All of the Stars

And in darkness I stand, looking up in the sky,

Thousands of twinkling, diamond-set eyes

They’re watching me idly, like they always do

Cut-outs cut out of a velveteen blue

But today is different, in a way they don’t know

The stars never change, but each day I grow

And once I was bitter, so caught up in rage,

That I blamed the whole world in a giant tirade

I thought I was too big for its pain and its lies

A soap opera watched by those twinkling eyes!

But then something happened inside me, one day

(though those twinkling eyes still looked the same)

And I learnt that nothing in the world is so plain

As all good or all bad, all love or all pain

You have to lose some to win some, fall down to rise,

You have to tilt your head back to look up at the sky!

And that’s how I learnt the most important lesson of all:

To put things behind you, you have to stand tall

If I didn’t touch it, then it wouldn’t bite

So let go of anger, and seek the path to the light

It’s amazing how one step can push you so far

When you’re dancing in the moonlight, under all of the stars

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Demoness

In dark nightmares

She comes alive

A demoness

I once defied

She haunts me still

Tempts me with sin

But she is a fool

I won’t let her win

She might light fires

With matches of lies

Catching all sinners

By surprise

But she won’t catch me

For I don’t care

Take a look in my heart

You won’t find her there

Burn

A.N. Dedicated to the victims of the California wildfires.

A thousand tonnes of ash descend

Upon us in a curse hell-sent

What wrong we did, none can be sure

The weeks, months past are but a blur

All we can see is ash and smoke

It coats our lungs, and makes us choke

The air is thick; each breath is dear,

Smoldered in grief, anguish, and fear

An empty hand is all we have

They say muster hope, but I’m not sure we can

The flames have devoured every last dream

The parks where we played, the schools and the streets,

The trees which we climbed, and the fields where we roamed,

And that small pile of ashes I called my home

Everything is gone, and nothing remains

Yet we struggle to move forward, at the end of each day

The sky is aflame with burnt-out dreams

The patchwork of lifetimes, undone at the seams

Puffball Lewis, or How to Trick-or-Treat

A.N. Falls off towards the end, sorry.

’twas a crisp autumn eve when the demons arrived

Defiling the air as they rushed to their prize

Releasing their stench while the good folks around

Cowered and trembled as they fell to the ground

But, to their cemetery spot, the demons all sped

Where they feasted on corpses of flesh freshly-dead

What a horrible sight it was to behold!

The corpses unearthed, both young and old

But who would stop them? Would a hero arise?

Would he come a-flying through the dark, foggy skies?

Or would he jump in, leaping straight off a roof,

Vanquishing the demons in a moment of truth?

Of all the scenarios, the hero least likely

Was the one who emerged, righteous and mighty

He was a small ball of fluff, a tiny, cute thing,

Screaming his outrage while flapping his wings

Bright beady eyes condemned those who dared

Interfere with his peace, catch his people unawares

Though his wee chirps were tiny, his messages were strong,

And, one by one, the other people joined along

The foul demons froze, dropped their deplorable deeds,

And, overwhelmed by this courage, began their retreat

The people moved to followed, bearing rakes and knives,

Ready to draw blood, to bring justice alive

But the Puffball only chirped, though now to bring calm,

For there are other ways than violence to right these types of wrongs

And the people dropped their weapons, for they saw the demons’ fear,

Beings whose hunger drove them to feast but once per year

That’s when the Puffball Lewis brought his best idea to light

He gave a bowl of candies to these demons of the night

And helped them to discover a brand-new type of treat

The first trick-or-treaters, from this generous Halloween feat

Lesson Number One

A.N. Apologies. This took far too long for far too poor a result. 

Lesson number one is clear

Don’t let anyone see your fear

Head up high and straightened back

Keep vigilant, lest they attack

Lesson number two is a little bit harder

It’s keeping your wits when the storm turns calmer

You can’t relax; no, you must recoup

Build up your strength. You know they’ll regroup.

Lesson number three is a bit of a twist

Stay light on your feet, and their hits will miss

Dodge their attacks, and you’ll rise on top

But lesson number one is the only way they’ll stop

Ways to Say Goodbye

Eighty-five ways to tell you goodbye

Arranged in a list, all of them lies

How I love you and miss you, and wish you were here

When reality is that I can’t stand you near

I hate everything you do, and all that you are

Wherever you go, it can’t be too far

Your lies and your games make a terrible truth

And the mess that I’m in, it’s because of you

You never were good; I was just blind

And innocence led me to think you were kind

And supportive and loyal and devoted and true

But you weren’t in love; I was a plaything to you

Something to pet and keep tied up in chains

Something to mess with when you wanted a game

Something with no heart to be thought of at all

You let me fly high, and then watched me fall

So I don’t feel bad, now, saying goodbye

Watch how I go — I won’t even cry

I’ll stamp out your memory and erase all your texts

I’m moving on to whatever life offers next

Everything’s beautiful and happy and new

Now that I’ve finally bid you adieu

Mobbed

They came with knives, and they came with guns

They shot my heart, and they pierced my lungs

They ripped the curtains and tore the rugs

I called it torture, but they called it love

They said, it helps to set you free

Don’t know who they helped, but it wasn’t me

Their words were lies, some common thread

Spun by men who are long dead

And they called me a ‘stupid girl’

Who didn’t know how to face the world

Well, I’ll show them, I told myself

As I wiped the blood off from the shelves

And saw the books unscathed beneath

The most powerful weapon I could finally unleash

Court of Angels

From up on high I see their lies

Wisps of air from worlds passed by

The people speak, but I don’t hear

They live their lives like I’m not here

I judge their hearts, their love , their hate,

The things they fail to appreciate

And when they die, the scales decide

The strength and value of their lives

Some go to heaven, others to hell,

Which one is better, I cannot tell.

I’ve never been to either one

I just watch lives dance in the sun

And judge them when the time is ripe

And guide them to walk into the light

Angel of Death

Deep in the night, I float through the halls,

The Angel of Death, by some I am called,

My thoughts are a dream, and a misty gaze coats

Every glance, every look; the dim light turns morose

Wherever I go, death seems to follow

The bitterest truth, though it’s not easy to swallow

Deep in the bowels of a hospital ward

Or in my own bed, gripping the headboard,

I hear its soft growl as it prowls through the air

Seeking its prey, seeking to cause despair

Such is the life of my shadow, my friend,

My one true constant, a beloved life’s end.

So be wary of my presence, lest you yourself find

Your Life and Death inseparably intertwined

I don’t try to do it, but it’s a mistake I repeat

So run while you can, lest Death your presence seeks

Mute

Your words are toxic, their meaning, obtuse,

So I turn down the volume, and put you on mute

You’re a waste of my time, hate the air that you breathe,

So I leave you behind, searching for some relief

Will you ever stop speaking? Words like yours don’t last

They’re lost in a memory. What’s past is past.

And you’re past, I know, but I still can’t move on

Though your voice stopped, your words hurt; you’re not really gone