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Majestic: Issue #9 Sunday, June 23, 2002
In this Issue:
Letter from the Editor
by Chrispian H. Burks
The Write Off: A Poetry Edition
by Richard Dani
Reccommended Reading
by Bartleby
Article: "File Sharing," A Thing of the Past?
by Richard Dani
Article: Sound and Fury, part II of III: "Getting it Out"
by Roganize
Article: Characterization, Including the Technique of Dialogue
by The Alienist
Serial: So You Say Part 2
by Beckett Grey
Poem: Vulture
by Bartleby
Poem: The Light
by Chrispian H. Burks

Letter from the Editor
Letter From the Editor
By Chrispian H. Burks

Lit.Org has been a labor of love for a long time now. Sometimes it's more labor than love, but lately one of the things that's been a pure joy is editing and compiling each issue of Majestic and watching it grow. But I couldn't do this alone. We've been fortunate to have a staff that puts their own heart and sweat into the site every day, and into the many projects we have going. But as the site grows, so does the need for help. This month we have a new staff member to join the ranks. Formerly insomnia74, he now answers to the monicker Bartleby and He's got the quite a sorted history with women in Wasteland. He's become very active and I'm sure will prove to be a valuable member of the staff. This month is also the debut of our Fan Page, where members of the site can contribute art, icons, desktops/wallpapers and other items to share with other members. And to kick things off is an awesome Race Car by Khazra3829. Go and see it for yourself!

This issue of Majestic continues our trend of brining you new and original content. If you look back you'll notice each issue continues to grow. And we are please to continue that tradition. This month we feature more poetry and even announce Lit.Org's first ever Poetry Write Off. So, without any further drum beating, here it is.

Chrispian H. Burks
Editor - Lit.Org

The Write Off: A Poetry Edition
The Write Off: A Poetry Edition
By Richard Dani

This month we bring you a special competition, which will not only feature some new faces, but a new format as well. That's right, the Write Off is going Poetry. This form of writing has taken Lit.Org by storm and it seems like a good time to put some of our best word wranglers to the test. Further, instead of two combatants, this month's event will showcase five. Rogan, Jessicanm, Bartleby, Vamp Eyes and Furius have all accepted the challenge and I can't wait to see what they produce.

Obviously, we cannot use a story starter for poetry so instead our competitors will play be the following two rules:

1. On Wednesday, June 26th, yours truly will send each participant a topic, such as "Joy" or "Angst," and the entrants will have until Sunday, June 30th, to submit a poem that describes, conveys or uses this theme in some functional way.

2. Each poem must contain at least 50 words, but no more than 200.
Sound simple? I hope so. With these small rules, I hoped to tie all of the poems together without restricting their creativity. Of course, this competition only works if you, Lit.Org's Members, take the time to read, review and rate their posts. It is the average rating that each poem receives which will decide the winner. So members, please step up to the plate and reward their hard work by rating each poem based on word choice, imagery, staying on theme, grammar and use of the appropriate number of words.

Richard Dani
Editor - Lit.Org

Reccommended Reading
"The Little Country" by Charles De Lint
De Lint is the master of what I like to call urban folklore, the mixing of the fantastic and mythology with a modern day setting creating stories that blend "real" characters with unreal situations and events. "The Little Country" is perhaps one of De Lint's best works.

"The Lords of Discipline" by Pat Conroy
Conroy is one of the few writers I read regularly that I feel certain will eventually find himself in the literary cannon that all well educated students of literature will be expected to read. This book is my favorite of all of Conroy's novels including such favorites as the Great Santini and The Prince of Tides. It's a story of brotherhood, coming of age and the strange xenophobia of the American South all set in a fictional military academy obviously based on the Citadel. Pick it up you won't be disappointed.

"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman famous for his ground breaking comic series "Sandman" stunned me with this deftly handled quirky story set in the mystical underworld of modern day London. We are introduced to Peter Mayhem an ordinary Joe who finds himself in the midst of a plot to kill an unlikely damsel in distress. Gaiman portrays this character with surprising realism. Peter's not always likeable, in fact in some cases I would have slapped the taste from his mouth with nary a second thought. A short but satisfying read.

