As her ribs ached and her shoulder throbbed, she curled into a ball into the darkness. It was a few minutes until the pain, immediate and demanding, faded into a pulsing ache throughout her body. Stiffly, she squatted on her hindquarters, and winced as fresh pain shot through her shoulder. Cautiously, she felt the space around her. There were three vents leading in different directions in front of her. She chose the middle one and started crawling.
            It was an interminable time in the darkness, her shoulder twanging at intervals and fear welling in her heart like acid, before she saw the first faint tendrils of light. She was so relieved she might have wept. Growing in her had been the fear that she was heading in the wrong direction, deeper into the building or into another drop. The relief was not strong enough, however, to overcome caution. She slowed her crawl and squinted into the light to see what fate awaited her.
            Through the thin bars of a grate, she saw a stretch of damp concrete. Wrappers, soggy bits of paper, and beer cans adorned the surface. Beyond that-her heart leapt- the unmistakable bottom of a tree trunk. She advanced further until her face was flush with the grate, and peered to the sides, looking for people. The lot was empty of them. It appeared to be at the back of a building, a lone Ford parked at the far side and a pigeon pecked at a Snickers wrapper. She backed up, turned around, and kicked the grate out onto the concrete. Turning back around, she poked her head carefully through the jagged metal. Now she could look at the exterior of the building. There were several security cameras mounted on the wall, swiveling to watch the dismal lot with glassy black eyes. She waited until they had turned away from her, slithered painfully out of the vent, and ran for it.
            It wasn’t long before her abused body forced her to slow, and then stop. She was four or five blocks away from the building—not as far as she wanted, considering that they were probably searching for her. In the vent, she had bound her shoulder with her jacket in a makeshift tourniquet. Dimly, she noticed that it was soaked through with crimson. She was bleeding from crawling through the vent as well. I’m losing too much blood, she thought wearily. With the last reserves of her strength, she staggered to the nearest doorstep. There, she collapsed.
            When she woke, it was late in the morning. She lay in a clean bed, dressed in unfamiliar white pajamas. She felt the constriction of a bandage over her shoulder. The air smelled of antiseptic. A hospital.

            A soft breeze blew over her face, cooling it. She turned her head and saw a window, a vivid rectangle of blue sky visible through it. The wind came from there, and sunlight, falling warm and golden on her face, like hope. She closed her eyes and luxuriated in the sensation. They stayed shut for another minute and a half, as secrets and resolutions ran through her mind. Then they opened. And Lily Kershaw was born.


Wrote this for my mom's birthday, thought you guys might want a look.

The sky is mysterious
Somewhere between lavender
And gray,
Hinted with gold
And platinum clouds.

Evening is softly
The sky flares orange before the last
Bright ray.
The sky spreads cobalt
And turquoise above,
Still lit with the last faded light.

The dark comes tender
In the arches of the deep velvet sky, I soar
To new heights.
The night is warm,
The moon breathes grace,
And I step bare
Into its sultry embrace.


A poem I wrote when I was eleven or twelve.

Cliffs on either side
Backed against the hill
I can’t climb with stilts
Nowhere to go
But forward.

Heart hammering away
Lungs out of air
Nerves slowly being pulverized
Nothing to do
But fall.

Don’t want to see
Brave that brief shard of fear
That pierces my mind
But I have
To know.

Don’t want to breathe
The blueness of ice
Flooding my soul
But I will
To live. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When Angels Rest

Sunset is over.
The fiery passions of the inflamed sun are gone;
The pink and violet clouds, gone.
The faded remains of light rest,
Like a halo,
On the silhouetted hills.
A dreamy quality veils the sky.
The land itself is ephemeral.
Through the hills the highway pours,
Like a stream of molten gold.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Bright Night

I happen to like this one.

There is a silence, a profound stillness,
That one cannot find in the day;
The moonlight projects calmness,
In beatific white rays.
A car traverses the night,
And our empty ceiling is illuminated
By a striped spotlight.
Still, quiet, white is the night
A place where dreams pass drowsily
Through the forever light.

The Other Side

Hello there.
This is your other side speaking.
You know,
The quiet one,
The one that rarely comes out.
The one that hides behind the familiar mask,
The face that laughs with fair weather friends,
The mask that smiles and tells your mother
Everything’s fine.
When you sit alone
In quiet corners,
Your other side comes out
And you sigh.
When you lie passive and open
In a moonlit bed,
Your other side takes over your dreams.
Your other side is a thready breath,
A secret clasped close to your heart.
Your other side is an alternative truth.

