Nurture

Such sorrow do I feel

For those who never knew

My heart aches for the lost, unloved

And pain that they’ve been through

I’ve tasted life when sour

I’ve sampled it when sweet

True happiness, I tell you

Is who we love and meet

Let not the things around you

Cloud judgment, nor your sight

For life is meant for living

Do not waste it, do not fight

Dance when strings are playing

Kiss under mistletoe

Take this world by hand

And don’t ever let it go

Live with limits, never

Be generous, and love

Do not hold back anything

We know not what’s above

Such sorrow do I feel

For those who never knew

A heart that warms and comforts

Whose love was meant, for you

These Things Matter

In his right hand sat a rifle, pointing at his kin

In the other there was powder, and it was meant for him

Turn the clock back and these two brothers who had played

Never would have seen this coming as they grew and aged

 

What is it that we need? Why must we always fight?

When instead we could be ironing our differences at night?

You know that it’s a feeling, and you know I feel it too

I can’t explain the things I see or things that people do

 

What is it that you’re thinking?

What is it that you’ve seen?

My brother, please don’t let the world get

Caught up in between

 

Every struggle, I have seen it

Every loss, I shall regret

But you and I are here now

And our cause we can’t forget

 

Listen to the violin, its strings are being played

Freedom wasn’t given, there was blood when it was paid

Do not forget the ones who wept to make this sacrifice

Because today we need a way to get back what is right

 

In my right hand sits a pencil, I point it at my kin

If I could write that things are right, you know I would give in

It hurts to know that I can’t though, this world is split in two

And I shall fight until it’s right…because she’d want me to

Wanderlust

Wanderlust, traveler, perhaps even gypsy

So many labels they’ve applied, but in reality

Living life is all she wants, it’s really that simple

Her spirit shines through both her smile, and her cute cheek dimple

Life is meant for living, yes, a thing she truly gets

Singing, dancing, spinning round, she loves without regrets

Always brightening what is dark, this girl, so free of care

Defined by “one day at a time”, she’s happy everywhere

Some may say she’s weak, not strong

But she knows that they all are wrong

She is not lost, like others say

This girl’s just finding her own way

For all the things we say and do

There is but one thing that is true

Life, she says, is nothing more

Than canvas, white, awaiting more

It’s you who gets to fill the blank

And for this chance, we all should thank

This beautiful and wondrous place

For giving us the life it’s graced

Top 10 (Word) Plays

We all know that athletes get highlight reels every week so we can see the coolest plays in a given sport in case we missed them. Well, I thought I’d show some love to the sportsmen/women of word-smithery. Anyone who’s read my work before is fully aware that I’m consumed (and possibly obsessive) over the craft, so I thought this would be a fun little exercise.

What I’ve done is combed through my playlists and such to try and listen for the cleverest uses of language. Basically the most creative puns, double entendres, rarely used words, etc. You know, stuff that makes you think “damn that was a sick line” as you rewind to hear it again.

I never paid attention to this stuff before I got into writing myself, so maybe some of you will appreciate the closer look. And obviously there are like a trillion examples I could list here, so feel free to comment if you have some of your own you like. So without further adieu (in no particular order)!

1. Post Malone – Congratulations

Everything custom like I’m at the border
If you fuck with winning put your lighters to the sky
How can I make cents when I got millions on my mind?  

I really like this dude, because he has an amazing story and worked ridiculously hard to make it. The line when he spins “how can I make sense” by using cents in reference to the money that motivated him is brilliant. It stuck out to me the very first time I heard it, and still does. Oh, and the border line (no pun intended) is a good one too.

2. NF – Real

That nurse came into my room, she told me I’m sick in the head
I’m in hip-hop’s hospital bed with a pad and a pen and a brace on my neck
They told me that I’m never leaving. Why? I am as ill as it gets

Man, NF. What do I even say about this kid? He’s just now (finally) exploding into the rap scene with his recent track Let You Down going triple platinum. The quality and nuance of his writing, coupled with his completely fresh perspective (he’s a Christian rapper who doesn’t curse, rapping about the difficult issues we all face) has placed him in my top 3 all time artists. Plus, he has the darkest backstory ever and the death of his mother is one of his most significant driving forces – precisely the situation I find myself in. This particular line, however, stood out to me because of the clever usage of “ill” as both an ailment and it’s slang interpretation. Quick note, I might actually do one of these Top 10 lists for him alone because his writing is truly on a level that very, very few people can compete with. Expect to see a lot of him in the foreseeable future.

3. Eminem – Killshot

How the fuck can him and I battle?
He’ll have to fuck Kim in my flannel
I’ll give him my sandals
‘Cause he knows, long as I’m Shady he’s gon’ have to live in my shadow

I mean come on. The feud between now-blowing-up (mainstream) newcomer  Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem is one of the most entertaining back and forth’s since Biggie and 2Pac. It’s breathed life back into hip hop, and was a much-needed non-political headline dominating news feeds just weeks ago. While MGK’s Rap Devil was a more than just a solid punch, Em’s Killshot…well, killed it. The track is jam packed with some of his best writing since the old days of Slim Shady. This reference to his original identity literally casting a shadow is simply an incredible bar. Truly great wordplay.

