Vol. 1, Branded Souls, Chapter 1: The Dragon (Pt. 2)

(Read pt. 1 here)

Hart tried to rouse from a hypnotic state. He felt it as a dream that he could not return from without a fight. With his eyes closed, He drifted around a field of death as the mighty dragon itself. Watching from a sky to ground perspective, he saw men as carrion or prey. He was unable to express his emotions and felt like a corked bottle under pressure- he saw colors and felt burning through his veins as the a volley of arrows tried to curb him.

The dragon is on the hunt!” cried the friar from his belfry. The blacksmith screamed, “Get to shelter!” The friar churned the bells again with a long rope. People had all but fled the fields, leaving farm equipment and sheaves of wheat. Hart had no appetite for the town’s folk- the contents within the castle is what he pined for. A delicate voice clung to his mortal fiber and cried, “Save me,” from some dark recess.

It drove him mad- he was unable to think clearly and he was acting from an involuntary aggression. He sprayed fire into the archer slots carved into the castle; people could be heard screaming inside. An explosion blinded him temporarily and drilled a percussive ringing into his brain.

He slammed himself into the bulwark and dug his claws into the stone while repeatedly smashing his weight into the impregnable defense. The clang of alarm was heard and all had fled into their homes or into the castle. The army had regrouped and began packing explosives for another searing shower. He took to his wings, damaged and bleeding, roaring in defiance as he retreated to the opposite mountains.

Harts thoughts drifted as he distanced himself from the fire and frenzy. His sharp vision as a beast of preternatural ability waned and grew blurry. Hart felt disembodied.

His thought moved upwards as the dragon disappeared into the hills and grey mountains. His perspective moved still upwards and away from the village it centered the castle in his direct vision, he saw the battlefield fading and the dragon departing. The scene was no more and the boiling in his veins slackened; upwards he went towards the infinite depths of the cosmos.

Some gravity of another, beckoned him to reenter a sharp precept but he resisted for a time by keeping his eyelids closed momentarily; reds and blacks that painted the inside drew a somber canvas. Hart considered his increased strangeness and morbidity as his conscious floated in meditation. A gnashing darkness and gore-filled destruction sickened his thoughts and tolled heavily on his, willfully simple nature.

He yawned aloud and stretched his arms aloft. He moved his shoulders in a rolling fashion, flexing and hunching his shoulders intermittently. “Damn that bench is a tough bastard.” After stretching out his rotator cuff and shaking the numbness out of his arms, he began the method again with his legs. Stiffening and pulling his legs in front then together, he raised his feet from the grass. His quadriceps bulged like knots of thick ropes. He then gently rolled his ankles in his hands then let out a gush of air from his mouth, “Whew, can’t handle much more of those kind of naps…” Hart blinked and rubbed his eyes he knew it wasn’t just the medium he slept on that made him sedate, “What a curious dream,” He contended in an attempt to dispel the hanging haze.

At the far end of the bench, a squirrel was busying itself by digging out a patch of turf around a tree. The black critter ceased it’s labor, sniffed the air then drew a brown acorn from his hoard and set about to lunch; it cracked open the acorn with skilled digits. The innards of the acorn became reduced to crumbs at its dexterity; the husk was all that remained. When it finished one, it decided that its hunger was great and began this exercise once more. Hart looked upwards. It was a bright day but westward, distant, brooding storm clouds were on the horizon.

A beautiful poplar with its white and orange blossoms shaded him. That familiar tranquil breeze that rustled its leaves also stirred an imperceptible and undefined heartache; it froze up any fire of sudden activity that he may have wanted to do on this fine day. He fell back into a lazy stupor at the sweet smell of the flowers on the wind. He was ensorcelled by a memory that clung more dear to him than his very life but it was a memory that he could barely recall, a memory that came to him in fragments, like a hurtful puzzle that was relentless with its entreaties and its infinite madness.

“I loved her…I loved something.”

He placed his hands on the back of his head and slipped into an exceedingly casual position on the bench. He recalled a faint wisp; a lost, similar spring afternoon; it came floating back to him on the wings of the scented wind.

A soft and warm breeze tangled her locks of blonde in a playful caress. Wavy strands of gold fell across her brow. He saw a longing gaze; a half covered, sparkling green eye-

He felt a pang in his chest. He troubled himself willingly and tried to ignore this natural thing that feels like loss and weighs like stones in a heart. He attempted to ignore the pain of emotion because he wanted more. He wanted to find her, this woman who had been haunting his daydreams, nightmares and waking days. He wanted to answer why a memory was lashing from the depths of his mind and raking old coals.

