Love

Love is,
but a whisper,
but a whimper,
but a word,

But a sequence,
but a cycle,
but a series,
but a chord,

But a moment,
but an instant,
but a second,
but a spell,

But a teacher,
but a student,
but a mentor,
but a hell.

Love is,
found tomorrow,
found today,
forever more,

Is a heartache,
is a serpent,
is a headache,
is a whore.

Love is,
but a perfume,
but a fragrance,
but a smell,

But a turmoil,
but a battle,
but a conflict,
but a cell.

Love is,
contraceptives,
so subjective,
thoughts abound,

So elusive,
so conducive,
so conclusive,
does confound.

Yet the silence,
met by violence,
does deceive,
the mortal soul,

In the morning,
comes the warning,
what was halved,
can now be whole.

Love is,
Perfect,
Love is,
Simple,

Love is,
Tempting,
Love is,
Fine.

Love is,
Awesome,
Love is,
Terror,

Love is,
Special,
Love is,
Mine.

The Voyage of the Leaves

The leaves, first silent,
Jump but a foot or two,
Scurrying past the dormant grass,
Across the morning dew.

The leaves, brown, wrinkled, weightless,
Skip over naked stones,
Raising the alarm,
Casting out the hollow tones.

The wind, lazy, curious, autumn wind,
Incites the leaves to dance,
Disturbs their calm surrender,
Imbues the scene’s romance.

The horizon, vacant, clear, beyond us,
Hurls its crimson claws,
Spits its lavender climax,
Begs the eye to pause.

The tyrant, attempts to still the ashes,
Attempts to claim the breeze,
Performs his fatal cha-cha,
Demands we bend the knee.

The vulgar, slack-jawed, voyeur,
Hears her tragic moan,
Feels the wind come whispering,
Despite his cursed throne,

The leaves, encompassing the moment,
Blow past the wilted heir,
Blow past the fetid waters,
Under the watchman’s glare.

My First Rejection

The title of this post is not entirely true.  I have been rejected in love, several times.  I have been passed up for sports teams, I have failed midterms and lost the respect of colleagues.  I have even ruined a few friendships.

But as far as my writing goes, this was the first time I had ever submitted a piece of mine to a legitimate publication.  And I was rejected on a technicality.  It seems that they do not consider any work that has been previously published on a personal blog.  According to the editor this is a common rule held by almost all publications.  They want first rights for the printed material.

This is kind of bad news for you guys, because it means that from now on I can’t post my stories on this blog if I want to submit them, so all the really good stuff will have to stay hidden from your eyes.  It is also bad news for me, because it means that my Tracking the Wind story is no longer submitable.

Anyway, I am not too discouraged.  I guess I will just have to keep trying with other stories.

The Mountain’s Birth

A mighty crash,
envelops all, encompasses the earth.
Two continents, whose paths now crossed,
splash their limestone shells
upon the violet skies.
No cloud is safe
from the piercing razor’s edge,
found within their movements.
The momentum that has shaped us,
will not be halted so easily.

Direct, yet crass, the jagged stones emerge.
Toppling life,
upending peace, their tusks of marble
hewn across what once was
rolling prairie wheat,
a pasture, lonely, solemn, sweet.
Nature seems distraught,
for they’ve disturbed the weary
whispering willows, thrust into the atmosphere
despite protestations.

But not through time,
for timely measurements should all but cease
the movements of the granite beast.
When witnessed by the lonely hermit,
standing on his lonely beach,
the image freezes,
the journey seems complete.
If only he could comprehend,
that God herself has colored this,
the lavish canvas he calls Mountain.

Tracking the Wind – Part 4

Continued from Part 3

“You should have come to me sooner,” the elderly man dressed in tattered woolen robes scolded.  He poked and prodded and pulled Orion’s arm in all directions while attempting to decide how badly it was damaged.

“That hurts, you know,” Orion cried out after several misplaced finger jabs sent a new spasm of pain shooting up his elbow.

“Of course it does!”  The healer looked upon Orion as if he was completely mad, then proceeded to jam his fingers into the younger man’s sore flesh again.  “You broke it quite thoroughly.  I will need to prepare a potion of hornwort and secure the forearm with a splint.  You won’t be able to use it properly for at least another month.”

Orion knew that this would be the prognosis, yet he could not help but be disappointed by it.  As the haggard old wizard tottered off to his supply room to fetch the ingredients for the potion, Orion felt a twinge of defeat once more.  He knew that a month in this little hamlet would be enough to drive him towards lunacy.

He resolved on the spot to do what he could to resume tracking the wind as soon as the sun rose the next morning.  His arm had not helped him much the first time he encountered the wind, why should he need to use it now?

