Step Aside ‘Rona

Step aside, ‘Rona
You got another thing comin’
If you think you can pull
The ‘pocalypse I’m runnin’
You got your big mass closures,
got your big mass graves
But you ain’t got nothin’ on Climate Change

You’re an airborne plague?
Yeah well air’s my element
Gassin’ the atmosphere and I’m killin’ it
Float like a butterfly,
Get hit like a gale
Gonna blow your little bubbles off the Beaufort Scale

You got funeral pyres?
I got pyrocumulus
Summer hellfire gonna roll in ruinous
Burn your bridges,
Gonna boil that tar
Virus got a driver but you won’t get far

You’re up the creek
And the sea’s gonna follow you
Storm surge swampin’ out
Your R-nought ratio

Cities’ll sink
And the livin’ll leave em
Death on their breath
But they ain’t gonna breathe it
Two degrees C
In decade 3
It ends with me
And you better believe it!

First Principles

You dare to study my unnatural art?
Then lift your gaze beyond this mortal sun
To sight the truer light, that stood apart
Before the stars; that stands when light is done.

Ascend the endless stair, to wander there
And scent the sublime flowers of the mind
That set their seeds in thought. Nor cruel, nor kind
The awful beauty of what is, is theirs.

Nor tend the seedlings with a heavy hand.
You’d shatter silicon to common sand
Before these blooms obey a rough command.

You cannot drink ambrosia. Let it flow,
Bend bud and bough where ichor pools below.
E’en in this bower, bow to what is so.

Apostate

A loyal steed, a silver sword, a light to limn my brow
I left behind: betrayed, and bent, and gone.
Cast from the precipice, book, bell and gown
And rode, red-handed, with the dogs of war.

By moonless night I trod, a murderer.
Buried my sin unsaid, unsalved, ungrieved.
Broke faith: I burned its sons who still believed
And shut away the screams until they ceased.

Ahead of hosts I marched, and desolate
My hoof and boot and belly left the land.
Save scarce oases. Green stains on the sand
Where bone and basalt rise in parapets.

What horse’s tongue has touched my tainted skin?
Why do I dream of silver in my hand?
Why do I wake with sunlight on my brow?

Origin Story

Ensure your mask is tight upon your face
Before you save: a kitten up a tree,
A city’s soul. The heroes go to waste
Who bear a heart too bold; who breathe too free.

Not for your racing heart, your rushing breath
Upon the precipice; but for the weary hands,
That knit, and nurse a fire at the hearth
And bear the weight of woe when it comes home.

Nor let your care relax when once alone:
With bleach and soda clean what crossed your mouth,
Stomach a kind and cleansing sustenance
And sleep with mask and costume close at hand.

The rampage runs, unchallengéd, uncowed.
Nothing but facelessness can save us now.

The End of Supervillainy

A star, on the tallest tower
Raised by the citizens’ pride
In the heart, and the arm, and the shoulder
That waits against need in the sky

A lab, in the lowest of basements
From the scum of the sewers to raise
A lance, for the bubble of courage;
A lens, for the gorgonous gaze.

A night when the sky is a-thunder.
Find, midst the mud and the rain
A face, with a breath and a pulse
To carry the glass and the glaive.

Climb, when the hour is darkest
Crouch at the zenith, alone.
Leap. Hope. Lash out; and die falling
Lost in the city of stone.

Unfallen

Here were the towers tall, their burnished domes
Brazed mirror-bright against the wild horde.
Here we learned strength. Faced fire, trial, and woes,
Wrought wonders, and the grave was our reward.

But what a grave! A temple to the few,
With golden statues to each lost, last stand.
Our legends glorious, or tales true
Inscribed on every stone eternal stand.

Still, we its wardens take today our leave.
The war has shifted. Now strategic plans,
Too grand for blooded blades, demand we grieve.
Our fort, unconquered, falls to lesser hands.

So raze the glories! Snuff the burnished glow!
From gilded rubble nightmares, now we go.

Shadow of the Host

Upon your friends list, leave an empty line
In memory of the voices stuck on mute,
Whose cause the imp and angel both malign —
Yet neither knows — yet neither needs refute.

Once statesmen spoke, and papers spread their words
To frame, in every soul, a fixed debate.
Now headless feeds writhe into forms absurd,
To mock, appeal, cajole, and obfuscate.

Where once the papers came by ones and twos,
And all the village knew what each decreed,
The screen hides hydra-headed multitudes
Behind a name that swears to every creed

And yet is silent where it matters most.
What choice, what balance, in the screaming host?

“All That Can Be Done”

Once in ten thousand times, a life is lost
That cuts across a column of the free.
The thousandth family grieves the lethal cost.
The State regrets; a hundred friends agree.

By ten percent, the rank and rule expand
To take revenge on Luck and laughing Fate.
They amputate Misfortune’s bloodied hand,
And halt the wheel that sped to Pluto’s gate.

Now railings run beside the winding track.
The deer that gambolled learns a pace sedate.
A toddler dances on the cliff, steps back —
and firm hands snatch her from the pull of Fate.

On Fortune’s wheel, the skull spins past again.
She laughs. “One in a hundred thousand, then?”

The Spell Component Pouch

The Art is complex. Any single spell
Demands its own well-chosen stones and herbs.
Preparing these, as wizards once knew well,
Was boredom fit to strain the strongest nerves.

Great spells were wrought, to end this patient pain.

Now would-be wizards only need a bag.
You reach within, and ask in language plain
For gem or feather, leaf, or lump of slag.
No-one need wonder whence these tokens come.

But I was curious. I learned a charm
To find where any object’s path begun.
I swear that I was not intending harm!

The source I found: six sorted heaps in Hell.
Those dread gates crack again with every spell.

The spell component pouch has an interesting history in D&D.