Hart searched. First he searched in his mind. He cast a line of inquisition into its depths: He drew a net like a fisherman but at each stroke in these swirling waters, he missed his target. “It had been so very long.” As he thought hard on the emotion and power she conjured within him, he sat up as a man suddenly struck on that head. The net seemed to grapple something and this powerful something flailed hard in his eager clutch; an image sprang forth from across the sands of time:

Here came an impish grin and a childish titter lifted like a chorus by rosy cheeks. He recognized her and another. It was a stranger, himself, as recognizable as any but a stranger. This stranger was swathed in a forgetful cloud, holding some goblet as he whispered into the young woman’s ear. She beamed so bright that it illuminated the memory around her like a candle held to a dusty photo album.

She had rouge on. “No.” he sighed to his recognition, a deep scarlet blush. She was seated, facing towards him but her gaze was now bashfully away, towards the ground. She absently plucked petals from flowers, smiling all the while. The stranger’s thoughts then whispered into Harts mind:

…Perpetual innocence, kindness and truth…” It picked up and trailed off into a murmur.  This is, he thought, is the way he’d known her. Her smile faded to an outstretched, delicate hand wrapped in the lace of white silk, offering to him a ring of purple and yellow flowers. He reached for the bouquet but it was snatched away by a foul gust, the wind kicked up and a strong piercing rain sprang from dark clouds. The young women stood as if a forced puppet and floated backwards into a dark fog that grew around her. Her eyes pleaded though her facial expression was mute. Her hand remained outstretched as if trying to hold on to something. He struggled to grasp her precious white hand but the force of the storm pressed on him so violently that he was rooted. She grew into the blackness then the scene was blackness itself; he had lost her once more.

(Continued here: pt. 3)

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Botticelli’s Primavera, and Lucretius’ De Natura Rerum

Botticelli's Primavera painting, close-up, Flora of the Meadows.

Botticelli’s Primavera painting, close-up, Flora of the Meadows.

“Spring comes, and Venus,
And Venus’ winged courier, Cupid runs in front.
And all along the path they will tread,
Dame Flora carpets the trail of Zephyr with a wealth of blossoms,
Exquisite in hue and fragrance.
So throughout seas and uplands,
Rushing torrents, verdurous meadows and leafy shelter of birds,
Into the breasts of one and all you instill alluring love,
so that with passionate longing they produce their several breeds.
Since you alone are the guiding power of the universe,
And without you, nothing emerges into the shining, sunlit world,
To grow in joy and loveliness.”
-Lucretius, De natura rerum

Botticelli's, interpretation of spring, Venus and Cupid in the center.

Botticelli’s, interpretation of spring, Venus and Cupid in the center.

Marooned

I borrowed my uncle’s truck in some alternate vision: we drove Pacific Highway.
I couldn’t imagine the details of the location, except, cliffs and a wayward sun; you were smiling with ruby painted lips, and all that blonde hair was being blown in a California wind.
We’d wind down a road as the stars were comin’ out after that explosion of color, the sunset and I’d make love to you in the bed of that pickup truck, with it’s gate down, pulled up along side some roaring cove.
Wrapped in each other, there was no time, no limit, no future…the present was just you and I with the salt of the beach and all these lights they call stars.
You told me you loved me.
But I saw how your eyes looked westward and away, running faster than jet planes and harder to navigate than the widest ocean- something that I may never catch up to. I reckon, it’s that wild untameable, chaotic thing that pours fire all over to drown me; it’s that glittering unattainable bauble I’ll call your heart.
I sought for you with my hands and grasped at nothing, a ghost and it sent pain through my arms like ice in my veins. A terrible disquietude stole over me and infected my soul; a summer breeze makes me weak, the swell of tide brings me to my knees.
Was it the beauty of spontaneity that made childish hearts glow and did it lose its luster at the weight of mature feelings bloomed? Does the severity of love make you skiddish, so much that you force yourself to flee from feelings that might hold you responsible? For me it was as if my cup runneth over and the next was drained empty at one viscious swallow.
You’ve jumped ship and left the crew looking towards the helm.
And now there’s a mutiny as the ship founders on a muddy shoal.
I am marooned. Come back, rechart these waters, find me where I lay. Sit by my side and explain what cannot be. The eloquence of words, perhaps would be lost, I’d leave them aside for a drink of clear water. I’ve poured over what man may know of heartache and reason and have come out none the wiser.
Lest the moment be lost forever, kiss me once more…I may yet show you how I still cherish the golden illumination of your mouth as spirit may pass to spirit in the ancient custom of love.


