eality check: Life is not a fairytale in case you weren’t aware, and it isn’t always fair. Sometimes it ends badly. Sometimes it begins badly. Sometimes the middle goes from bad to worse. Which is not quite as bad as from worse to dismal, and certainly not as bad as from dismal to abysmal. So cheer up if things get worse. They’re usually not as bad as they might be if they were even worse than worse!

Just trying to be positive.

For some of us there will be more downs than ups, more bad times and tidings than good. Unfortunately, some of us are born less fortunate than others. We can hope our luck will improve but not everyone is destined to live happily ever after, despite what we are raised to believe is possible. Often, for every winner there must be a loser, in every victory another’s defeat. Thus, one person’s happy ending may result in another’s tragedy.

I know what you’re thinking: You call this positive???

Yet it is picking up the pieces following a disaster or downfall that truly defines us.

When we lose, if we see ourselves as losers then that is what we will be. If, however, we look for a trace of good out of the bad — we can wring our hankies and find the strength in our disconsolate hearts, our dilapidated spirits to go on. We just never know. It could be that defeat, that tragedy which leads to our greatest triumph somewhere down the road. We can always dream.

Whatever Life may hold, it behooves each of us to strive to be a better person. Better than those who plot or side or turn against us.

I myself do not care for serious competitions or manipulative games. I prefer to participate in something for fun, and I am generally relieved to be out of a contest because I really don’t need the pressure! Some people are ruthless and aggressive, whereas I attempt to avoid confrontations. When forced, I will stand up for those I care about and what I believe. But so much of Life seems to involve contention and rivalry.

Must disagreements between or within nations be settled by war? Do we have to compete in order to succeed? Is it a requirement to do or be or look better than others? (The ones who aren’t plotting or siding or turning against us, that is. Also the ones who aren’t committing crimes against Nature, humanity, or themselves. We should definitely try to do better than them!)

I know, I know, some things may never change. Then again, not everything may need to.

In accepting what can’t be changed, marching forward regardless of how tattered and torn, standing up to adversity however painful, we show precisely who we are. Those who cannot accept losses gracefully and live with respect, who connive and contrive out of envy or spite or avarice to bring about the ending they desire, ultimately lie defeated upon the cosmic field of battle. They may win for a while, but they will sacrifice their souls.

Life is a constant struggle against forces from without as well as from within. It is our duty to ourselves and those we love to maintain our integrity and withstand the tribulations, the temptations and trials that Life flings at us to the best of our ability. In that, I believe, is found our dignity . . . our nobility . . . our courage.

If we fail in this, the consequences can devastate. Yet all of us will fail at some point or other, for Life is as much a learning process as a progression and we must learn from its lessons until the end of our days.

Perhaps it is possible to overcome a life of misfortune and eventually flourish if we keep the right attitude. Perhaps that fairytale ending might still be possible after a long dark journey. No fairytale goes placidly from start to finish. They are fraught with obstacles and perils. Perhaps it is how we pick up our pieces and put them back together that will determine our Fate.

I want to believe that we can control to some extent our happy endings. For one thing, we can be happy with the way things are or endeavor to change them in some positive direction. We can find things that make us happy. The world has much to offer. But we must not seek our own satisfaction at the expense of others.

I have picked myself up and patched myself up on numerous occasions. I like to think I’ve done a pretty decent job. My life hasn’t gotten any smoother in the fifth decade, but I like to think it could. I like to think that there could be a happy ending for all of us — that the conflicts great and small of the world can be solved, and each of us might win in our own turn.

On that note I think I’ll write some poems. This in itself is a risk. I never know how they’ll turn out; I simply have to trust myself. I don’t trust easily. Trust is one of those things we should handle with care and use with caution.

My poems are the product of my imagination, and I hope now and then they capture yours. Some are born of whimsy. Others seem to spring forth out of madness or terror. Some are a reflection of my soul. I do not write them to be judged, critiqued, or even praised. I write them for me. And for the sake of sharing.

It is in sharing the depths of our souls that we are truly alive.

happy endings

Candlefire casts a shadow’s dance

Of page turns adorned by gilded prose

Quaint illustrations of pure romance

And fayish doings, not worldly woes


Where fettles and fetters and fickles abound

The daintiest sprites may flutter past

In such grand stories have I found

The spark for the tales I’ve cast


I break many rules, including the main

That fairytales tend to end well

There’s truth to my words, however insane

Thus I must at times mangle not quell


Real Life can be cursed, the grimmiest grief

Besieged by sorrows, beset by travails

Defying all reason, beyond belief

Scripted of heartache, sheer torment and wails


The blithest endings are never cemented

Promises break and bonds come undone

So in writing of fairies, they are likely demented

If I can’t have my cake then I’m going to have fun


Up out of the agonies I have survived

Come monsters and menacings, horrors and bones

Creepers and boogeymen oft are derived

I spare no torture, no screeches and moans


Yet sometimes I write of sweeter things

Innocent wonder, the good in the world

I forget for a moment the arrows Life slings

And cavort with my heartstrings unfurled


Mostly my pen scratches less lovely themes

I hope you don’t mind what crawls out of my head

The products of anguish and pain and bad dreams

The urges and splurges, the things left unsaid


All endings aren’t happy, all tales do not cease

With everything tidy and tied in a bow

For the interest of interest I like things to crease

A few garish wrinkles to disrupt the flow.