"A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin
Okay admittedly this isn't a single book, but rather an ongoing fantasy series. I decided to recommend this as a whole rather than book by book, because simple put as someone who has been reading epic fantasy since middle school, nothing I've ever read holds a candle to this series. Martin handles politics, intrigue, dialogue and characterization with an attention to detail and realism that I find refreshing. Here is a world that is detailed but not as distractingly complex as Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. I could gush on and on about this series but I will say this instead. Martin is the first author to ever make me skip ahead in a book to find out what happened next to a favorite character. That in my opinion is the most sterling recommendation I can give. Buy your copy of "Game of Thrones" today.

Bartleby


"File Sharing," A Thing of the Past?
"File Sharing," A Thing of the Past?
By Richard Dani

It seems that the golden age of file sharing is behind us. Napster recently filed for bankruptcy and the record industry's hitmen, known as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), had next aimed its considerable cannons at Audiogalxaxy. The RIAA claimed that Audiogalaxy, a company based in Texas, created an environment far more suitable for Mp3 sharing than Napster had and like it or not, they were probably correct. Audiogalaxy recently folded under the pressure and has settled out of court by agreeing to censor their files and to pay an undisclosed amount in fines.

Audiogalaxy made the right decision because RIAA attorneys merely need to show up in court these days and the battle is won. That is the reason they spent millions prosecuting Napster so they could now cheaply and efficiently eliminate those who infringe on their artists' copyrights.

Napster's backers had gambled that a surprise victory would garner them a small fortunate. However, they never stood a chance. The recording companies have developed a billion dollar industry that employs tens of thousands, funds politicians and political parties and supports every state in the country with the tax dollars generated through the sale of their products.

Napster did none of these things. So it would have been difficult for a judge or jury to side with them knowing the damage that would have been done to the recording industry and subsequently, the nation's economy.

Now that Audiogalaxy has been put to rest, the RIAA will most certainly turn their sites on organizations like "Gnutella" and "Bearshare." Unlike Napster and Audiogalaxy, these programs connect users directly to one another and claim that they are beyond the RIAA's reach simply because they have no central computer to shut down.

They are mistaken.

The recording industry has begun sending letters to Gnutella's users threatening that repeated copyright violations would cost them their ISP services. In laymen's terms, the RIAA will force internet providers, like "AOL"and "Juno," to drop individuals who frequently download Mp3's. Gnutella argues that it would be too expensive for the music industry to go after each of the millions of individuals who share copyrighted materials, but again they are wrong. The RIAA does not have to go after everyone when attacking a handful would cause a stampede.

Sadly for some, the future for file sharing appears bleak. Like weeds, websites will continue to pop up offering Mp3 swapping capabilities and the RIAA will continue to knock them down. (And they'll be able to do so at a much faster rate now that they have the legal establishment behind them.) As a result, it is unlikely that any websites will boast the membership numbers, or song selection, that Napster and Audiogalaxy had.

Still, these sites had a good run and I'm sure many people are sorry to see that it's almost over.

Richard Dani
Editor - Lit.Org

Sound and Fury, part II of III: "Getting it Out"
Sound and Fury, part II of III: "Getting it Out"
By Roganize

Welcome back! Hopefully you've read the first part of this series, so you'll be familliar with the terminology I'll be using. If you're interested in voice recording on your home PC, you ought to have the ingredients I mentioned last time -- which are:
a) A computer to handle the raw audio data.
b) Plenty of drive space. How much you need is proportionate to how much audio you want to record.
c) Soundcard with microphone input (most have 'em, but some don't. 'onboard' soundcards are notorious for not possessing any).
d) Speakers, so you're not working with just the waveforms ;)
e) A microphone, so you can make your voice into a bunch of ones and zeroes.
f) Software to manipulate (normalize and edit) and encode (compress) the raw audio into a more compact form.
Fisrt thing you'll want to do is set aside some directories so you know where everything is. I keep my temporary (raw) audio files in a folder located at 'c:\temp\wav' and the finished, encoded files in a directory like 'c:\temp\mp3'. Feel free to store them anywhere and anyhow you like, but try to keep the different formats seperate; it helps! Once you know where the files will be going, your microphone is hooked up and working, and the recording software is configured to save its files to your WAV directory .. You're set to roll.