A Jilted Lover Promotional

Towards a City

Bounding and rolling,
Tracks of iron-steele,
Going west,
Following the line,
With my eye,
From village to town,
And town to city;
The vains I shoot through,
Rough, dirty,
Seeming to work under,
A geography and history,
The crushing and grinding,
Locomotion,
Seems to paint all citys and towns,
A dirty and unwashed smudge,
I follow the track that winds,
And cuts through streams,
Farms, parishes, ploughs,
To old rivals,
Medieval, ancient glory,
Through dirt and moss,
Boot and ramshackle-way,
Bounding and shaking-
Slicing through the fray.


A Jilted Lover Promotional

Some Call Her a Tempest

I closed my eyes,
As a leviathan splintered this mortal vessel,
With a crack of thunderous jaws-

A painted pair of ruby, red lips,
And a warm summer breeze found me;
I was sinking,
An icy, tidal force.

A solemn and austere face guided,
This orchestra-destruction;
An explosion of pummeling waves,
Broke my bones,
And collapsed my lungs-
Some sailors call her a tempest.

I felt lightness at the thought,
Of a sunshine-snow,
that is your hair,
It canvasses and drapes over,
Your swan like neck,
And slender, feathered shoulders.
But your eyes,
They are like the sea.
I awoke mid-peril,
To grapple the rigging;
How I flung to a destroyed mast,
To overcome,
To rechart another course-
I was left cursing a fate-ridden gale.

With bitterness,
As salt mingled with hot blood,
I closed my eyes,
To paint ruby lips.
Clinging to a summer breeze,
I was riven asunder,
To the darkness of nothing,
The twilight of sinking.


A Jilted Lover Promotional

Harbinger of Despair

 I’ve puzzled over,

And have not ceased,

The wonderment of you-

How is it your right to love me,

Then leave me,

In a way befitting a thief;

To have honourably dueled,

Then mercilessly slaughtered?

As if to write a note,

On the night stand,

And slip away ‘fore,

the morning sun:

Dear Lover,

I have another,

And care to tell you naught,

For all the joy and satisfaction you have known,

was on only marginally stirred,

In me!

Revel in misery

Rake hot coals,

The warmth you’ve had,

Rests with another,

Go away,

Be off and settle alone.

Oh, wicked thing,

Cruel harbinger of despair!

Kick off my crown,

Smear mud on my face,

bruise my lips,

and cut my tongue-

All these things,

For Christ sake,

Cannot be undone.

By leaving me in the dark,

That is your absence of you,

I’ve fallen and pierced myself through,

With a sword deigned,

for those unworthy of you;

Look now how it has turned,

And in my breast.

Tell me that it’s alright.

And kneel by myside .

Pull out the sword-

Cut off my head!

And I could expire from your life,

With decency.

T’would be better,

To die with you in my eyes,

Than to languish among,

Cold, wet stone,

ebbing away lonesome…

But lowly,

and with my dying breath,

It was you I loved the best.”

 

The Sovereignty of The Green

 She is beautiful,

And she’s is sad,

I said,

And I turned to look away,

Across a great distance,

That was The Sea,

What is it of Emerald eyes,

That stare across rolling hills,

And wild callagh

Or blue eyes that gaze,

Steadily into a cerulean,

Summer;

Soft clouds to rest my head upon.

The deepness of solitude,

The quietude of melancholy,

That steals over the heart

When I am not in your presence.

Dear Lady I have loved,

Do not scorn me for our separation,

For it was forced by the guile of another;

A circumstance that was not mine to control.

Now,

The Sea appears calmer,

The distance not as great as it once was,

And your beauty,

Charming all the more.

Allow me to love you,

For I have known you,

For so very long,

Bring me to your hearth,

Warm me by your fire,

And tell me your sorrow,

And of your brothers and sisters dear,

I wish them to be mine,

And be it so,

When one trespasses against you,

They too trespass against me.

And when I’m tired and must rest my shield,

Play the harp and refresh my tongue,

With the waters of your ever lasting honour,

And lay me down content in the heather,

Alongside thee,

Forever.