Immaculate requital

From ruins of a ravaged soul,

Emerge embryo, ormolu.

Hatch the egg in razored scroll,

Make of hallows, a battue.

Illumine with mirrored glass,

Whispered chasms of the game.

Shadows of the gorgon’s mass,

Nude, by vestigial flame.


A singular epitaph

As minstrels’ songs, old daring tales,

Enshrined the deeds of the just,

There is a scribing, as sanguine nails,

Of malignance and forsworn trust.

Who think judgment is at an end,

With black withering of the wick;

When as yet cold candle burns,

With a bloom to score the sick.

Reams will ripen to a horde,

That stalk as a merciless wight.

Always there rests a record,

Of what is done in dark of night.

Caging coils

Shining strands, enmesh and weave,

A thrilling violence, cutting blinds.

Sure tempation, flee or cleave,

An error pure, trips errant minds.

Needs no flight what holds the wind,

Nor fins that sow the sea,

Like as cords that burning pinned,

Heart in grating rhapsody.

Whether threads split whole,

Or are as fierce bola caught,

Can be more tinsel than toll,

In gilded cage of thought.

The golden sarcophagus

Up from out the fathomed dark,

Cruelly subjugated and suborned;

Comes figure with dire writhing mark,

By the hand that gripped the thorn.

Malice from pricked blood inscribed,

What was reaved shall be repayed.

Mask and mark cannot be bribed.

In coffin gold, the briar laid.


Distance has no weight to bear,

The phantom chain is ever stern.

Stolen color, a piercing flare,

That pallid mask begins to burn.

Regilt. Crystallize the depths,

Better to, unflinching, see the blight.

Joyful that with shining steps,

Shadows only lengthen in the light.

The House Of Starless Sky: Chapter 2

previous chapter

Liot Ravel woke with a shudder. Nightmares were commonplace for him, but never had any dream held the vivid potency of that from which he had egressed. He ran a pale hand through unkempt hair and shook himself, as if the gesture could dispel slumber’s black imaginings. He stripped, showered, hastened into his clothes and out the door.

Without his creaking saltbox twostory, gloaming sky. A stygian stormwall approached that appeared as a titanic centipede, set to swallow the world. Bony boughs rattled and feathered regents spun from wooden thrones, cawing, as if roused by the breath of the great spectre above. Ravel, disturbed, shook himself once more, and walked on to the old factory at the high northern outskirts of town. The place was a refuge in times of mental distress, for it afforded a stolid quietude absent the clocklike rhythm of the township.

Feeling watched, he paused in the sodden path and looked again to the massing clouds, discerning no familiar shape. With the forms dispensation, the gale ceased. Only roiling charcoal and cracks of light remained.

He worked his jaw and paced sparse, muted wood, and a patchy rain glossed footpath, until he came to his destination.

The factory perimeter, distinguished by an eight foot high gate of spined black iron, beyond which stretched an immense mechanical necropolis, strewn with husks of earthmovers, tractors, processing bins and oddments whose applications were long forgot, in tangled heaps or skewed stacks. Little vegetation grew about the industrial monument, or the fence which girded it, and that which did was yellowed and thin. Beyond the remnants, the factory itself shot skyward with ruthless, chimeric prominence. It was an exceedingly unusual building. Originally a coal plant, it had thereafter been reconstituted as a steel forge, then, a lumber yard, and other incarnations never scribed. No part of the structure had ever been torn down. Each new portion had been melded with the old, or built atop it, such that it no longer resembled a commercial facility, but rather, an immense, alien fortress. The ornateless metallic exterior and lancing smokestacks cast a long shadow over the mechanical midden and no birds nested upon it.

Liot strolled to the arched front gate and found Waltyr Clemons, clad in checkered coat and flat sporting cap, fixing a chain through the bars.

“My way is shut.”

The gatekeeper jumped and laughed, spying the entrant. “Snuck up on me.”

“What’s this?”

Clemons secured the lock with a sigh as the sky glowed blue with lighting, and a great clangor let out from heaven. “Rains coming thick. Best get to the summer house. Tell you there.” Liot nodded and together they took the path from the gate a short distance, turned into the woods, and cut to a clearing where sat a small pavilion, near old as the factory, greening with lichen, moss and vine. Inside the derelict, a heavy calcimine table, two blanketed wicker chairs, two cups, and a portable burner topped by a squat, stained samovar. Clemons sat as the air thickened with cloudblood and filled the vessels with black tea from the simmering kettle.

“Someone’s bought it.”

“Bought it?”

“Fraid so.”

“Why should anyone buy it?”