circus spirit

I stepped from the path of least resistance

Onto the tracks of a speeding train

Hauling a bedazzlery of splendors

A seldom-glimpsed-again refrain

I’ve longed for the smells and sounds of midways

Far from the highway’s rush and roar

One of those fading classic memories

Such as can make a heartbeat soar

Foolish me, standing blind in the spotlight

Struck by the locomotive’s prow

Swept to the site where tents would rise

I’m unable to leave them now

My spirit wanders with the show

Riding the rails of jesters with wings

We are the souls from a gone-by era

And always know what tomorrow brings

I lived my life with a carnival spirit

Traded my future to retain that zeal

The spinning delirium, infinite rapture

Of wonders once precious that now I can’t feel

Animals, too, are trapped in a limbo

Elephants, lions, tigers and bears

Creatures that should be at home in the wild

Were tormented for your stares

A circus of shades and revenants caper

To a broken organ’s strained discord

The show never ends, it goes on and on

Yet the train leaves the station all aboard

My brain has been shredded to cotton candy

It’s a challenge to think with a fluffy mind

But I feel so much lighter than I used to

My cares have been left behind

I lived my life with a circus spirit

Tripping on moonbeams and carousels

That’s who I am in the afterworld

A crowd of lost parallels.

The Monstrel

A hulking bulkneyed bodily-harmer

Sinistery, masterly as a cobra charmer

Crept through the cracks of cobble lanes

While the city slept under shadow stains

In the bleakish blackstrous urban-scape

On a night unbounded by lamp or drape

Past hollow-eyed window, deafened grate

Scaling a trellis, anointed with hate

Brackish, swarthy, The Monstrel snuck

Inside the houses of those without luck

Taking what little they had to live

Stealing from those with nothing to give

Robbing the poor and raiding fresh tombs

He sifted and sorted and sealed their dooms

The heartless varlet, a scandalous thief

With moanstrous glee, bringing naught but grief

Barehanded would menace, no weapon was needed

But the fists of a brute whose size was heeded

Like Death he stole through Life a shroud

Smothering breaths and feeling so proud

Till a hare with cordovan eyes nipped the brute

Diminishing him to a mellow galoot

The stray bunny bit yet he thought it sweet

Not to mention, a prize with four rabbit’s feet!

Bearing her home, he cooked carrots for dinner

The rabbit feasted a little less thinner

An alliance was forged that murkful eve

Where from the rabbit could never leave

Named Zinfandel, she was trained to aid

The Monstrel in the games he played

Distracting, attracting, luring his marks

His victims would suffer the sting of his larks

The ghastly man stroked the bunny’s white fur

And cooed such gentlest phrases to her

But was it affection or empty need

From an ogre with a motive behind every deed?

Would the culprit ever be brought to pay

For the things he’d done each live-long day?

Too often malicious types elude

Their just desserts by being shrewd

Though now and then a villain is halted

By that which he or she exalted

Zinfandel hopped before a truck

The Monstrel dashed yet ran out of luck

The bunny survived, the man did not

The rabbit escaped her sorry lot

And my somber tale has a wry conclusion

What a shame it is mere illusion.


I’ve decided to be happy

For no specific reason

Does one always need a purpose?

Would it be such dreadful treason

If we skip instead of walking?

Or laugh when we should weep?

If we dance to the Fandango

When we should be fast asleep?


I’ve decided to be silly

Cuz I haven’t for a while

I have chosen not to care so much

And wear a foolish smile

By grinning I can push aside

The evils others do

Not allow the ills to hound me

Scrapes and bruises to accrue


It’s my decision to embrace

The positive in life

For thinking negatively

Can only lead to strife

The way we feel is up to us

Despite what may befall

The day will be much brighter

If we’re happy most of all


I’ve decided to be grateful

For everything that’s good

Accentuate what matters

Leave behind the stuff I should

If things happen for a reason

Then why should I be blue?

If each up must have a down

Every down will rise up too


All decisions are not lucid

Some are very complicated

Some have clauses or tough choices

Edges sharp, perhaps serrated

But deciding to be happy

Doesn’t take a lot of time

It just requires determination

And will leave your life sublime.


A shard or a spike can burrow neath the skin

Like an underlying tick that can’t get out as it got in

You might carry it at length, a foreign object in your flesh

A festering sore, a ragged wound that won’t mesh

Splinters can burn and remind you with pain

Of their presence, the disturbance can make you less sane

Their removal is tricky and could end in disaster

The injury gaping, your blood pouring faster

Needing surgical precision, it should not be taken lightly

It may even leave a scar, most conspicuous, unsightly

Yet permanent disfigurement’s the least of your woes

Should the splinter be a cutting of some plant that grows

Which could sprout vines or branches, take root in your skin

Like a parasitic alien, sap your strength, leave you thin

You’d be overgrown by tendrils, become a walking shrub

Chased by gardeners waving trimmers, bugs seeking grub

It could never be removed once it hooks you that way

You might have to be planted and watered each day

Oh the shame of it all, such a pity it would be

Here’s hoping no splinter should stab you or me.


