J.W.

I remember how proud he was
Of his little patch of garden
Red with tomatoes
And his old work boots
Planted with pansies
And I wonder if he watched a last sunset
Before he died
Alone on a bathroom floor with a knife and a needle
And I wonder if there was
Anything else I could have done
But I’ll never know now
And I hope someone else
Remembers him for more than his mistakes
Because that isn’t all he was

death

at some point in all of our lives
we come to the stark realization
we’re all gonna die
maybe today or tomorrow or in 6o years
but we’re all gonna die
probably the most terrifying epiphany of our lives
and it’s shared by everyone on the planet
it’s a shame we’re so hell bent
to help each other reach our final demise
instead of living every second
with the purpose of
i don’t know
doing something decent in this fucked up mess of a world

1,000 lives

i’ve lived a 1,000 lives
on a 100 worlds
in a dozen eras

i’ve loved one man
amongst those 1,000 lives
we met and flared as comets in the midnight sky
lovers destined to steal each others souls
sometimes we passed by each other
firebrands flinging sparks but not touching

i’ve died a 1,000 times
sometimes in his arms
sometimes at his hands

but i never lived except for when i loved

Fears

Lopa’s eerie eyes stare at me, trying to decipher my soul I guess. “Sheal, haven’t you ever been scared of the things that howl in the night?”

I smile, amused and a little drunk as well, “I am the thing that howls in the night.”

“Then have you ever been scared of yourself?”

The problem with whiskey is that it makes me an honest woman, and that’s a dangerous thing to be when you’re a mercenary, “Scared of myself? Since the day I was born.”

Lopa’s eyes have an unearthly shine to them, like something that is human but not altogether sane. They fascinate me a bit, but then the girl seer fascinates me as a whole. She smiles a little, a sad smile, “It’s a terrible thing I think, to be afraid of yourself, of your own mind.”

I shrug negligently, “There are worse things in the world to be scared of.”

I see her face tighten a little. “Name one Sheal, name one thing that scares you more than your mind.”

I watch her, the eerie girl hold that reads souls and wonder how deep she can see. There’s one thing I fear more than myself, but I’ll not be sharing that fear with anyone. So I grin instead and laugh it off, “A valid point Seer. But maybe I’ve yet to find something I fear more. It’s a wide world after all.”

“Perhaps that is the truth Sheal. I doubt it, but perhaps I’m wrong. I know what it is to be afraid of your own mind. Afraid of what it tells you to do, what it makes you see.”

“And what have you seen Seer?”

“You will bring the Elders to their knees and the Ohadi will scatter to the sands. And you will die.”

I laugh, “Good to know Seer, good to know.” I duck out of her little tent and into the night beyond. The wind is whisking sand from the dunes, the air hazes a little with the dust. I laugh again, death I can handle, after all we must all die sometime.

Ghosts of the Past

The history of the world is full of unspoken lives: people who lived and died and accomplished, only to be forgotten. These people have no accolades and no tributes because no one cared to remember. It is a depressing fact of life that only a handful of people are remembered through the ages. The rest of the dead sleep on as a memory in the minds of few, if any, people.
Working in the back country of Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, I get to see rough country. The thing that amazes me about the Frank Church is that a person can ride for days into the heart of the 2 million plus acres of wilderness, and find proof that people lived. There are trails that have long been forgotten, and are mere snakes of dirt etched into a mountainside, but you know somebody traveled that path for years. Many times, I have found cabins, ravaged by time, hidden in some draw or buried under brush along a creek that no longer runs.
When I see these things, I wonder who made the rocky trails with dynamite and tools, who built the cabins with sweat and blood. Most of all, what I wonder is who they were and what happened to them? Records of people who lived in the Frank Church exist; those records do not include everyone.
There are people that lived and died, and the only proof left of their existence is a gravestone or a trail vanishing with time. Occasionally, you are blessed to meet some old-timer who still remembers those that are gone. They will tell of the friends they knew and how they did not come to town for their supplies one summer. Within the broad mountains, they simply vanished. Theirs are the faces that we picture in our minds but never truly see. They are the ghosts of the past.
We will never know their names, their whole stories, or how they lived and died. We will draw our own conclusions and a part of us will be partially satisfied. The other part will hunger for the knowledge of those that traveled before us. The ghosts that forged the trails we now walk will haunt us. I am glad they will do so; in that small way they are honored for their achievements.

JOW: Blood and Treachery

Sheal blinked heavily against the weight of death’s call. Silver flashed from Nessa’s arrow tips as she spun her mount to rejoin their small party. She felt hands on either side of her, and a horse between her legs. Rellik’s voice came in faintly from the thunder in her skull, but she couldn’t bring herself to understand what he said. Her body swayed with each stride of the horse beneath her.  Her mind, long since lost to oblivion, wandered pathways of delusion where shooting stars streaked midnight skies and moons exploded leaving nothing but darkness. She shook her head struggling against something, but not sure of what. The effort forced rasping coughs from her battered body. Blood appeared on the saddle leather in front of her, staining the horse anew. Her fog-covered eyes did not see the grim faces surrounding her. She mumbled on through the night’s journey, the wild ramblings of a troubled soul. Her family of death rode beside her, sunk in their claws and pulled her away from the peace that shined from around the next corner. Why couldn’t they let her go? Dimly she realized movement had ceased. Hands eased her to the soft sand. She heard voices and smelled herbs and ointments and curses, but no sound emerged from her bloodstained lips.

Velvet darkness shattered into awareness. Limbs fought against other limbs and flesh met flesh followed by curses. Her eyes blinked opened sluggishly as if from long disuse. Memory followed and the rage came with it, but she tempered the rage that could kill her and tried to clear the fog from her brain. Her bandages were not bloody and her body, while sore, didn’t throb with open wounds and broken bones. She had been here some time and looking into the faces of the others around her, she saw relief because they hadn’t thought she would make it. She pushed herself up stiffly, and swung her legs over the bed’s edge to the sandy floor below.

Treachery would be repaid with death. They had hired her for a job and attempted to kill her after its completion. It was a mistake the Eniam should not have made.

Eternity

I saw a boy die before he was a man in his own eyes never got a chance to travel that lost highway of dreams – others looked away shocked by the brutality of life – I could not could not tear my eyes away from the cycle of life & death – 8 seconds is forever or the end – hung up suspended in the fury of deathly time 2,000lbs of raging beast 160 lbs of fragile blood & bone guess who won – cast ur stones & read ur bones tuck ur tail & run or stare death in the eye – if you blink first you won’t live to regret it – he didn’t – on that reassuring arena floor of mud & blood & tears – he didn’t live to regret the fact that he would not receive the trophy buckle he had just won.