4. Rachel Platten – Fight Song

Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

Yeah, I know. No homo, alright? Its a good song! Anyway, Rachel’s writing in this song (which is about battling depression) is just amazing. Her meaningful lyrics probably explain why Fight Song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top 100, doing precisely what the line here says she would do – make an explosion. What a beautiful story she can now tell, as the impact she achieved inspiring women with this song is huge.

5. Witt Lowry – Let Me Know

I guess that’s what we were taught
We open up depending on how many drinks we have bought
He wants your head and its ironic, he doesn’t care ’bout your thoughts
You’re one more drink away from drowning, feeling empty and lost

I often wonder what really it is that I offer you
At least you feel my touch, even if it’s just when I walk on you
Alone but together, we always make it less than it seems

It’s funny how if you have feelings, you’re weak, so we say less than we mean
Your hands on my chest, you whisper, “What do you want to do next?”
Our generation’s taken love out of sex, and so the question is left      

You probably haven’t heard of Witt before (if you have I applaud you for finding good music). At the moment he’s still more of an emerging YouTuber, but recently has been gaining a lot of traction; starting his first tour just last year. His writing is similar to NF’s in terms of relating to everyday struggles, but he’s a bit more brash with his language. Let Me Know is perhaps one of his hardest-hitting accounts regarding dating as it is today. Witt’s lyrics here pour out his soul’s dark, depressing, yet so bone-chillingly real reflection of how many relationships in today’s world are shallow and superficial. The title and chorus is a reference to his plea for people to share their deepest, genuine feelings with one another – rather than projecting the fake facades we’re all so familiar with. The title & chorus make this evident: if you love me, Let Me Know.

As for these verses, the first line I highlighted probably shouldn’t need much explanation as to the double meaning he achieves; one which I think will particularly resonate with women who can relate to such men. The included the second because its such a concise statement that conveys so, so much. This track hits so hard that you should check it out like, now.

Let’s call it our halftime break: YouTube: Let Me Know by Witt Lowry

6. Hailee Steinfeld & Grey (feat. Zedd) – Starving

I didn’t know that I was starving ’till I tasted you
Don’t need no butterflies when you give me the whole damn zoo
By the way, right away, you do things to my body
I didn’t know that I was starving ’till I tasted you

This is just a really fun song. While the lyrics weren’t written by the artists, they’re still meaningful. Short and simple, that first line takes a creative spin on the concept of our appetite for love. Good writing!

7. Elle King –  Ex’s & Oh’s

I had a summer love down in New Orleans
Kept him warm in the winter, left him frozen in the spring
My, my, how the seasons go by

This is another fun one. The tune is so catchy, in fact, that its easy to overlook the nuance and depth to the writing (also not by the artist). Even the title itself is clever; playing on exes and the XXOO hug/kiss acronym. This verse here I liked because of the juxtaposition between the two seasons and relating them to her treatment of the ex. Very smart scribbling in this track.

8. Julia Michaels – Heaven

Love’s my religion but he was my faith
Something so sacred, so hard to replace
Falling for him was like falling from grace

All wrapped in one, he was so many sins
Would have done anything, everything for him
And if you ask me, I would do it again

It makes sense that Julia’s songs are full of great writing; she began her career in 2010 as a songwriter for major headliners such as Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Justin Beiber, and countless other pop stars. Her growth in the industry has been a heartwarming tale, as in 2017 she finally released her very own single for the first time. The smash hit Issues peaked at #11 on the Top 100, launching her from songwriter in the shadows to singer in the spotlight. Her 2018 single Heaven, featured in (the basically soft-core porn) Fifty Shades Freed, is about the love/hate effect that “bad boys” tend to have on women. The lines I pointed out showcase Julia’s amazing ability of using imagery to convey her feelings and messages. One critic even praised her skills saying that “Michaels manages to summarize the entire Fifty Shades franchise in just two lines: ‘They say all good boys go to heaven / but bad boys bring heaven to you‘”. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on moving forward.

9. The Revivalists – Wish I Knew You

I wish I knew you when I was young
We could’ve got so high
Now we’re here it’s been so long
Two strangers in the bright light

Oh, and I hope you don’t mind
We can share my mood, yeah
Two strangers in the bright light
I wish I knew you, I wish I knew you
Oh, I wish I knew you when I was young

Ugh. This is such a beautiful, yet so freakin’ sad, song. As the music video illustrates, its about two emotionally-hurting elderly people finally chance meeting at the end of their lives; immediately connecting on a visceral level. Written by a team of songwriters, the lyrics capture the full spectrum of feelings during their encounter: inexplicable elation as they spend the whole night dancing under the stars, to tear-jerking sadness felt wishing they had more time to spend together now that they’ve found the person they’ve been searching for their entire lives. Oh, and the “share my mood” line is a really cool one.

If you haven’t heard this one, definitely check it out.