Some things to keep in mind if you want a clean recording:
a) Try to limit ambient noise. Since you're probably right in front of your computer, this can be a bit rough. Computer fans are known to be noisy and utterly tempermental. I just toss a thick blanket over my computer to keep it quiet.
b) Prepare your voice. Gargle with salt water, do dome vocal exercises, stretch your jaw muscles or whatever. Also, have a glass of some refreshing beverage (water, perhaps?) on hand. It'll help you keep an even tone, because speaking for a long time can cause drymouth. Ugh!
c) Keep a hardcopy of the work you are reciting (if that's applicable) nearby in case you get stumped. Sometimes it's good to read directly from the page, but memorizing the piece works well if you intend to convey a lot of emotion and other subtle qualities.
Whether you're aiming for crisp vocals or a low-fi crunch, it is a good policy to record the audio at 44100 Hz (other choices range from 8000 Hz to 48000 Hz). This is a standard format that most recording software will support -- it is the frequency that is used the most in recordings. Monoaural recordings are ideal for voice, mainly because recording in Stereo takes up more space and doesn't offer many advantages (unless you'll be adding effects or background audio after you've done the vocals. in this case, Stereo recordings are a good idea). In digital recording, there are several other options that can be manipulated to offer up certain results. 8-bit audio is a bit muddier, discarding certain frequencies of sound. 16-bit audio is quite common in digital recording, as it retains most of what is recorded.

So now you're down to it. Finger hovering on the record button. GO FOR IT! Go nuts. Experiment. Find out how comfortable you are while recording. Sometimes, it pays off to set the mood for yourself. Lights dimmed and windows cracked open slightly? The fun of digital recording is that it's pretty much free. You're not writing to a limited supply of analog tape, so you're free to try it as many times as you like until you're comfortable with the results.

Since pacing is important, it's good to do at least two takes and compare their times. If there is a marked difference, you may want to try it again to get a bit more consistent. If your times are close, you're probably doing ok.

So, suddenly you've got all this raw WAV audio sitting on your disk, waiting to be edited and compressed. What to do with it? You'll find out next time, in Sound and Fury III/III: "Shrinking the Obvious". Stay tuned, and in the meanwhile, pat yourself on the back. You're one step closer to having a presentable final product! Please note that the next (and final?) installmant will be on the technical side, but I'll try to present it in an easily understood format with planty of help. It'll also be longer than the last two parts combined ;). I like to save the best for last...

Forever Yours,

Rogan X


Characterization, Including the Technique of Dialogue
Characterization, Including the Technique of Dialogue
By The Alienist

Some stories don't require great depth in their characters. Some stories whose main characters do receive detailed treatment have many other characters who remain two-dimensional for their simpler purpose in the tale.

However, when a character's motivations for what he or she does in your story are important for the reader to understand, you must put some meat on that critter's bones and make him or her a true persona.

Many younger or otherwise inexperienced writers believe that the reader needs to receive all their information about the characters via narration; it will be useful to them to point out that there are several avenues to informing the reader of characters' traits and their motivations.

First of all, the narrator isn't the only one with anything to say. The character, even if not narrating in first person or even the protagonist, has something to say for himself, one way or another. Other characters can tell us much as well.

Dialogue is a challenge to master but is a rewarding way to provide characterization in any story.

Dialogue is intimidating to many inexperienced fiction writers because, in part, of the grammar rules associated with it: paragraphing for each speaker in turn; quotes; punctuation within quotes; confusion regarding how often and when to attribute each speech ('he said', 'she said', 'said Mike', 'she exclaimed' etc.).

There is also the fear of simply being untalented at writing readable dialogue. By 'readable', I mean 'accessible' or 'good'. This was a stumbling block for me, which caused me to have hardly any dialogue in my fiction from the time I was a young teen until my late twenties.

Dialogue is a challenge even for professional screenwriters. How many movies are critiqued wherein the reviewer cites 'stilted, wooden dialogue'? Even Star Wars has been nailed for this from the beginning, by many critics, especially the recent Episode II.

Ironically, Carrie Fisher, who of course played Princes Leia in the original three Star Wars movies, now makes her living as a 'script doctor', as a master writer of realistic dialogue. I wonder why she's not working with George Lucas?

Want to see a working example of dialogue doing the work of characterization?

Let's have a dialogue.

He motioned to his partner to come to the spot where he stood, leaning over the body.

She walked over, with some trepidation.

"How did he die?" she asked him nervously. She could see the lost wealth of blood pooling around the body even as the patrolmen set up the barriers and tape around the crime scene.

"Shotgun wound to the back, as far as I can tell without flipping 'im over." The crusty old detective lifted the dead man's head slightly from the mortar. "No head wound. The blood coming through the shirt and jacket indicate that some of the blast just made it through the torso from his back. The coroner'll tell us for sure."

