Dragon’s Desire

Coinage around my room
Like I’m a dragon
Who swallows diamonds

Absent-mindedly
Leaving change
Around the place

I need the best
Rarest, hardest
Minerals to keep

To armor soft spots
And to keep piling
As a treasure den

Altering states
From weak to strong
As I consume more

Trinkets and valuables
In order to lure
My armored prey

Will

It’s when the stars
Fade with rising dawn

My plate armor
Is dented
And punctured

Bloody and ruined

Sword and shield
Drop from hands
Fatigued, I keel

With broken endurance
And no longer will
Find a mythic will
To avenge myself

Yet you will

Take the weaponry
And dawn the visage
I once wore

Fighting a freakish foe
In my name

Fierce and fiery
A haze
Passion on display

A will to be feared
A fury in soul flame

Armor Gone

Every day
You reach out to me
To touch
And unlash the straps
That keep my cuirass
Fastened to my chest

You feel the lines
On my helmet
From scrapes and scraps
Alike

And still you’re there
To take my blood iron
Bullets and unchamber them
Slowly

My weapons
You take and toss aside
Hands brushing mine
And they feel so soft

No wounds or trauma
Have frightened you away

You’d rather wait to be
Able to tend to them

Gunshot wounds
Bruises
Cuts that soak
Through my clothes

I’m not
A knight in
Shining armor
But I am something

With whatever ammunition
A lover, not a fighter
I sit and let you stitch
My conscious back together

After I’ve been defeated
Time and time again

More armor gone
A helmet removed

And see now that
My face is pockmarked
By shot pellets
Of emotion

Still you do not
Call me scarred

How do I go out
And combat myself
And deserve to come
Back to you

I couldn’t say
How lucky I am
As I sit quietly
And you look at me

With those lovesome
Eyes
And bandages
In your precious hands

So struck am I
That it’s hard to find
A correct way to
Say thank you

Old blood opens and
You donate your own
To enter the fray
Inside of me

Ever so happy
To be able to be
Conquered
By you again

Shto36u3

Hot shot
Shiny new
Centurion
Upon the
Battlefield

Pristine gleaming
Gladius and mask
Frozen forever in
Dismay As

He looks with
Contempt At
Me and my
Older ways

He will kick
And punch with
Steel glove
Stabbing

With sword
To quickly
Kill me
I

Evade and
Block
And laugh
The same as

When any blade
Strikes my
Armor plate
“Come

on!”
I say
To intimidate
And urge him to

Swing
So that
I may
Parry

“Ad mortem
Inimicus!” As
He stumbles back
Not expecting to

Be
Now under
Attack
And

With a mighty
Pole axe
I rear over
Head And
Smash his
Helmet

He’s dazed
I hit and
Push forward
I shove and

Manhandle
Ax blade
And
Spike handle

With strength
I
Command
And

Now
I
Demand
Respect

While he
Bleeds
Frightened
And winded

I hope
Now
That he
Sees

It is
The
Law that
I bring

As
I

Impale him
And he rises
And writhes
Now he will

Recognize
As I
Yell
In reprise

“I am
The
Lawbringer”

And the once
Cocksure
Centurion
Has been disposed

Of
And
lands
Hard on

Scuffed ground
Swathed
With his life
Having

Gambled his life
And having
Been shut
Down

Now he
Knows
My moniker
For I

Am
The
Lawbringer

Death6ish

We planned out harvest
In August
And we knew what we
Were doing

Blue skies
Rich soil
Hills like
Gold foil

Yet this doesn’t feel like home
To us
This endless sunshine and white
Clouds in the ocean blue

We work with what we’ve wrought

When the weather rots
And clouds enrage
At the prospect
Of having not rained

These are the seeds we’ve got
Growing relicous vines and fruit
With a taste that makes cheeks hot
Against an autummnal chill

These seeds that grip and root
Entrench and shoot
Through the dirt
And cobble rocks

We work with what we’ve wrought

Cherry plot ploughshares
Beaten into swords to defend
Our fields from thieves
Looking to steal our bounty

The fields are our quarry
In September it’s us and no worry
Some fruits are for harvest
Ripe already

Skies tint a poppy hue
Days are shorn and more rouge
Seeds sprout everywhere
In bloom the dirt’s deluged

This is our joyous spring
Our warm summer
And our jolly winter
All in this fallish weather

Meadows in infras and yellows
And fierce copper fields
Rife with ripe-wroughts
Shimmering in somber breeze

We work with what we’ve wrought
Into October
Still

When the wind cannot still
And our ploughs
Beaten back again will
Work the ground now colored
Charred and hazel

November and

Swords stand like gargoyles
In the eroding chill
Above a bounty of copper crops
Bearing delicious hot fruit

Our livelihood and sustenance
Our
Brave vermillion
And
Valiant harvest

No matter what
Come bad crops
Or storms nonstop
Hell or high water

We
Work
With
What
We’ve
Wrought

Honorable

Two knights stood in the center of a burning village. The raid had taken place, and the defenses were overwhelmed. Somehow, when the attacking force moved on, one knight from those numbers had remained. That knight had yellow paint on his helmet. The other knight had no paint on his armor. He belonged to no army, as he was a man of the people who once lived here in the village.

The two held their longswords pointed at each other, fifteen feet from each other. They circled each other savagely like there were prey to one another. Two predators battling in the food chain. One would enter. One would leave. No holds barred.

Precious seconds passed. The two men were waiting for the other to attack, to parry or perhaps counter attack. Every movement was intentional.