10. Andrew Lloyd Webber – Damned for All Time/Blood Money

I came because I had to, I’m the one who saw
Jesus can’t control it like he did before
And furthermore, I know that Jesus thinks so, too
Jesus wouldn’t mind that I was here with you

I have no thought at all about my own reward
I really didn’t come here on my own accord
Just don’t say I’m
Damned for all time

I couldn’t write a top 10 lyric list without including Andrew. Not only because of the obvious (his use of language is incredible), but this musical has a very special place in my heart because the 1970 original was my mother’s favorite film ever. The nostalgia and memories that sweep over me when I listen to the soundtrack almost always bring a tear or two to my eye. As far as the lines I highlighted, I could just have easily pulled them from any song on the entire album, as they all have powerful wording. This one I liked because it really casts a light on Judas’s perspective, and how he genuinely wanted to do the right thing by turning in the man he idolized. What’s more, the wording reflects that Judas knew exactly how much Jesus loved and understood him, even going as far as to say he knows he will be forgiven for betraying him. Such a very strong portrayal of the depth in their relationship.

So there you have it, peeps. That’s my take on the Top 10 Plays on Words taken from my limited peek into some playlists. There’s so much more I could say, but for brevity I’ll save that for another time.

Thanks for listening, and happy writing!

The Worst Tinder Date Ever

Come here close, come here, see?

“Are these the things you said I need?”

“Wait a second, what is this?”

My trick worked, now you do belong to me

Come on down, don’t be shy

“I think that we should let it be”

Just you wait, you won’t regret

“You’re really starting to scare me”

You worry wart, this room is safe

“Are you just playing hard to get?”

Ask yourself, would I do that?

“I’m not sure sir cause we just met”

Here we are, just take a look!

“This place seems like its cool I guess”

You’re oh so right, now have a seat

“I see the checkerboard and chess”

There there now, let’s have a peek

“A peek at what, you silly man?”

A look at at all the options, see?

Because you’ve walked into my plan

“Wait a minute, what’d you say?”

Don’t fret now darling, just relax

Get yourself a comfy seat

And sit there till I sharp my ax

“Haha man, very funny,

Quit the acting, come here now”

You think I’m acting? Oh my dear

It’s not a joke, I’ll show you how

There we are, buckled in

“The hell is this you’re being weird?”

That’s okay, for very soon

I’ll show you what you all have feared

I think I’ll start with toenails, yes?

Shucking them like oyster shells

Soon you’ll realize who I am

And wish you were in seven hells

But wait right there and say a prayer

You aren’t going to see the light

And when I’m done and had my fun

You’ll wish you hadn’t swiped me right

My Hands

Never idle, on the move, ink pours on the page

The force that drives, a needed guide, is with me on this stage

I try to be an optimist, but sometimes I’m consumed by rage

Thinking of how things are done and how they could so quickly change

Yes all the world’s a stage you know, it’s something that you shan’t forget

The sun and stars would get along if only they’d shake hands and met

Humanity could follow suit, we’ve got the tech but somehow, yet

We manage to exacerbate the very things we should forget

Fossil fuels and everything, you know that it’s all temporary

But tell me more of how it works, and how mining isn’t mercenary

If you truly want to change the world into a gilded sanctuary

Then play the long game not the short, and hire you an actuary

Maybe they can run the numbers, project a truth that you won’t like

Their findings likely point to truth like human beings should take a hike

Sure, we all know that we need to build that interstate or that turnpike

Yet as we do this trees are cut, it’s like the land of the Third Reich

Yes it’s so, the world’s a stage, it’s just a game of checkers, chess

We put our pieces on the board, where we think they’ll help us best

And when we find a new chance to establish ourselves, let me guess

You want to build a military presence just to clean the mess

Sure my man, come on down, bring your gadgets and your tech

Cause I don’t really care what happens as long as I get that big check

You see this is why the world is wasted, all it’s countries are a wreck

We let the people be in charge that only care for their own neck

Maybe one day you’ll wake up, realize that this dream of yours

Doesn’t have to happen this way and you won’t be on all fours

Rising up and taking charge, you’ll fight and finely take these lands

Until then I’ll try my best, just writing with my moving hands

Between the Lines

Never have I ever wanted to fit into normalcy

Every time I thought of it I knew that it just wasn’t me

Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s society

There’s nothing bad of being glad and fitting in the mold, you see

And if I’m being candid it’s a life I’ve started to envy

All the happiness that comes along with having a family

Sometimes I think about the path I’m on and start to think so differently

A wife and kids don’t sound so bad if I’m looking at things honestly

But then I think back to that day, when I got down on one knee

I told her I would change the world, no matter what, I’d make it be

That was the day I started walking, embarking on this journey

Using every tool I could, my sharpest sword is words it seems

This pen and pad are all I know, through time they’ve ‘come a part of me

Now my purpose has been found, it was her death, ironically

That made my prior motives lost, I’m born anew and finely free

To do the things she would have done if she were here and she was me

Understand the “why” behind this, then you’ll know the realest me

I truly do not care for fortune, or the fame that others seek

I want a world where all is fair, without the animosity

I guess I’ll post this poem online, but we all know it won’t matter, see

People want their news to heed the sickness and the tragedy

They care not for the positive; the things that most will never see

I pray one day this changes and we have a new reality

But until then I’ll post this, sure, but no one really cares to read

My Last Supper

*Partial credit to Andrew Lloyd Webber of Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973*