“Drink this twice a day for the pain and try not to fall again.  You really should have come to me sooner, the swelling is quite out of control.  No matter,” he said, tugging harshly on the strap he was using to secure the splint and causing Orion to howl in pain once more, “I suppose I will just have to tie the bindings tighter.”

With that, Orion paid the healer and was on his way.  Determined not to let his injury slow him down, the young adventurer returned to The Blooming Heather to nail down his strategy.  He would not allow the wind to overcome him a second time.

*              *              *

He awoke at the crack of dawn, awkwardly stuffing his few possessions into his canvas backpack with his one good hand.  The pain in his broken arm had not diminished as he had expected, but rather had grown considerably.  He had avoided the healer’s potion up until this point, worried that it would make him groggy, but now decided that he needed to focus on the journey ahead and not the throbbing in his arm.  He took a small sip of the potion and grimaced as he swallowed the foul liquid.

As he closed the door to his room and moved down the staircase he was already thinking of his plan to capture the wind.  While he was meditating the day before he remembered a crucial piece of advice he had received from his mentor near the beginning of his training, several years ago.

You cannot merely hold the wind in the palm of your hand, like a grain of sand.  No, in order to hold the wind you must open your lungs, spread your arms  and intone her beauty, as the red robin might do in spring.

Orion was beginning to think that he had discovered his error the previous time around.  Up until now he had assumed that if he presented himself to the wind as someone of pure heart she would be convinced of his worth and allow him to make contact.  But in so doing, Orion had exposed himself to all of the Elemental’s scrutiny and rendered himself naked under her piercing gaze.

He was beginning to realize that what he needed to do was to entrance the Elemental.  Ensnare her with his charm and grace.  Evoke the wind to come to him, by softly lulling her into a position of serenity.  He needed to use the magic of charisma to draw her in to his embrace.  Orion would sing to the wind and in this manner win her affections.

The minutes turned to hours as the road dwindled away to a small animal track.  Orion turned to survey the progress he had made so far and could just barely see  the small town nestled in the valley below.  He was quite satisfied with the pace he was keeping and had almost forgotten about his broken arm.

He had yet to see many signs of the wind herself, but this did not trouble him too much.  He knew that she was in the vicinity and he also knew that she preferred the crest of the mountain to its trough.  He was nearing an altitude where  she could be  expected to appear just as the sun began to set.  He would set up camp here, and resume his search in the morning at first light.

As Orion settled down into his tent and closed his eyes the throbbing in his arm began once more.  He riffled through his canvas bag for the potion and took another swig of the rank concoction.  Despite its vile taste, it did seem to help with the pain.

Just as the young man was beginning to drift off to sleep he noticed that his tent was swaying vigorously around his head.  At first he thought nothing of it, but soon he began to worry that one of the spikes used to secure the tent had come out of the ground.  It was true that he was fairly high up the side of the mountain, but the wind should not have been that strong.  Soon the sides of the tent were whipping back and forth with such ferocity that he began to wonder if it would be ripped right off of the ground and hurled down the mountainside.  Orion decided to investigate, and stuck his head outside the tent.

There she was, the raging wind Elemental, hovering outside the entrance to his tent.  Her eyes glowing a deep emerald color, the wind opened her mouth and produced a sound that turned Orion’s stomach upside down.  The Elemental had apparently tracked him down and had worked herself into a furious rage before the young adventurer had a chance to prepare himself.

There was no time to consider his next move, he needed to act.  He already knew what he needed to do, so he quickly jumped from his tent and ripped open his flannel nightshirt, exposing his chest.  He held his arms out wide, sucked in as big a breath as he could afford and began to sing a lullaby to the wind.

“As the stone skips o’er the water,
She believes her lover found.
Moving past the broken altar,
To the shelter underground.

“How the leaves betray the motion,
How the song betrays the sound,
She has lost her one devotion,
To the shelter underground.

Orion could see that it was beginning to work.  The storm before him had at first thirsted for blood, but now it seemed as if she was listening, contemplating the sound.  The wind still howled around his head and his tent still threatened to lift off the ground, but the look held in the eyes of the Elemental had softened.

“What the morning dew despises,
Where the mists have lain their crown,
Our dear daughter soon arises,
From the shelter underground.

Seemingly mesmerized by the sound, the Elemental began to creep towards Orion, ever so slightly.  Her eyes began to glaze over and her lips parted as if to join in Orion’s sad lament.  Not daring to stop now, he continued with his lullaby hoping only that his excitement would not show upon his face.

“Since the age of dreams found broken,
Since the dawn when he was drowned,
Slowly fall the tears unspoken,
To the shelter underground.