Clemons shrugged. “The owner could just as well ask why you like coming round.” The man brushed his formless hat off sunkissed brow with a callous thumb. “Why do you like coming round?”

“Helps my process. Its peaceful.”

Clemons took a sip, swallowed and looked to the tangled, rain-curtained woods and the vanishing construct beyond.

“That it is. I think the machines scare the coyotes off. Or maybe its ancestral memory. Never seen one around here. Same with the deer. So the hunters don’t come round. Its like its own little country.”

“Population, two.”

“Mayor Ravel has a ring to it, eh?”

“No, no. I’d abdicate. Certainly, that’d be your honor.”

They laughed and drank, enjoying the warmth of the aromatic brew and the thrum of the firmament.

“Sometimes,” Clemons started. “When I’m out here alone, clearing the path to town, I try to image what it was like to live back when there was nothing but that factory and a couple of shacks.”

Liot followed his friend’s gaze to the pall beyond the pavilion and nodded.

“Must have been a hard life.”

“Might be they’d have the same opinion of us.”

“Might be.”

“People like to think the past was always sorrier than the present. There’s comfort in it. However far a man’s down, he can always say, ‘It’d have been worse back then, I’m just lucky I was born when I was.’ As if it were something to be elected.”



“You haven’t told me who bought it.”

“Oh. Sorry. Dunno.”

Ravel sighed and fiddled with his cup, eyes on the table.

“Don’t look so glum. You lost your haunt, but you got the festival to look forward too. Tess still going?” Ravel brightened at the utterance of the name and the thought of fall’s festivities.

“Yes. I should take her out here sometime. This quaint little pavilion. It’d be a nice place for a picknick.”

“Speaking of,” Clemons bent to a compartment in the desk and drew a thermos and a paperbag. “Soup and sandwiches?”

“That’d be lovely, thanks.”

As they ate in silence, Ravel glanced through the path leading to the factory. By a lull in the downpour he could make out a disntinctly human shape framed in the grime guised top floor window. The figure did not move and appeared to be looking at him. As he refocused his eyes, the torrential curtains resumed their veilments.

Was it the new owner or a manikin? Or perhaps it was merely a deceptively donned coatrack?

He turned back to Clemons. The groundskeeper maintained a number of eccentricities. Aversion to striding neath ladders for fear of incuring bad luck. Signing himself before graveyards to allay restless spirits. His superstitious turn of mind, Ravel thought, must have rubbed off.

next chapter coming soon

Venom’s course

Mask once glittered bright and gold,

Now a pallid, osseous thing;

From it, endless venom cold,

Seeps, and a hunger sings.

Grasping with bloody fingers,

For the cursed thief of gilt,

Whose blade in marrow lingers,

As the searing fragments lilt.

Nothing as to the poison stored,

That even should limbs stray,

Venom is unfulred; a sword,

That needs no body to find its prey.

The blazing city

Clangor in the smokestack air.

Dross, the cloudy factories strip.

Work ascendant, harsh and fair,

With unrelenting iron grip.

All that obstructs the vision,

And all the past has reaved,

Is scribed with cold incision,

Consigned, in fire wreathed.

Supervised from livid tower,

Exquisite, ornately alone;

Seeped in acrid vista’s glower,

That burns far deeper than bone.

No degree of intensity,

Eschews the engineering hand.

That relishes woe’s immensity,

Assumes a loftier command.

The pulse

A klaxon howls in night’s cold pitch,

Heavy pistons ream the skull.

Rippling through consumptive itch,

Raising burning waves to fall.

Awash in unebbing acidic tide,

Sleep forsook for pain.

Cost of that which does not hide.

To direct a swallowing bane.

Pulse throughout the body,

Reactor-blue and bright.

This engine built by memories,

Of all depravities to smite.

Lifeblood of the sprawl

Eggshell void to piceous pirouettes,

Glimmered, so spun the sprawl.

Casting all in golden nets,

That heed but a single call.

What the root of this gilded mesh,

That as armor grim does bind?

And marrow churning thresh,

The soul as lethe’s incline.

Deep lacerates the interior,

Yet greater the damage without.

Ejecting all spirits inferior,

Who, writhing, mercy shout.

Threading open hidden eyes,

See figured source disclosed.

The lifeblood of gilt assizes,

Born of treason’s wilted rose.

New city plan

The plan was carefully fabricated,

For blossom’s delight, a settled row;

Cafe, library and parlour,

All to fire, barren bloom did throw.

And so it was from pit of fire,

That the towers began to rise.

Seething out the ruinous mire,

And blotting naive skies.

See how vast this iron garden.

Hear gearwork pulse and thrum.

The sundering without pardon,

Until hollow depths succumb.