Look at all my trials and tribulations

Sitting in a gentle pool of wine

Don’t disturb me now, I can see the answers

Till this evening is this morning, I’ll be fine

I’ve lost myself in search of something greater

I refuse to say “I quit” and that “I tried”

And when I retire, I can look back at life

So they’ll still talk about me when I’ve died

Always hoped that I would be a writer

Knew I’d make it with her as my guide

And now that I’m here, I can share my heart and soul

On this journey that we call our short life’s ride

Da Boyds

There lives a small famiwee, I call them da Boyds

They are so pwetty and so vewy cute

I love to watch them frolick and pway

Everwy day on my morning commute

They live in a howse made out of straw

It seems the parwents never do rest

All of the time da Boyds fwy through the sky

Looking for woyms for the chicks in their nest

Scars

They’re carried each and every day, they never ever go away. I cannot seem to find a place where minds are clear and thoughts erased. They stay with me, they’re always there, it seems a saddened love affair. My heart is blackened when the air begins to flow with fervent prayer. The things I’ve done, the things I’ve not, they occupy my every thought. The questions that I ask myself are known to me; and no one else. The answers lie in of itself, or maybe on my dark bookshelf. Our past, it haunts, it makes us see, that which we often disagree. For truth is that, and nothing else. It doesn’t care for time, or self. It shines its light, and nothing more. It opens every locked, closed door. Yet when we see the things we’ve done, we often want to turn and run. Such deeds exist, there in your past, and if you let them ever-last, your further will be chained and cast to those who judge and those who blast.

Let your scars, while they remain, fade away into the plain. You’ll always have them, they’ll maintain, but use them for your growth and gain. Learn their passage, learn their plight, and if you ever have to fight, your scars will tell you what to do; if it’s wrong, or if it’s true. Some see them as the wounds of life, but I prefer to use them like a knife. Every time I’m broken, down; my scars remind me that I’ve found. I’ve always found that this will pass, and every time, it always has.

Love can be the best of things, but think before you exchange rings. Be certain that they are the one, that love and bond won’t come undone. Take a look back at your past. Make sure this time that it will last.

And if you doubt things, look to the stars. Then, look back, at all your scars.

91 (A Short Story by Josh Jones)

91

At 91, Gladys sips bourbon from her grandmother’s floral teacup. It’s eleven in the morning. The teacup shakes slightly in her veined, big-knuckled hand. The saucer clinks several times as she sets it down. She’s given up reading the newspaper because her eyes are shot and she feels reading glasses are gauche. Instead of reading she listens to the radio.

Her radio, an original transistor type, picks up programs broadcast on the FM signal. A light jazz music traipses through the air. She wears a light cotton gown. White, wispy hair dances around her face, catching the morning light. Her eyes are set deep within a wrinkled face. Looking out her window to the yard, a young Hispanic man mows and trims.

Her lips, moistened from the bourbon, tense every so often as she listens to the irritating man on the radio who talks between her songs. As he prattles on, she closes her eyes and sees the lovely vignettes of her childhood. She dwells here more and more, in the thoughts of a youth, where memories are so vivid in her mind. She revels in her recollections and the emotions they bring. They take her back to times long before the Alzheimer’s became the focal point of her life. Mornings are the best, with her bourbon, her light jazz and her youth.

She remembers the small apartment where she, her sister, and parents lived. It was an Irish neighborhood on the cusp of Harlem in the thriving days of New York City’s bustling renaissance. She remembers ‘rushing the can’ to her parents as they listened to Benny Goodman. The large can, coming from the corner bar, was filled with cold beer. At nine years old, she would give the slip of paper to the bartender for credit at the bar from her father. She remembers the smoky bar. She remembers neighbors sitting on the stoops of their buildings. She remembers her parents would drink the beer out of clear glasses while dancing in the kitchen.

Her older sister, Esther, would come home with stories from The Cotton Club where she was a coat check girl. She told her parents about the fur coats, the shimmering clothes and way the dancefloor pulsed with people dancing, drinking, smoking. Gladys would sit in the window overlooking the alleyway watching her parents dance, wanting to be older. She remembers her mother moving to the icebox, her hips swaying to jazz orchestra, to get refill the glasses. When her mom would be busy, Glady’s dad would pluck her from her window seat and spin her around to the jumpin’ and jivin’ music. She could smell the beer on his breath and the smoke on his clothes.

At her kitchen table, the ninety-one-year-old Gladys brings a hand up and feels the cotton collar of her house gown. She thinks of the sable furs her sister described from her job at The Cotton Club. In her silent reverie, Gladys picks up the cork from her Maker’s Mark bourbon bottle. The weight in her hand reminds her of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum her mother would give to her. She’d unpeel the wrapper, read the joke to her parents and they would hoot and holler with tipsy delight.

Gladys’ toe is bouncing along to the jazz station on her FM radio. The bouncing reminds her of jumping on the bed as she and her sister giggled together about a Barney Coogle cartoon called “Patch Mah Britches”. The character, and his big bottom, are covered by trousers with a hole in the seat. They fall back onto the bed laughing at the picture of the man’s underwear poking through his britches.