She stepped closer, as much to expose herself to her new career and its inherent sights and smells as to show proper objectivity and bravado.

"He's dressed like a banker."

The detective stood back up. "Yep. He's either that or an investment broker. Crisp white shirt, red power tie, snazzy double-breasted black jacket, matching snazzy black pants. Nice Italian leather on the shoes."

"He sure doesn't look like a godfather." She looked over at the briefcase near the corpse's right hand, by the curb. "I wonder if he embezzled from somebody's account."

She bent down and fished in the man's jacket for a wallet.

"I already looked. Either a patrolman's already found it or it isn't there."

"Or he forgot it," she suggested.

"There's plenty here to help us ID 'im once the boys get'im on the slab in forensics." He surveyed the patrolmen finishing up with the tape. "I wonder if one of these boys did pick it up before we got here. I'd like to know as much as I can about this stiff before we go chasing leads from the ghouls."

She fished in the dead man's pockets gingerly, getting some blood on her knuckles as they lightly scraped the mortar beneath the blood-soaked corpse.

"We've got leather."

She stood up with the wallet, retrieved from the dead man's rear pocket. She flipped it open and rummaged the contents.

"Sure as shit, there's his driver's license." She handed it over to her mentor as he curiously reached for it.

He whistled loudly, in a crescendo of mild surprise. "I've heard of this guy!"

She stepped behind him and tippy-toed to peer over his shoulder and shook her hair out of her face to see the license again, in his hand.

"This is the guy who runs Lit.Org."

"Chrispian H. Burks! He wrote a bad review of the new Black Sabbath album," she said remorsefully. She stopped in her tracks and made the mental connection.

Her mentor spun around and looked her in the eye as her face went pale.

"Your theory, pardner?" he asked her, eyebrows high.

"We're going to have to stop by The Alienist's for a short chat."

She turned around and marched to their sedan, the Lieutenant in tow.

"Interesting how this relationship has suddenly reversed," he grumbled as he followed her through the throng of rubbernecking citizens...

The reader will notice that the majority of the text above, in italics, is dialogue. The speech of the characters has provided the observant reader with the details:

An older detective, the mentor of a younger female officer who is a new appointment to the homicide squad, is teaching her the ropes. This is one of her first cases. She forces herself to deal with the 'spaghetti sauce' to make him see that she's coming up to snuff and produces the wallet he couldn't find, or was too tired to search for thoroughly. Perhaps he wanted to ... expose her to the hazards of the job a little more, and made her do it intentionally:

"I do wonder if one of these boys did pick it up before we got here. Gosh, I'd like to know as much as I can about this poooor guy before we go chasing leads from the ghouls, wouldn't you?" he cheerfully suggested, rolling his eyes and smiling faintly. With equally facetious aplomb he turned around, tapped the corpse pointedly with his foot and began surveying the working patrolmen in earnest, as if their activities could teach him the secret of the universe.

She stooped at the corpse as she turned her eyes up at him, mildly annoyed. "I know, I know, time to get my hands dirty again..." She soon turned up the wallet from a back pocket...

This way, we get to know more about his desire to teach his pupil about their work, and her distaste for some of its... grittier aspects.

We also know that they have a friendly sparring relationship, almost father-daughter, lifted from the basic concept of almost every buddy-cops movie ever made. What's more, we get it all from what the characters say and a little bit of what they do, instead of stale narration.

Not only is it a more entertaining and efficient way of developing the characters than simply expositing them via narration (whether it be first-person or omniscient third-person), but it enables the reader to visualize them with greater imaginative clarity. It lets the reader inside the writer's head and shares the adventure more richly. It is more perfect... at least for this story and the majority of others.

Admittedly, however, there are times when plain narration is better, as when one is trying to achieve a 'storyteller' ambience similar to many classic folk stories or fantasy tales. This doesn't mean one should demean the reader with something stale like "Once upon a time...", but that the writer will have to lead the reader into a scene whereupon the characters may begin to interact and speak. This happens often in movies, for example the several adaptations of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. (Yes, I know I used that example in the last article, in Majestic #8. Yes, it is an excellent example for illustrating just about everything about the writer's craft, isn't it?)

There are a few very basic points to make before we finish here.