Can you hear yourself blink?

Do you watch yourself think?

Have I driven you to drink

A cup of hot sauce?


If I pester you with queries

Am I worse than sprites or fairies

Who might fill you up with berries

And then cover you in moss?


Are you sure the world is round?

Do you contemplate profound?

Am I standing on the ground

Or somewhere higher than a kite?


Is there joy behind each sorrow?

Will today become tomorrow

If we live on time we borrow?

Is an error ever right?


Does each riddle bear an answer?

Should you feed a belly-dancer?

Can you trust a necromancer

Not to cast a spell on thee?


Might a beginning e’er conclude?

Is too polite the same as rude?

Must I construct my fortitude?

Are my intentions meant to be?


Can a mountain come to you

If it has nothing else to do?

I think my face is turning blue —

How does one actually catch a breath?


Should afoot quit while it’s ahead?

Why are you turning very red?

Was it something that I said?

Can someone scare their self to death?


Are you as rankled as you seem?

Could someone sleepwalk in a dream?

Can farmers grow a crop of cream?

What are those scissors you have for?


Does a moot point ever quite express?

Why can’t I argue with Success?

That tape must be for me, I guess —

Don’t you like me anymore?

a twisted fate

He stole into the city like a vagrant thief of hearts

By nightfall he had toppled every lady’s staunch ramparts

And lured them to a tower, there to hold them in his clasp

Mere hostages of fortune, they surrendered to his grasp


With half his face concealed, the damsels had been smitten

Why must the dark appeal? Where was this tenet written?

A chopping block he fashioned, an axe he brandished well

To demand a sum of riches before the first head fell


The city lavished wealth, yet his ransom met no bounds

“More!” the cad demanded, amidst wails and weeping sounds

Though the ladies all would swoon if he but glanced their way

His roguish charm was iffy, still he held them in his sway


The fairest of his captives had raven locks or manes of gold

These femmes would lose their heads for just a smile, it’s told

He possessed them in his thrall but there was more he craved

The villain sought respect despite him being so depraved


Love and passion were but trinkets, for he coveted esteem

In a mask he might be anyone, the worst that we could dream

How he hungered for raw fear, and thirsted for disgust

He envied ghouls and monsters for their loathing and mistrust


A nameless soulless rascal who had earned no sympathy

And had never squandered any on his vain and lethal spree

The blackguard bled the town until they’d nothing left to give

And their daughters, sisters, mothers, wives would no longer live


He tossed the heads down yelling, “Look what you made me do!”

Slaying women as if they were objects, leaving only two

A sweet and wholesome lady, her calculating opposite

He descended from the tower, hoping both of them might fit


Abandoning a night-haired beauty, clambering to his coach

He sped off with the lighter version, who seemed beyond reproach

Yet was a cunning witch and shrew, but only time could tell

That each deserved the other, a match made in their own Hell


A posse sprang to horseback and pursued the butcherous beast

Drawn by eight frothing stallions, piled high a glimm’rous feast

His carriage overladen, the treasure’s bulk a bridge did cave

The coach and unloving couple were lost as aging timbers gave


Swept deep into a canyon, where gravity would not hesitate —

The posse slowed by a cloud of dust in a happy twist of fate

Justice can’t subdue the grief no more than Life can skip a season

But small satisfaction was achieved . . . things happen for a reason.

horror story

If I told you a horror story

Would you think me very awfully gory?

Would you tell me that you’re truly sorry

But it isn’t hunky-dory?


If I spoke to you of gobblies and frights

The fiercest fiends and darkest knights

Could you sleep in bed without the lights?

Without the covers to block the sights?


What if my tale begins with a child

Who trusted others, was sweet and mild

Whose inner demons were badly riled

By terrors that can’t be reconciled?


What if her storybook fable went bad

Twisted and jangled a gnarly tad

The likes of which could render you mad —

Would you turn a deaf ear or wish you had?


What if I said the child was me

The harm is done irreparably

Yet the worst is over, would you agree?

Or another vandal be?


What if a child reached out to you

For compassion, protection, what would you do?

Be someone honest, someone true

Or another betrayer too?


I’m not a child outside, but in

My heart I wear that child’s lost grin

I don’t seek pity, a palanquin

I simply want peace, to trust again


Respect and kindness, treated fair

That’s all I asked and all I care

One day perhaps my heart to share

If ever I should dare


What if I told you life is mean

Based on so much of what I’ve seen

And still I hope for a brighter sheen

For happiness to intervene?


What if I told you I can smile

For I’ve known bliss between the vile

And I will walk another mile

Until I reach a place worthwhile?


Somewhere that hope and faith abide

No treachery or malice hide

Where only Nature’s beasts reside

And wishes float on a rainbow tide


What if I said that I avow

My horror story ends right now

No more abuse will I allow —

Could someone show me how?

~ Published ~
March 1, 2011

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