The radio goes to a commercial and her thoughts stop as an advertisement to cure erectile dysfunction dissipates the fond visions in her mind. She looks wide-eyed at the table. A plate from dinner with her remaining meal still sits on the table next to a pill dispenser.

Did she forgot to eat last night?

Oh dear, whose pills are those?

She sips her bourbon as a commercial for feminine hygiene products for maximum flow days causes her to scoff. She looks at the table again where her teeth are submerged in a glass next to her uneaten meal. She touches her mouth as if she’s surprised her teeth are across the table from her.

The music begins again and again, she is now skipping down the sidewalk beneath her apartment, throwing  a stone onto the hopscotch square. She hops deftly from one square to another, leaning forward to pick up the stone. A siren sounds down the street, she looks up as folks lean out their windows to watch the fire truck ramble by with its large water tank as firefighters hang off the sides.

Finishing her hopscotch, she says hello to Mrs. Finnegan, the fat lady across the hall who wears enormous, floral dresses and hands out candy. She gives Gladys three pieces of salt water taffy. She puts the candies into her pocket and runs upstairs to share with Esther. The radio in the kitchen is playing a rumba song. Esther grabs Gladys and they try to copy the dance moves they’ve watched her folks do. They both trip over each other, falling into a pile, giggling on the kitchen floor.

“Mom!” Gladys hears the sharp words and thinks her mother is yelling at them.

But, where’s Esther?

The knock comes again to her door. The door to her house, not her parent’s apartment.

Gladys walks to the door. “Yes?” she says.

“Mom,” a woman says again. “Open up, I have your groceries.”

“Groceries?” Gladys questions laying her hand on the door. “I didn’t order any groceries.”

“Mom,” the woman says, “it’s me. Your daughter.”

Gladys opens the door and looks at the woman and says, “I don’t know. I need to call my daughter to see if she ordered these groceries.”

“Mom,” the woman said. “I’m your daughter.”

“Oh…” Gladys said.


 

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Sheltered

 

The Answer: 3

My superiors are hounding me.

They claim to know more about these humans than I do. Obviously this is impossible. I have spent an entire career studying them. For years and years I have unearthed and uncovered recollections of this primitive species. No, those who oversee my operation are simply misinformed. They have no idea what it is I am carving into. My research has produced the most comprehensive recollection of what this species was. They were primal, to be sure, but they were brilliant at the same time. Many of the transcriptions I’ve deciphered tell to us a tale of severe calamity, a world where everyone was fighting one another. It is obvious based upon the interpretations of the sites we have uncovered that there was much turmoil at this point in their civilization.

And yet, the artifacts I’ve recovered tell me that they lived on. What happened? What events occurred that caused such a seemingly advanced civilization to crumble the way that they did?

These questions haunt me. I shall unearth this mystery; I know it lies here, somewhere. Its waiting to be discovered, just as the frozen bodies found at the southernmost point of this world.

I will find the answer.

The Answer: 2

Thought.

It is such a curious concept. It exists behind everything. Every single action, every single behavior, every single thing we do is motivated by thought, whether conscious or not. Breathing, for example. Do you think every time you take a breath? I think not. And yet you do it.

I am having difficulty compartmentalizing the minutia of human behavior. What things do I file as instinctual behavior, and what things do I classify as conscious behavior? It is a task my superiors have asked of me, and quite frankly, I do not yet know where to draw the line. What things were under these humans’ control? What things were manifested simply because of the circumstances at a given time? What could be helped, and what couldn’t?

The more answers I seek, the more questions I seem to face. This shall be a most difficult undertaking, if I am to speak openly. There are so many pressures I feel falling upon me to fully create an analysis of such behavior. This question of why may be my undoing.

I’ve yet to determine an answer.

The Ward & the Bone: 11

“Barker? He is King now?”

Far to the East, Corgin Le Fey and her minions discuss the new events that have transpired throughout the Realm.

“Yes, madam,” a rat-servant screetches, “there has been much change occurring throughout the lands. Grr Barker has ascended to the Bone, and now rules with his Bites of the Round Bowl. Your carefully laid plans to put Toother to rest worked without err, and everything has gone according to your foretelling.”

“Excellent,” the Phelyon sorceress says. “Toother’s campaign almost destroyed my entire family tree. I will take pleasure in clawing the limbs and branches from his own.” She adds, combing her claw over a scroll detailing the Toother Mansbestfrienddragon’s lineage. “He should have known better. You NEVER abandon a Phelyon in a tree! They will always find a way to survive.”

“It is known, my Queen!” the rat-servant says, rolling up the Bestfrienddragon lineage scroll. “Forever Phelyons!”

“Forever Phelyons!” Corgin repeats, leaning out of the stone window so her voice can echo across the land.

“Rat-servant!” She shouts, retreating from the window. “Send a dispatch to Barko Polo. He shall send emissaries to assist me in my conquest!”

“Of course! Barko Polo is an excellent ally to call upon. You are wise to summon him.” The servant obediently replies.

“Yes.” Corgin purrs. “The Realm shall soon be mine. MINE!” She adds, pointing her Phelyon butt up to the ceiling, exposing her backside.