During a quote, that is when a character is speaking, keep punctuation inside the quotes. For example:

"She said it would be an amazing experience!" (Exclamation mark inside quotes)

"I know what she said," he replied, "but I still think she's a lying bitch. She's misguided us before." (Comma inside quotes before attribution break, small letter beginning continuation since it's technically the same sentence, and period inside last quote, ending entire sentence, and also the paragraph - minus this explanation of course.)

The example dialogue above demonstrates that it's easier than one thinks to help the reader keep track of who's talking. Mixing dialogue with action or reaction sequences and personal descriptions help the reader easily follow the conversation back and forth without repetitive overuse - or confusing underuse - of attributions such as 'she said'. As long as said speeches and actions from a particular character are within the same paragraph, as in some examples above, there should be no confusion in a competent, interested reader.

One more thing:

As with all writing skills, mastery of writing good dialogue means two habits all writers embody, from beginners to masters: Read lots, practice lots. Read fiction (or even nonfiction) with good dialogue, frequently, in order to study working models, and, in the words of Billy Crystal in "Let's Throw Momma from the Train":

"A writer writes, always." This means...

Practice writing lots of imaginative dialogue, and of course let people critique it constructively.

The Alienist



Serial: So You Say Part 2
So You Say Part 2
by Beckett Grey

I looked up from Screen Three, annoyed.

"Saw what, Jaimie? Think: You are a newsboy, not a fictionist. Suspense does not become you. Now: Take a breath, count to three, and tell me who or what it is you saw."

"Yes, Professor. Sorry, Professor." Jaimie paused, and I could almost hear him counting. "I saw Annn, Professor!"

"You did? Wait a minute, how do you know about Annn? I never mentioned her to you."

"I read it in your journal, sir."

"Oh you did, did you? I don't recall giving you the address for that."

"You did, sir."

"Of course I didn't! I'd remember it. When?"

"Midwinter's Eve, sir. At the party."

"Dammit. I should've known. All those Califax cocktails. What else did you read?"

"N-nothing, sir."

"You're a bad liar, Jaimie. It's one of your good qualities. What else did you read?"

"Not much, sir. Just about Annn...and, um, the story about the head mites...and, um, Collie's um...his, um...his-"

" His problem, yes. I know what you're trying to say, boy." I sighed. "If you ever breathe a word of all that to the newsfeeds..."

"I would never do a thing like that, sir. I'm well-paid, treated with respect, and quite loyal. I would never have a reason go behind your back, or betray you to anyone else."

"I see. You drive a hard bargain, kid. How about...a 10% raise in pay and next Faraday off?"

"That would be very nice, sir."
"Sold! And if I hear a word of all that on the streets or in the feeds, I'll track you down and cut out the creative centers of your brain. Now- did you say you actually SAW Annn?"

"Yes, sir."

"I highly doubt it, but you'd better tell me, all the same."

"Well, I was down in the Southwest Quadrant, near Gould Street, and-"

"And what, pray tell, were you doing on Gould Street?"

"Not on, sir. Near."

"You haven't answered my question."

"I was about to get to that in the story-"

"You know as well as I do that Gould Street is classified as Deep Red. You want to get killed, boy?"

"No, sir, but I DO follow the Newsie's Code, which states-"

"Go anywhere. Do anything. Offend anyone. As long as there's a story in it. Yes, I know. But I hired you for your information-gathering abilities, and you can only gather information when you're alive, and hanging out on Gould Street is a good way to reduce your chances of remaining so."

"You can't stop me," he said. His tone was rebellious, stubborn.

"Nor would I want to," I said. "But I do intend to annoy you about it until your ears fall off and your brains dribble down your neck. Weren't you supposed to be telling me about Annn?"

"Yes, sir. Like I said, I was down by Gould Street- " he shot me a defiant look. "And I was tracking down a story about robots being abused in that section of town. More than usual, I mean. Things like limbs getting pulled off, robots being smashed and destroyed, that sort of thing."

"Yick," I said. "I hope they have a special section in Hell for people who do that. If not, I intend to build one when I get there."

"Yes, sir. Anyway, I was hiding behind a stack of barrels and trash and stuff, with the cam set up on a barrel in front of me. I'd been there about four hours- and missed some really good story opportunities, too- when along came this robot street-cleaner, one of the humanoid types. He's washing the road, washing the road, and then along comes this man..."

"What type of model, would you say?"

"The man, sir, or the robot?"

"The robot, smartass. What was it? Old or new?"