Suddenly, Yellow began to rear up with his blade as Nopa went to guard, but Yellow stopped himself. “Wait, wait…” He stepped back and lowered his sword, and it seemed to sag in foolishness. “I can’t do this if you’re going to be an asshole about it.”

Nopa also lowered his sword. “Fucking what? Me be an asshole? You’re the one that attacked us!” He pointed his sword at Yellow. “Your whole army swarmed and picked my people off like they were mosquitoes!”

“Yeah, I know,” Yellow looked around, noting the dozens of dead bodies that were strewed wantonly around the area. Fires freshly burned, taking down the structure of the village’s nearby mead hall as he looked around. The ash drifted up in a small, sad plume. “We came in, basically destroyed the place, but I mean… I wasn’t a dick about it. I had all clean kills.”

“What in the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Nopa’s helmet shook in outraged confusion.

“All my kills were honorable. I didn’t kill any civilians, and when I did kill soldiers, I did it with my sword. Honorable kill.” Yellow noted the blood that stained his armor, moving his hands from up to down to make a point.

“Is there any difference?”

“Well, yeah.” Yellow pointed to a nearby fire. “You see that right there?”

“The fire your men set on the old pastor’s hut? Yeah, I see it.”

“I’m not going to throw you into it.”

“What?” Nopa was completely speechless to this dialect.

“I promise, no matter how close you get to that fire during the fight, I won’t throw you into it.” Nopa turned his head to look at the withering blaze. “That’d be dishonorable.”

Nopa paused to take this in, looking at the burning hut and then back to Yellow. “Thanks..?”

“And I can’t be fighting you like this if you’re going to be an asshole and throw me into it. Get what I mean?”

“Because that would be dishonorable?”

“Right! So you’ve got it, then!”

“I guess so,” Nopa shrugged. “But I still don’t get it. You don’t fight for survival?”

Yellow leaned on the hilt of his sword, the blade sinking slightly into the harsh ground. “Why would I do that?”

“Because maybe someone wants to kill you! Or, say, an army fucking overruns your home!”

“I fight because it’s my job, man. I don’t give a shit about these stupid villages.” He stopped himself, and raised his hand in apology, “No offense.”

“So people are paying people to fight battles for them?”

Yellow corrected, “Professional people.”

Nopa started again, “Yes… paying professional people to fight battles for them. And you are one such professional person.”

“Why yes!” Yellow gleefully replied. “It’s just a job to me. But you’re the last one in this village, so my job here’s not over yet.”

“Why didn’t you just leave with all the others? They left about fifteen minutes ago!”

“Well, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t had a nice duel in some two years. Saw you, and, if I do say so myself, you look competent, so I decided to wait until every one else left and you crawled out of your hiding place so we could duel!”

“I don’t get it. You think this is fun? All this bloodshed over gold tender? You could have bashed my head in while I was unconscious and made just as much in coin.”

“Ah, but that would have been…” Yellow motioned for Nopa to complete his thought, like a mentor. “… Dishonorable.”

“I see.”

Awkward silence followed as each of the knights idly kicked dirt and looked around at the burning surroundings. Yellow had leaned off of his sword and now simply stood up, unarmed with his hands on his waist. Nopa stood still slightly guarded. The wooden walls of one side of the village were mangled and broken. More structures collapsed from the fire. Flies started to gather on the bodies. Yellow smacked one that landed on his hand.

“So, uh…” Nopa spoke after a moment. “We gonna do this?”

Yellow looked up, wiping the fly’s corpse from his gauntlets. “Why of course!” He grabbed the hilt of his sword and overdramatically pulled it from the earth. “As long as you’re not going to be a dick about things! Steel on steel only! You versus me! Mano a mano!”

“Fine, for Christ’s sake, steel on steel. Honorable. Come on, then.” They both assumed ready positions again, circling each other.

“Deus vult!” Yellow yelled, and lunged at Nopa. Nopa casually stepped out of the way, pushing Yellow’s back as he went. Yellow ran uncontrollably off of a ten foot drop, his plate armor clattering loudly as he landed. Nopa walked over to the edge to look down at the other knight. “What happened to honor?!” Yellow stood to dust himself off, seemingly unphased from the fall. He would have been unable to get over the small ledge in all that heavy armor.

“You were between me and a way out of here.” Nopa turned from the ledge and walked away. “And I’m not the one bitching about it, you loser!” He turned back for a moment and continued walking away, to cup his hands around his mouth and yell even louder, “Be less shit next time!”

“You chancer!” Yellow shouted after him, trying and failing to scale the tiny ban. “Are you kidding me?! After that whole monologue about honor! You don’t play by the rules! War is supposed to be like a sport! Bet you don’t have a duke that gives you a wage, you absolute bastard! Your mother would be so disappointed that her son wouldn’t stand and fight! Your father should be ashamed, and your sister…” And his cries faded out of earshot as Nopa left the village, leaving the honorable man complaining in the dust.

(PDF version, 2/28/17: Honorable)

Borrowed Arms

Borrowed Arms

Hoist up a shield
Breath deeply in
Wrap up your hands
With leather and

Withdraw a sword from the field
Of fallen knights and heroes

Borrow a helmet
That doesn’t fit
Put on two boots
Each sized too big

These are epilogues that were writ
After strength and stress of heroes shed

Take a knight’s place
On a beaten path
Rise up to face
A mythic’s wrath

These are the battles up to fate
Duels for the people that legends make

Memento

Memento

After the beast was slain
I dropped my lance and shield

And as it lay writhing
I stood upon its chest afield,

Gripped one of its great tusks
And wrenched free a tooth from its maw,

Holding it from behind gauntlets.
A jagged blade of bone and dread,

A trophy ripped free in victory
From a monster laid broken and dead.