Love Letters

Emily sat at an escritoire that resided on the landing between the lower and upper floors of her ancestral home. The lower stairs were to her right, in front of the old grandfather clock, and the upper stairs to her left, both flights shrouded in shadow. At her back was an old chair— lion-pawed and adorned with arabesques, the head of which was a fierce face wreathed in a mane—and beyond it the balustrade overlooking the lower floor’s hall. In front of her, atop the cherry oak escritoire, was vellum, a black ink well, and her pale hands, the left sprawled atop the vellum in a most fragile, yet possessive, fashion, and the other crooked with a quill in its dainty claw. Beyond all this loomed the window, which allowed the moon in as that pallidly polished piece of silver rose above the garden, stretching the shadows of dogwood trees across the lawn. From here, too, could be seen the barn upon the hill, at a greater distance, where the cows slept, its asymmetrical roof angling toward the silent stars.
But none of these observations mattered to Emily. Rather, her thoughts were wholly consumed with one image, and that image was the face of her beloved. She wrote his name several times in ink, and whispered his name all the while. Her parents were abed, as were the slaves in their shack, and so Emily made little sound as she toiled by moonlight. To have seen her working so, her parents would have disapproved—her father because he knew well how ruined a pair of eyes might become by moonlit labors, and her mother because she knew well how ruined a young woman could become by moonlit romances. Emily had at the ready a match and a candlestick, but she was not ready to employ them yet. For the spell to work the preparations had to be properly undertaken. The candlestick and the match lay beside a small, red-edged penknife.
Emily continued writing the name of her intended lover until the vellum was utterly wet with her scrawl. She began to feel faint, swaying as an anemic exhaustion overtook her. The wind blew susurrations through the pink heads of the dogwoods. The latter were all abloom, but black and white by moonlight.
Letting the vellum dry, Emily leaned forward and raised the window. It took great effort, for it was a large window and she felt very weak. At length, it rose and the wind swept in, cool against her wan skin. She collapsed back, her nightgown rustling, but the heavy chair silent and unmoved with the sudden return of her languid weight. Her lips trembled, colorless, and her eyelids fell heavy over her blue irises. Lolling a moment, she roused and rallied herself once more. Her bonnet seemed too great a weight upon her clammy head and so she peeled it off, letting her blonde hair spill down freely.
Emily drifted through a fog of memories. The ritual required sacrifice, and those sacrifices returned to her in inchoate flashes of images. She saw the little calf she had helped deliver and fed and coddled like a childhood playmate. She had slit its throat herself and through her own labors rendered the vellum from its skin. She saw the parrot her father had procured for her, and which she had taught to repeat loving words to her mother. She slit its throat, too, and sharpened its tailfeather into her needful quill. The tallow candle had been gotten from the fat of a farrow of piglets that, like her calf, kept her company for a time.
The vellum had at last dried and so Emily struck the match, its head flaring into a small flame. She lit the candle, holding its waxy tower in her stronger hand. The wax seemed warmer than her own fingers. With her weakened hand she lifted the vellum and, in the moonlight, her scrawl almost appeared black, though it shimmered red as the paper wrinkled and shivered in her unsteady hand. Her wrist stung where the cloth bound back its tide and her grip wavered. Willing her grip tighter, she lifted the vellum higher.
Now came the moment of revelation. She held the vellum by its top corner, letting the bottom corner drag across the candle’s flame. The moon was high as the flame greedily ate the vellum, racing up its whiteness and leaving only ash and flaring embers that drifted out the window, against the wind, and across the field, toward the hill. She held the vellum until the last bit of calfskin paper had been dissolved between the pinch of her blackened forefinger and her thumb. That hand did not matter anymore— it had been rendered useless by the ritual. What mattered now was the face she had seen reflected in the ivy-wreathed window, among the flames and the crimson scrawl. The wind rose once again, trees whispering. Emily heard them say her name. Looking beyond the windowpane, she saw another shadow upon the hilltop where the barn sat. There was a ring of megaliths where there had been none; three to a group, in post-and-lintel arrangement.
Quietly, Emily tiptoed downstairs and slipped out the door. The night air invigorated her, as did the promise of the ritual, and though her arm was numb she did not care. She crossed the garden, passed the dogwoods, and then the field. The only creature that stirred was an old black dog on the porch of the slaves’ shack; and it merely whimpered, trembling incessantly.
As Emily tread uphill she raised her thin nightgown above her head with her good hand, letting it fall to the earth. Clothed only in moonlight, the slender figure entered the ring of standing stones and was never seen again.