"Mid-range, I would guess. Only half-sentient."

"Hmm..."

"But anyway, up comes this man behind it, and starts stepping on the backs of the robot's feet..."

"Did it have shoes?"

"No, sir. Not a new enough model. It was still using the three-pronged design. But this man, he's stepping on the robot's feet, and it doesn't notice- it's a pretty heavy one, so he probably wasn't impeding it much. At this point, I reached out and turned the camera on, just in case something happened. And I got lucky! The man pulled out a gun-"

"What type?"

"Pretty shabby one, sir. Oldstyle solid shot. He takes it out, and he puts it to the back of the robot's head and says: "Turn around or I'll blow your gears out," to the thing."

"What did this guy look like, Jaimie?"

"Um. Young. Looked about 30 equivalent. Scruffy. Kind of flabby, but not really overweight or anything. Messy brown hair. Fat nose. Beard stubble."

"And what did he do?"

"Well, the robot didn't hear its model number, and so it didn't respond, and this guy, he pointed the gun at its leg and squeezed off a shot at it. Blew the whole leg clean off at the thigh, all frizzling gears and wires and stuff! And the robot turns around, still standing on the other leg, and the guy points it at the robot's arm, and he pulls the trigger again. Blam! The arm goes flying. About this point, the robot seemed to have an idea about the whole thing, and he turns to go, and the guy puts the gun to its head. I was sure I was going to see him kill it! It was really exciting!"

I snorted. "Your idea of exciting needs a little work, kid. The word for that is 'horrific' or 'anger-inducing' or even 'stupid beyond all rational expectations for stupidity'. But not exciting."

"Sorry, Professor."

"You're also mixing your tenses, but go on."

"So I was expecting to see this robot do the final leap, you know, and then all of the sudden, this little beam comes out from somewhere to my left and cuts the gun out of this guy's hand, along with his fingers. It- and they- fall to the ground, and he just looks at it, like he isn't quite sure what he's seeing. Then he looks to his right- I can't see over there, the buildings are blocking my view- and he gets this terrified look on his face and turns to run. As soon as he does, the beam cuts along his legs, and they just fall off! No blood though, must've been really hot. And so the guy falls down, because he doesn't have any legs anymore, and he just sort of thrashes around on the ground, screaming.

"And that's when I see them come out. Six or seven robots, all of them newer models, most with skin, or something skin-like. They walk up casually to this guy, who's screaming like the end of the world, and they get out of the way all of the sudden, and there she was..."

Jaimie's eyes glazed over as he remembered.

"Annn...I knew it was her- I saw her pictures on your journal- and she was even more beautiful that she looked in the picture. She walks over to this guy, and puts her foot on his neck. "You'll do," she says, and then uses the same little beam to burn both the guy's eyes out. His brain too, I guess, because he stopped moving or breathing. Then two of the robots pick up the street-cleaner, who was just standing there, watching, and start to haul it away. Then Annn looks over- I swear she was looking RIGHT at me- and she points the little beam at the barrels. At first I thought she was going to fry me, but then she blasted the camera. Then she smiled at me, and walked away. And they were gone, just like that. It was amazing. So I decided to get out of there, quick, before the police found the man's body. Then I hopped on the nearest transport to One Street and ran straight here. I thought you should know first."

"Hmm...good job, kid. I feel even better about giving you that raise now."

Jaimie blushed.

by Beckett Grey

Poem: Vulture
I perch on this wall
a vulture
and watch the women go by
they smile sometimes
but I walk away
I know I'd look too hungry
A few stop to say "hello" or "what a nice day."
I can only nod
thay are no more than animals
to me now, to be capyured and tamed
the boyfriends scowl at me
they know what I'm thinking
I just chuckle and murder them with my eyes
Then I see her, hair like a wave of ink
tight belly, long fingers
I can almost see the wet prints
my lips made at her navel
and her nails bite my back again
my stomach churns, my mouth goes dry
and I can't breathe
But it's not love anymore
only indigestion

by Bartleby

Poem: The Light
Shadows dance in the flickering light
The embers glowing only so

As I lay beside the fading flames
I watch the wisping tendrils gasp for air

And in the silence a storm
Consuming, violent, and embracing

With my eyes fixed, amazed
I try not to look away

But awe turns to comfort
and comfort to peace

And as the embers fade
I rest, blissful, in her light.

by Chrispian H. Burks

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