The Visit

I weighed one hip down
With pi-pas,
Perched on my red bicycle
Chin down, eyes up.
I put one foot down on the right pedal,
Kicked another foot back on the left,
And pushed,
Sure and blurring
Up the Walden Street hill.
I bopped up and down
And I was soaring, soaring,
I strained out my chest
And I was flying, flying,
Going up the bumps and holes
With no pause,
Zinging down that court
Like I was stone shot from a sling,
Coming creaking to a rest
Under mossy green eaves.
Heart fluttering,
I lurked like a bird
In my father’s driveway.

On the Slopes

I wrote this a long time ago, when I was either eleven or twelve. Well, two years ago. Feels like a long time to me.

In the high mountains
With peaks like whipped cream
I swing from the lift
Skis dangling below me
Floating in another dimension.
Snow is sprinkled on drifts
And on my face
Still falling from the sky
The sky, white as the slopes beneath me.
Snow trickles from the trees
Soft waterfalls of milk
Wiping away the tracks of skis
Without a sound.
I watch the jagged black shapes below me
Zigzag their way down
Puffs of white erupting as they swerve
Ants scrambling across a blank page.


I feel middling happy about this poem, but I'm not sure of it's great, mediocre, or somewhere in between. Feel free to comment and tell me what you think.

Poets spend their days dreaming,
In idle bliss,
A drink in one hand,
A book in the other.
Some would say that we dream
Too much,
That we are lotus-eaters,
But I say we spread our pleasure
And our thoughts
To others who need them more.
Through poetry.
We do not say much,
And hide behind a shield of paper
When unwelcome strangers pass by and seek
the state of the weather.
But our innermost thoughts,
Our soul-musings
And secret exclamations,
Could astound the world.
Through poetry.
Contemplation is our name.
We seek to catch
and give to others,
the beauty of the world,
tricks of word,
wisdom unfolding.
We endeavor to capture forever
The quality of dawn
On a frosty lawn,
Or the tenderness of
A baby’s cheek, and love.
Our cares and trials
We mine for wisdom,
And make rags beautiful,
As was Cinderella’s dress.
It will not last.
All is over at midnight.
What we have,
What we have made,
Won’t last a week,
Nor even a day.
Through God’s eyes,
Lives are but sparks of praise
For Him,
Brief melodies, hymns.
We poets catch sparks despite time,
Despite age,
And nurture sparks into verdant fire.
We capture beauty
For the sheer joy of it,
The halcyon relief
To be found in dreams.

Taste in Music

I'm aware that my taste for music is a bit strange in that it's widely varied, from 1940 hits to heavy metal, mainstream pop to indie rock. My favorite song of all time, however, is Unusual You by Britney Spears. Goyte and Sia are tied for second. Here's a list of random songs I've found by chance or sidebar, and loved.

Solid Ground, by Maps and Atlases
Shattered Glass, by Britney Spears
Eyes Wide Open, by Goyte
I'm In Here, by Sia
If You Want to Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life, by Jimmy Soul
Without Me, by Jamia Nash
Without Me, by Eminem aka Slim Shady
Shut Your Mouth, by Pain
Comatose, by Skillet
Hey Ya, by Outkast
It Wasn't Me, by Shaggy
Try, by Pink
Love Me, by Justin Bieber (tacky, but I can't help sympathizing)
I'm Done, by the Pussycat Dolls
Make You Feel My Love, by Adele
Tigerlily, by La Roux
Maneater, by Nelly Furtado
Maneater, by Hall and Oates
Big Girls Don't Cry, by Fergie
Big Girls Don't Cry, by the Four Seasons
New York, by Alicia Keys
Hurt, by Christina Aguilera
Safe and Sound, by Taylor Swift ft. Whatever
Safe and Sound cover, by Jun Curry Ahn ft. Can't Remember
Sail, by Awolnation
Meet Virginia, by Train
A Team, by Ed Sheeran
Skinny Love cover, by Birdy
I Can't Make You Love Me cover, by Bonnie Raitt
Help, by the Beatles
Pumped Up Kicks, by Foster the People
I Look To You, by Kimbra ft. Miami Horror

Well...I could go on forever.

Journey by Night

I came up with this on the final day of vacationing in Reno. I was in bed, right on the verge of falling deeply asleep, when lines started coming into my head. Sounds more like a mental illness than a skill, huh? Anyway, I kept going over it in my head, until finally I had a poem. So I got out of bed and wrote it down, lest I forget. Here's the result.

Drive home alone
In the snow and the dark
Sleep, swirl with the sky
Watch the moon’s white mark.

Cradled by the rays
Of the quiet moon, calm night,
Travel slow, travel far
Be home by dawn’s first light.


Hey, haven't posted in a while. I'm now going to post a huge bunch of poems I think deserve to see the light.


If I was the wind
That ruffled your wings
Could I sing to your soul?
Could I pluck your heartstrings?

If I was the bird
That touched you in flight
Could I hold your attention?
Could I keep you in my sight?