Kitsune Song

The Wishing Jewel you gave to me
was as dew upon the tree
and it shines with a light all its own,
but now I walk alone—alone.

The Jewel you gave fell with the wind
through boughs at our Summer’s end,
and though I hold it, the winds still moan
while I walk on, alone—alone.

Foxes laugh among the flowers,
haunting pagoda towers,
and while my heart becomes as a stone
I walk this night alone—alone.

The Jewel is hot as a fresh tear,
yet, lover, you come not near.
Willful fox! You refuse to atone,
so I walk forever alone.

Passion, Regret, Distraction

Lapping River
The warm rainstorm rushes
into the wanton lap of a valley,
and the hot river gushes
as Springtime passions rally.

The words of your love spill
like a quenching flood,
but after the brimming thrill
your heart is but silt and mud.

My sweet sake cup,
your selfless sacrifice—
how you fill me up,
emptying yourself of vice.


As a pagan priest in passionate prayer
I trace fingers upon your idolatrous curves,
teasing out primal magic anywhere
there is a naughty nexus of ley-line nerves.

Like a wizard performing a secret spell
I manifest my ritual upon your form—
motion and emotion collide and swell
with the summoning of this carnal storm.

I summon your demons by gently passing
my hands along your arched torso to hex
and exorcise that riotous lot amassing
at the hexagram of your hedonist sex.

It is to master elemental attunement,
like scrying upon waters to see what’s to come;
to be a druid seeking what an old rune meant
while knuckle bones are arrayed in a perfect sum.

Yet, I am the one irrevocably bound
and ensorcelled by your bewitching spells;
mesmerized by the heated, heathen sound
of a magic as old as males and females.

Sympathy For The Incel

I was once similar to you,
a young man caught in the undertow of a
self-loathing feedback loop.
I did nothing but scowl
into a mirror-bladed guillotine
and cut myself down, day after day,
while glaring at my own warped reflection.
It was carrion comfort,
a devil I knew
that clutched me back from the waking world
and all of the uncertainties, and the rejections,
so I could escape the hypothetical abuse
of the caricatures you would call
while I indulged my all-too-real
meat-grinder masochism in solitude.
I understand why you wish to
publicly share, and shame,
yourself online,
typing up confessional posts that read like
war cries for a
suicide cult.
You crucify yourself to your
forum posts
so that you may mouth maledictions
against passing women
whom you would fain believe
have hoisted you up and nailed you there,
but you are the one who condemns yourself
make-believe phrenology.
pillory yourself with keyboards
to welcome scorn from
other prophets of misanthropy,
then you decry the rest of humanity
as fools oblivious to the unfairness
you can so plainly see
with your body dysmorphia.
But look beneath the hood of the headsman
and you will see yourself staring back at you.
Despair begets resentment,
like rot in a wound,
and resentment festers into hatred.
But you can choose to cut the rot away
and purge the gangrene.
Know that by confining yourself to an
echo chamber
you are confining yourself to a
torture chamber.
You are not suppressed by a boogeyman named
but depressed by your own medication:
a black pill which you want to believe
somehow wakes you up
to what Normies can’t see,
but which is really just a
nightmare you choose to dream
while awake.
The sleep of Reason produces monsters,
but Love has never been a
demon of Reason—
it is a demon of
and you have to give Chance a chance,
otherwise you are rigging the game against yourself.
So wake up.
Spit out the cynical cyanide pill.
Love can capture you
when you least expect it.
And sometimes,
when Chance is just right,
being caught by the right person
can set you free.
Don’t think that a game never played
is never lost.
When you don’t play the game of
you forfeit so many delicious victories
for the rest of your long, lonely life
that it becomes a long stretch of losses
from the sidelines.
I was like you, once,
but then I gave myself a chance,
and I worked on my own compatibility,
and it took a lot of patience,
but then I found that I loved myself.
And when I started to love myself
I started to love the world.