The Ward & the Bone: 10

“LONG LIVE THE KING!”

The Transition has come, and the night of festivities to celebrate Grr Barker’s ascension to the Bone is at hand.

“At last, he is King!”

Drunkenly swaying through a tavern full of the finest bitches, Grr Sleepsalot wafts his bowl of ale in the air.

“To Grr Barker!!” He shouts as the tavern follows suit, all throwing back a drink of Spamalot’s finest.

Watching the drunken Bites from afar, Squirrelin retreats to his study to record the events he is witnessing.

They are merry-making, and this is acceptable, I know. Yet I cannot purge myself of the fear. I know that Corgin La Fey stirs in the East, and she will pounce at the first opportunity. Its what the Phelyons do, for reasons unknown. They pounce.  

Lo, Grr Barker’s Transition will be a tale to be told for the ages, surely. But there must be a way to focus him on the threat that brews. If left alone, he will focus on nothing other than the games and the festivities. We cannot allow this to transpire. We must focus him on the grander picture. But how? How can we divert his focus on to that which will benefit the Realm? Surely there is a way. Treats. I believe that treats will refocus Grr Barker’s attention. That’s it. I shall consult the archives. The archives always sound like they contain information that the people should know, but don’t. There is simply something about that word, archives, that sounds…informative. Yes, I shall consult the archives.

As he consults the archives, Squirrelin begins his study into what must be done to combat the coming threat. Corgin La Fey is building her forces, and as the Realm is welcoming its new King, they are oblivious to what brews in the East. Let us hope that they will eventually see reason.

Reason. That is what we should see.

My Lake Chateau

American-Revolution-Hero-H

Come my friend, its you, I know, that stands outside my Lake Chateau. I took a walk, just hours ago, and now I sit by this window. Please, my friend, I’ve something to show; come join me through the portico. Open the door – its unlocked, you know, and come share this fine, old, red Bordeaux.

There’s something that you need to see, to understand this sad world’s plea. There’s things outside that I foresee, things He’ll, sadly, guarantee. Do you see that burning tree? The wars, the death, black in the sea? The children who were slain by the melancholy and the man who was murdered for saying “I disagree?” Tell me, my friend, if this is what we should put up with without lifting our hands that are free.

I ask that again, you take a look at this place. Look out and observe all the hatred we face. Let your eyes fall upon things outside your safe space and truly grasp all the things that this world should replace. And let me say this, because just in case; its understood that people will always displace what’s right and what’s wrong but that’s no excuse – just disgrace.

A disgrace it is, that we’ve let this become a Hell for the most and a Haven for some. So few can parade, scraping up every crumb, as the patrons they need are left treated like scum. They measure one’s worth based on things, or income, and their vanity echoes like the beat of a drum. Come closer, my friend, you’ll hear irony strum, for history’s song is that the end always comes.

It comes at a time when they’ve all had enough, a time when they realize they’re not all that tough, the people will gather, strip away the handcuff and step forward with honor as they call their God’s bluff.

So let these words warn you, the ones of occult. Do the right thing, or face a revolt.

The Ward & the Bone: 6

The evening following their arrival to Cage Spamalot, The Lady of the Shake and her honorable Bites have settled into their guest quarters, much appreciating the fluffy, soft floor beds Grr Barker and his troupe has made available. As is customary, a Grand Feast is held in honor of the regal guests, with minstrels and jesters providing song and entertainment while the nobility discuss matters of state.

“He is Brave Grr Slobin, Brave Grr Slobin!”

Dancing atop an empty table, a small crew of minstrels begins singing the same song they sung as they approached the Cage earlier in the day.

Slightly under the influence, Grr Barker stands and hoists his silver goblet-bowl to request something else.

“Minstrels!” He barks loudly. “Play a song honoring the Kaynine’s who conquered the Kingdom!”

This request catches the attention of the entire court, as the events that led to the Kaynines’ triumph have been long debated amongst the land. Opting to please their host, the minstrels pick a tune that honors Grr Barker’s father, the current King of the Realm.

“Yes! We shall play the tale of Toother Mansbestfriendragon!”

Taking their positions, the minstrels begin singing the ballad that honors Grr Barker’s father and his campaign to liberate the Realm from the Phelyons oppressive rule.

“They came from nowhere, these Kaynines, and when they saw the harsh Phelyons, they drew their bones, and threw their stones, and now the Realm has grown and grown! With treats they came and fed the land, upon the Phelyons sad last stand, the Bites of Round Bowl, then unknown, gave peace by wielding EXCALIBONE!!”

As the melody booms throughout the Hall, Grr Barker leans back, proudly watching the court revel in the victorious song. Noticing a subtle poke in his side, he turns to see what has approached him as the rest focus on the continuing ballad.

“What’s this?” He asks, looking down at the rat-servant who has poked him.

“Please, my liege, The Lady of the Shake beckons you.” The servant says, bowing her head in respect.

Intrigued, Grr Barker leans over to a still-enamored Grr Pantsalot.

“Grr Pants, keep an eye out on the festivities. I must answer this most cryptic of dispatches. I leave you in charge of the festivities.”