“As the breeze moves past our daughter,
She deceives that he’ll be found.
But he is lost under the water,
He is buried underground.

As Orion finished the last verse of his song he realized that the Elemental was within his grasp.  The  giant sapphire upon her brow shimmered in the moonlight as the maelstrom continued to howl around the unlikely pair.  He knew that if he could just touch the sapphire, even if only for a moment, they would become fused to each other forever.  He needed only to close the small gap left between them and he would conquer the wind and become a master of her mysteries.

Afraid to break the spell that his song had cast upon the wind, Orion hesitated for just long enough to see a teardrop roll down her shimmering cheek.  Overcome with an overwhelming urge to comfort the beautiful creature before him, he moved his hand towards her ethereal face, reached out and wiped the tear from her skin.

“You are the one,” she whispered to him.

Orion was left stunned by the soft caress of the Elemental’s voice and did not know how to respond.  Unable to think of anything else, he dropped down to his knees and bowed his head in reverence to the tempest before him.  When he raised his head again he saw that the Elemental had removed her tiara and was holding it out to him.

As he reached out to take the precious jewel from her outstretched hands, he could not help but shed a tear himself.  He had finally convinced the wind of his worth.  He had bared his soul to her and offered her everything and in return she offered him her greatest gift.  The gift of the wind.

The End

Please take the time to comment on this piece if you enjoyed it. I am hoping to submit this short story to be included in an online Magazine and would like to use this blog to receive feedback on the style and substance of the narrative. Any constructive criticisms or editing comments will be appreciated and considered. Thanks in advance for your help with this!

Introduction

I would like to take a moment to introduce my first novel.

This project is ongoing and will hopefully one day be published by a real publishing house. One of the main goals of this blog is to both inspire me to write more frequently and to build an audience for what I hope will become a story that resides close to your heart. I find I perform better under pressure and knowing that there is a group of people that are actively waiting to read the newest update on my novel will be just the push I need to keep me on track.

My new friends, I present to you the first of my many offerings:

Taming the Tempest
Book One
of
The Elementalist Epoch

This story will follow a similar direction as the short story that I have presented to you, Tracking the Wind, except instead of 5,000 words it will be closer to 100,000.  The premise will be essentially the same, however.  In my novel we will follow two timelines instead of one, each set 1,500 years apart.  The older timeline will trace the journey of a young boy who has been given the impossible task of guarding the world’s greatest treasure; the knowledge contained in an ancient book of spells that bestows upon the reader the power to control the elements.  The present timeline will follow our hero, Kanduin, as he attempts to locate the lost knowledge and become the first Elementalist in over a thousand years by hunting down the wind Elemental and harnessing the powers of the tempest.  His ultimate goal in the series will be to utilize the great forces of Nature to restore the balance that has disappeared throughout the land.  Sadly, the Emperor of Quanis, our hero’s greatest foe, has all but destroyed the land in his quest to pilfer its natural resources.  Kanduin cannot allow this to continue and is motivated by the myths of days long past, the Legends of the Elementalists.

I am quite excited about this project and I hope that I can get some of you excited by it as well.  As always, comments, critiques and editing advice will be more than welcome.  I thank you in advance and I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

Tracking the Wind – Part 3

Continued from Part 2

Orion had precious little time to react.  The sorcery came to the tip of his tongue almost unbidden.  He had one option at this moment and that was to slow his fall.  The wind Elemental had taken him over a hundred feet into the air and if the young adventurer was not able to cast his spell in time, he would certainly die.

Forcing his lips to mimic the song of the meadowlark, Orion spun his magik through the tapestry of the empty spaces before him.  Summoning the wings of the heavens, he managed to lighten his weight just enough to feel the rush of wind against his cheeks slow.  The spell would have almost worked had he not slammed into the ancient oak tree, the upper branches smashing his jaw and tearing at his palms.  He bounced once, twice then cracked his head off the trunk of the massive tree before landing hard at its roots and losing consciousness.

*              *              *

The moonlight pierced the fog of his scattered brain.  As he blinked himself awake, Orion slowly became aware that he had been unconscious for most of the day and well into the night.  Shivering, he tried to retrieve his bearings and piece together the events from the day before.  He knew that he had failed in his quest, but he was not entirely sure why.  The cold, snow covered roots which he lay upon numbed his body and dulled the ache in Orion’s back, but could not help to diminish the sadness in his heart.  This was not the way he had envisioned his first meeting with the Elemental.

Of course, he had known that the Elemental would present a challenge unlike any he had ever encountered, but somewhere deep down he had hoped that the herald of the winds would see that his mission was pure and his heart was true.  He had secretly wished that he would be able to convince the Elemental that he was worthy of the power to call forth the storms.