Jellied Brains


Feeling upset, Edmund went for a stroll
along an arboreal road, bole to bole,
and was surprised to find a lost cave troll.

“What is wrong?” the Apprentice asked him.
“I am trapped by the evening sun’s whim,”
the troll said, huddling beneath a tree limb.

Edmund looked up at the sunny sky
and remembered how easy a troll might die,
if sunlight should touch him, or even meet his eye.

The troll was very large and very hairy,
and his mane was like a lion’s, his tusks scary,
and Edmund knew it was wise to be wary.

Edmund said, “You appear trapped, friend.
If I help save you from this end
will you hereafter your life amend?”

“By the bones of the titans upon the earth
and the cavernous womb of my birth,”
the troll said, “I will prove my trollish worth.”

And so, trusting the troll to keep his word,
Edmund summoned clouds in a large herd
to block the sun, spread out like a bird.

But instead of fleeing for his cave
the troll grabbed Edmund, like a knave,
and told him what he really did crave.

“I’ve caught you now,” the troll thus said,
“and now I’ll butter my breakfast bread
with the sweet jellies from your head.”

He held Edmund tightly by the waist,
grinning toothsomely, all ape-faced,
while sizing Edmund up, and his taste.

“I am the Apprentice,” Edmund replied,
“and so it would not be good if I died.”
The troll only laughed, and Edmund sighed.

The troll said, “Flint-Tusk is my name
and I am a troll who feels no shame.
Apprentice, you have only yourself to blame.

“First, you wander near my house,
and now you speak like a mouse.
Never trust a troll, you dandy’s blouse.”

Edmund motioned again to the sky
and the clouds fled from up on high
so the sun could shine, by and by.

“That will not save you,” the troll growled.
The troll held him tight, safely cowled
by the shadow of the tree he prowled.

“Have you ever heard the old tale,”
Edmund said, “of the lion with a nail
who needed the mouse to get well?”

Flint-Tusk snorted in utter disdain.
“All I care about in your little brain
is the jelly that is used to keep you sane.”

Edmund said, “The lion’s paw hurt him so,
and a mouse helped his paw, even though
he knew, in the end, it might bring him woe.”

Once again the troll huddled beneath the tree
while holding Edmund in his fist, tightly—
each one trapped, neither one free.

Edmund knew if he did not use his brain
then it might as well be jelly, for all its gain,
and so he flexed his muscle without refrain.

“But the thing about such stories
is that they neglect to mention the mouse’s fleas
and, therefore, the subsequent disease.”

“Disease?!” the troll exclaimed in fright.
“What disease?” he demanded, as if he might
run away, out into the bright sunlight.

“A brain disease,” Edmund said with an even tone,
“a disease unlike any other ever known—
to love someone who will never be your own.”

The troll looked at Edmund as if to see
if there dwelled in his face any duplicity,
and then released him beneath that tree.

“I understand,” the troll said with a groan.
“Love is a disease that withers to the bone.
I, too, know what it is to love, yet be alone.”

And so the troll spoke to him about his love
who had rejected him from her cave with a shove,
speaking until the moon reigned above.

They then bid each other farewell and good will
knowing that nothing jellied brains like being ill
with unrequited love, a thing painful to feel.