“Of course, my Liege.” Grr Pantsalot barks. “I shall oversee the feast with honor.”

Satsified that he’s placed the Feast in a good boy’s hands, Grr Barker exits the chambers as he follows the rat-servant. Making their way through a winding tunnel of underground catabones, they arrive at a secret chamber previously unknown. Waiting patiently is the Lady of the Shake, whom Grr Barker watched walking through his Cage doors just hours before.

“Greetings, Grr Barker.” The Lady says, her soothing voice echoing through the underground halls. “I have learned much about you over the past several months.”

Not knowing what kind of encounter this will be, Grr Barker responds with a neutral tone.

“Is that so, Lady? Pray tell, how have you come upon such knowledge? Our Kingdoms are united, yet separated. How has my liking been passed along to your lands?”

Casually strutting forward, the magnificently beautiful Lady of the Shake walks down from the elevated stone she is standing on.

“Such knowledge has not been obtained conventionally, my dear Prince. It has come to me in a vision, one which overwhelmed me when I shook off the bathwater the other day after I bathed.”

”Tell me of this vision, m’Lady.” Grr Barker says, kneeling.

“I exited the tub, Prince, whereupon a towel was placed upon me. As I dashed into the nearest blanket and comforter to maniacally shed the moisture that plagued my fur, I saw you. I saw you holding the fabled Excalibone, standing tall amidst a ferocious battle. You were fighting the last of the Phelyons who had so desperately launched an assault on your Kingdom!”

Hearing of the Lady’s vision, Grr Barker gasps.

GASP!

“This…this cannot be so!” He barks, taking a step back. “My father ousted the last of the Phelyons! It is known!”

“No, Grr Barker.” The Lady says. “Evil still remains in the Realm, and it is your destiny to destroy it. You must dispatch yourselves and find the fabled Excalibone! There is no other way.”

Knowing The Lady of the Shake never speaks untruth, Grr Barker pauses a moment, and takes a deep breath.

“Yes. I shall find it, m’Lady!” Turning to the rat-servant who led him, he instructs her to scribe a dispatch. I call upon all the Good Boys and Bites of the Round Bowl! Gather! We have a quest!!”

To be continued…

The Ward & the Bone: 5

The morning following the magnificent feast of the finest soft foods, the Bites of the Round Bowl are beginning to wake up, clumsily trotting into the Breakfast Chamber where they are all fed the day’s first meal. As the last of their troupe, Grr Sleepsalot, finally enters the chamber, the soft sound of music can be heard echoing through the castle cage’s iron windows. Jolting up to see who approaches Cage Spamalot, Grr Barker rushes to the window to look down upon the minstrels and small group of honorable Bites who have arrived to join in on the season’s festivities.

“He is brave Grr Slobin, brave Grr Slobin,” the minstrels can be heard, melodically singing a ballad honoring one of the troupe. “He fights, he jousts, he marks, he pees, and all the lovely ladies love him for Grr Slobin lives to please!” The song continues.

Excited to welcome the new arrivals, Grr Barker turns to face his constituents, excitedly shouting for them to prepare yet another day of games.

“Grr Pantsalot!” He howls, opening his arms. “Please send a dispatch to my Lady Playpenuivere! Tell her to send her finest bitches to welcome Grr Slobin and the other Bites accompanying him. They shall enjoy the regal hospitality that Cage Spamalot is renowned for!”

Finishing the final laps of his breakfast bowl, Grr Pantsalot leaves his seat and stands tall, energetically saluting his Prince.

“Of course! Lady Playpenuivere shall receive the message post-haste!”

Trotting off, Grr Pantsalot exits the building.

“So who all has come?” Grr GoodGalihad asks. “I know we were expecting many of the Bites to join us for the Games, but I questioned the courage of some. Who thinks they have what it takes to compete?”

Taking another look out of the Cage’s window, Grr Barker peers down to try and identify the other Bites.

“Hmm. I believe I see Gercival, who has not yet been Bited yet. He has not yet earned our title. And is that…yes! Roars the Younger is among them. Let’s see, who else…Grr Scratchalot, of course, he’s always tagging along. I see Grr GraitDane, always noble and chivalrous. And…no. Can it be? Is…is that The Lady of the Shake? Surely my eyes deceive me.”

Squinting, Grr Barker focuses his gaze on the ephemeral, eloquent Kaynine that is being carried into Cage Spamalot by a group of rat servants.

“It is! The Lady of the Shake is among their party! Good boys,” Grr Barker says, aggressively about facing to give his instructions, “we must prepare our finest bed and adornments! We have a Goddess among us!”

Hastily scrambling to make sure the welcome party is adequate for such an arrival, the court adjourns, getting to work on their tasks at hand.

Watching from the shadows, Squirrelin holds his tongue as the naïve troupe of Kaynines prepare for their fun and Games. He knows he must come up with a good reason for his most benevolent of Princes to see reason. Retreating to his study, he absorbs himself in the scrolls and prophecies of yesteryear. He must learn what is to transpire if he is to combat fate itself.