But obviously this was not so.  The guardian of the wind had seen right through Orion and judged him to be a threat, not an ally.  She had turned upon him faster than he could have ever imagined and her wrath was terrifying.

Full of self-loathing, Orion decided it was time to carry his broken body back to civilization.  He rolled onto his side and made to push himself up onto his knees, but collapsed in a pathetic heap instead.  The pain that shot through his arm caused him to cry out into the unforgiving darkness.  He knew instantly that his arm had been broken in the fall.  He was lucky to have survived it at all, but this fact did not improve his mood any.  He felt utterly beaten when he realized that it was going to take a significant amount of time to recover before he could attempt to track the wind again.

Without his permission, Orion began to weep.  The disappointment of the day turned out to be too much for him combined with the new found pain coursing through his arm.  Perhaps he should just give up now and let the cold take him.  It would not be such a terrible way to die.

It is curious how the wind always settles as the sun completes its journey across the sky and nestles itself to bed in the west.  It is as if she is intrigued by the departure and pauses to admire the beacon that shone with such intensity throughout the day.  Like the setting sun, you will only command the wind’s respect after your have inspired greatness and suffered much along your journey.

The words of his tutor found their way once more into Orion’s thoughts.  He knew that he could not give up now, not when he had come so far.  If there was one thing that the old monk had stressed to Orion during his long hours of training, it was that the wind would not be cowed so easily.

Despite the pain it caused him, Orion forced himself to stand.  He would make the journey back to town and find a healer if it killed him in the process.  This battle was not over yet.

As if to cheer him on, a stiff breeze rose up behind him and helped to push him down the side of the mountain, away for the cliff face where he had suffered his temporary and slightly humiliating setback.   Before long the lights from the town below could be seen in the distance.  Orion allowed himself a feeling of mild satisfaction for the first time since gaining consciousness in the snow.  His legs were still strong and his heart was set upon its mission.  The wind had not seen the last of this adventurer.  But first he would have to do something about his arm.

When he finally arrived in the small hamlet at the bottom of the mountain the only establishment still open to him was the local tavern.  The Blooming Heather was nearly empty at this late hour, but the fireplace had a few logs on it still and the bartender was still pouring, so Orion was pleased enough.

“Are there any rooms left?”

“Aye, there’s one.  Two coppers for the room and another for breakfast,” the barkeep answered hesitantly.  The old man looked skeptically at him and Orion could tell that his face was not a pretty sight.

“How much for a pint?”

The bartender did not so much answer as grunt and point to the crudely painted signboard on the wall with the prices marked out plainly.  Orion ordered a heavy brown ale he had always favored when visiting the northern mountains and settled at a table near the fireplace.  His joints were aching, not only from the fall, but from the cold walk as well.  The warmth of the fire was refreshing, yet it was the ale that provided the real comfort, helping to numb the throbbing pain in his broken arm.

After three or four more pints, Orion tossed the bartender a handful of copper pieces and staggered up the stairs to the single bed that awaited him.  He would have to find the healer in the morning, but for now what he needed was a warm place to rest his battered shell.

To be continued…

Please take the time to comment on this piece if you enjoyed it. I am hoping to submit this short story to be included in an online Magazine and would like to use this blog to receive feedback on the style and substance of the narrative. Any constructive criticisms or editing comments will be appreciated and considered. Thanks in advance for your help with this!

Breathless

Diving, splashing, kicking with fury,
handfuls of water
diverting myself towards the deep,
towards the blackness,
Breathless.

I could surface, I suppose.
What good would come of it?
The deep chills me,
fills me,
Breathless.

The rays of sun betray the surf above,
but I prefer
the tickle of vacated shells
pouring between my fingers,
Breathless.

The darkness calls to me,
demands I should respond,
instead I gasp
mouth overflowing,
Breathless, I am drowned.

The Fire Beckons

campfire

I see the flames as they dance in your eyes,
I hold your hands, I meet your gen’rous gaze,

The glow plays off your skin, the hearth it calls,
Beckons me forth, to stare but for a while.

To turn away seems wrong, a violent crime,
To hold your stare means missing Aries’ blaze.

The Imps that chase the tail of flick’ring fire,
They dart within the flames, loose crackling smile,

I cannot give to you the thing you ask,
My soul despises that which I must seek,

The embers call, the flame burns in my soul,
My love for you is hampered by their roar,

Sweet nothingness is what you ask of me,
I feel ashamed that I could be so weak.

At last I cannot take it anymore,
There is another lust I must explore.

I must turn from you,
‘Tis almost burnt through,

First charcoal, now white,
Soon crimson, new light.

My passions arise from within the fires,
I have lost my love to burning desires.