Section I: Artemis' Poetry
A collection of rancid poetry, rotting in his mind
It peels away, day by day, until it leaves nothing left
He begins anew, building song, collecting surreal story
The things that haunt him most are the things he will not worry.
Shadows Run Deep
Shadows go deeper in the mind than anywhere else in earth and heaven
They hide the most vile of expressions
They cloak the most hideous of deeds
When the silent stain then spreads, it corrupts the mind
Instead of leaving dead things where they lie
They follow me behind.
Lies split the air, smelling ranker than a room full of homeless people huddled in an abandoned inn
Some say love, others say treasure
A promise red as a whore's henna nails
Such a thing no one ever intended to keep
Tucked away like a colored stone, almost currency in the hands of a forgotten child
To a mouth that has never known food
A promise might be worth eating.
Is it wholesome?
Is it filling?
One carcass of a dog, split from chest to groin and robbed of its organs for a poor man's stew.
Two men fighting with their dull iron swords, weathered long past usefulness, their tempers good as new.
Three women found, buried in the rubble of a building that collapsed, stones too weak, finally, to hold themselves together.
Counting days, counting time,
Sticks and stones, marks in dirt,
Counting, keeping, counting, keeping, watching suns that fall and rise
One more reason to despise the endless work of living
Clouds that travel across the skies
Counting days and counting time.
Four fruits stolen from a stand, four fruits exchanged for one right hand, saving screams for next time, saving tears for gold.
Five thieves watching, thinking, next time they will not be so bold.
Six merchants all conferring, too busy to watch their wares
Seven bandits robbing homes.
Eight guards forcing beggars aside, breaking bones and tearing skin
Nine wives screaming after a convict, all voices as one,
Where are you taking him?
Counting time to pass the time, counting, counting, counting, counting…
Ten months since leaving home
Eleven days since seeing food
Twelve times fingers almost got caught
Thirteen ways to lose it all.