To be continued…

The Ward & the Bone: 4

Days after the Games, the valiant Prince Grr Barker, first in line for the Bone, parades around the halls of Cage Spamalot, the stone castle which the Bites of the Round Bowl call home.

“I suppose you all witnessed my triumphant victory the other day?” The prince howls, his chest puffed out in pride.

“Aye, you were brilliant in the Joust!” His close friend, Grr Pantsalot, barks as he tries to catch his breath.

“Why are you always panting, friend?” Grr Barker asks his companion, placing a paw on his back.

“I cannot say, my Liege.” Grr Pantsalot pants. “I simply feel as if I’m constantly out of breath.”

“I see,” Grr Barker says, turning to face the other Bites of the Round Bowl. “Come, Good Boys!” He shouts. “We shall dine on the finest of soft foods this evening to celebrate my victory! I have arranged the most well-groomed bitches for you all to consort with in my honor! Behold!” He barks, waving his paw toward the centrally located room in the Tower. Laying within are several beautifully groomed, free-of-fleas female Kaynines, waiting for the Bites of the Round Bowl to join them.

“Awoooooo!!!!!!” Grr GoodGallihad howls, unable to contain his excitement. “Come on, boys! Grr Barker has bestowed upon us the finest bitches in the Realm!”

As the group of brave Bites debaucherously make their way into the Chamber of Doggy-Style, one Bite remains behind, lacking the same level of excitement his peers have displayed. Witnessing the events from the Halls, Grr Barker’s own mentor and personal sorcerer, Squirrelin, sees this particular Bite pausing. Carefully approaching him, he inquires what is on the young Bite’s mind.

“Grr Poopsalot, what troubles you?” The magical rodent asks.

With a grave stare, Grr Poopsalot locks eyes with Squirrelin for a moment, only to let his gaze drift to the floor.

“I have been plagued with nightmares as of late, Squirrelin, and I fear for Grr Barker. For weeks, every night as I rotate several hundred times before finding the perfect spot for me to lay myself to rest, I have had terrifying images occupy my thoughts.”

Recognizing the significance of such events, the magic-wielding advisor tries to learn more.

“You must share these visions with me, Grr Poopsalot. It is the only way for me to use my powers; we must see if there is imbalance brewing in the Realm.” Squirrelin asserts, placing his claws on Poopsalot’s forehead.

As the two close their eyes and hang their heads, deep in concentration, the somewhat cavalier Grr Humpsalot shouts at them to join the others.

“Poops!” He barks. “Come, sit and be a good boy! We are celebrating our Lord’s victory, do not be disrespectful!”

Sighing and briefly locking eyes, Grr Poopsalot apologizes to the sorcerer for his duties.

“I am sorry, Squirrelin, but I must join my pack. We shall revisit this conversation another time.”

Obediently jogging toward the Chamber of Doggy Style, Poops reconvenes with his peers and partakes in all the pleasures Cage Spamalot has to offer. Squirrelin, recognizing the possibilities before him, retreats to his kennel to study what this young Bite’s dreams may truly mean.

The Ward & the Bone: 3

The Ward & the Bone 3

Far to the East the sinister Phelyon sorceress Corgin Le Fay, one of the last survivors of her species, storms through the halls of her crumbling keep, Cage Dryfude.

“JESTER! Bring me wine, right MEOW!” the Phelyon shrieks, pointing her razor-sharp claw toward the empty bowl by her decaying throne.

“Right away, m’Lady, right away!” A hunchbacked gopher shouts, hurriedly making his way to fill the dish with a 5th Age Furlot, a dry red wine harvested from grapes of a realm long since past.

“Much better,” Corgin meows, leaning down to flick her stubbled tongue into the liquid, lapping it up in haste. “Now…where were we?” She asks, peering down at the table of constituents seated before her.

Following the War of the Realm, the Phelyons were forced into exile, carrying with them the same feeling of defeat and despair they had strewn upon the Realm just years before. The sorceress, however, refused to accept such failure. Witnessing the fall of the Phelyons before her very eyes, she vowed at a very young age to return the Phelyons to their prior place of prosperity.

Scooting his chair back so he can stand and address the matriarch, a gopher known as Gosef of Hairymathea boldly speaks his mind.

“M’lady, what you propose is impossible! The Kaynines have ruthlessly cut down all opposition to their false claims of honor! The entire Realm has become plagued; brainwashed by their notions of equality and classless hierarchy! What you ask of us is simply not achievable!”

Expecting such a reaction, Lady Corgin stands on all fours, pacing back and forth, tail raised high and butthole exposed for many moments. She then calms into a soft, rhythmic purr as she reassumes her position on the throne.

“Your concerns are those of a defeated, weak gopher who falsely claims the title of Lord, Gosef. You will soon learn of what has been brewing behind the scenes, buried deep within the darkest chasms of the scratchposts of Cage Dryfude. You have no idea what’s been going on in there, for all you see are the tiny holes carved outside which expose me only when I deem it appropriate. You will ALL soon learn of my plans!”

Sadistically rubbing her paws together, Lady Corgin leans back in her throne, watching her obedient subjects look upon her with perplexed and admiring expressions.

“Soon,” she meows. “Verrrrrrrry soon.”