Dark Poetry
The Lonely Bird by Fariel Shafee


The night is bleak; the water dark
Shadows of waves dance around
A single soul lost alone
Swallowed in the midst
Of eternal

Carried by the lifeless breeze
That strives to touch the moon above
But only finds the solemn bird
That flutters wings in futile search
Of a home that had been left behind
In darkness

A feather drops and starts to float
On the saline sea
That spreads the earth
That all at once looks bizarre
With lunar rays in a sudden rush
On the crests of spanning

Not a sound of man or beasts
Answering a soul in stress
Screaming in the hope to have
One to come to
Reciprocate -
To stop the creature's flight
To sheer

The bird flies on
In jaded motion
Its crimson eyes no more sparkling
Showing the sign of resignation
Detached from the hope of finding
A far away nest
Of eternal
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
Aphrodite's  Labyrinth

by Fariel Shafee

My laughter had echoed
From every side
Of a labyrinth that extended to

And my feet had bled
Crimson blood
That disappeared into the darkness
To be mingled with the remains
And dust
Of an unknown traveler's body
That reeked at a corner

The ghost of the night
With satirical smiles
Was almost always present
In a soft fluorescent aura

I hallucinated
Into the tunnel
Deeper and deeper and deeper

And I sensed your dove's flutter
And felt the fervent smile
You had sworn that you would wait
And thus had I come
To the maze that did not end
The temptation could not be
In a grave of all your lovers
You were to be JUST mine.

by Fariel Shafee

I thought of you
As drops of acid rain
Battering the veneer of earth
Slowly ate away
The thin layers of
On verdant leaves and grass
And lashed against my pane

A symphony of sadness
Rose solemnly from the ashes
Of the last magical phoenix
At the altar
With the nameless young maid

The goddesses
Left for heaven
And the earth was left to the mortals
Who erred
And sometimes learned
And erred again to learn
That nothing can be learned
For sure

This world
Flooded with flaws
Deluged with dirt and filth
And unexpected losses
And the future is seldom right
Even if you are right

Alas that touch felt right
So long ago
And the world appeared frozen
- Condensed to a peak
-A single point of
From which it rapidly fell
Into tremors
And chaos
Monsters appeared quickly
From the rotting flesh of the phoenix
But I yearned for that touch
And in the midst of rubbles and
Thought again of you
by Don Coorough

Eyes of night remain fixed,
Unremoved and ever fixed,
Upon the candle flame that flickered –
Flickered in the night of black.
And as that candle flame flickered,
Sensations up our spine shivered,
While inside our mind it whispered:
A whispered voice in the night of black!
From our lips gasped, “Unknown.”

On our floor we heard a rattling,
Floorboards creaking, and chains rattling;
Heartbeat racing, blind mind unraveling –
Unraveling in the night of black.
Strobing candle flame silhouetted
Trails of dragonsblood, while coquetted
Maidens’ unveil dancing trills soubretted;
Unrepentant in the night of black.
We heard the voice inquire, “Unknown?”

Across the floor loud footsteps pounded,
Throughout the room footsteps resounded;
It seemed as though we were surrounded –
Surrounded in the night of black.
Cowering; gaping eyes in crystals searched;
The chains still rattled as the footsteps lurched
And drops of sweat on our nose tips perched,
Those drops besmirched the night of black.
The voice derisively reminded, “Unknown.”

The out of nowhere lunged the monster:
Wild eyed, hairy, death hungry killer;
An asp-like blade across our throats did slither
For the monster from the night of black.
We pled for mercy from our unwanted guest,
But unfathomed rage was all he manifest;
We took the knife and thrust it into his chest:
Unblest was that night of black.
As we collapsed, we cried, “Unknown!”
Fingers obsess, clutching the night of black.
Our final breath exhaled, “Now it’s known.”
by Don Coorough

intoxicating dreams of the wide-eyed
shaman rain down from the stars in
a milky almost-liquid mist

some paths are tangled others smooth
none meander at a straight destination  

a stream winds refreshing
flows past sycamore shaded
banks along a dusty trail trod
rarely where the youth Jason finds
the pages pick up as if out of nowhere
aimlessly strolling into a cloudy
wisp of fog coming from a distant bay

sirens wail a play in his mind echoing
glittery fascination when the snap
of a twig awakens undulations
down his spine stopping by
the banks Jason kneels to cup
a drink from the stream with his
palm apparition looming from within
his own reflection the face
of age balding scalp stringy gray
hair to shoulders only eyes still alive
wavering in the waves winking
shimmering whispers hush
and the image rushes off on
the surface up stream to distant mountains

the scent of mystery seemed
to sweat right out of his pores
gazing off watching in astonishment
standing footfalls started and ran off
following after the reflection
partings of stream and path led
to quandaries testing the fates
sleep allows dawn upon intuition

on through hot days and cool mid-summers’
evenings fireflies draw trails
to love’s doorstep under full
yellow moons reaping harvests
by candlelight plowing long
rows yet failing to sow seeds

for the flower of the moonrise
garden growing opening in the night
revolving around nuptial chambers
like a spaceship satellite
lay back beauty sleeping
her head rest on his shoulder
jujube jewel cat’s eye caught
an ancient glimmer behind late-night
space where Greta Garbo diffused cataclysmic
hailstorms raining unendingly
interstellarly poised between Garbo
and Hepburn longing for sweet nectar
from one held captive in silk
necktie nooses by the other until
soon all lightning ceased

a hazy bog offered the only
quick escape hidden byways could
present unsavory encounters behind
bars shackled to a reality
never even invented
in nightmares surrounded by
sycophants and succubae
leeching life-force subverting
every consciously intended
dream ever dreamt until
one almost clear moonless
night a breeze wafted by
smelling of daisies and puppies

Jason slinked out barely
whispering past slimy
rill-beds and mossy rocks
oozing himself beyond
the reaches of ogre-like
captors glutted beyond capacity
into stuporous slumbers

Jason beyond the bog’s clutches
struggled across harsh lands and fell

over days hikes and through
nights invisible draperies
Jason wound his way back
to the stream nearer the still
distant mountains and far from sight
lay behind the beginning
of the reflection’s path in a robin’s
song Jason heard the call
and built a raft he sailed
upstream until one day he met
a younger man along
the way so alike Jason saw into
the other and saw himself together
they traveled regaling the fish
with tall tales of times before
the moment fireworks
erupted across the sky sharing
lessons when the rapids interrupted
Pan playing pipes in the clearing
no time
head toward shore
rapids about to wash the raft into white
water Jason shoved his companion  
to the bank and calm serendipity while Jason
to the logs water splashing
tumultuously gasped breaths
flipping over and over
then shooting into a shady glen
amid a calm pool resting ashore

Jason fell on the earth clutching
for air and collapsed into
lucid reveries that shone the face
of the old man upon the pool
as it floated up stream to rest
at his feet hovering in the waves
and when he blinked Jason saw
the old man standing before him singing
a moonlit summer morning’s dance
upon the seventh sea
calls emptyrising foolish hopes
toward eternity
the aroma of night’s warm embrace
and taste of jasmine tea
summoned seers spirits’ eyes
to peer at subtlety

a thousand unsolved questions lock
the gates to martyr’s bliss
and problemposer’s quest to know
leads to a dark abyss
walk along a cavern’s edge
where Psyche seeks a tryst
focusing her scrutiny
upon the paddler’s wrist

a funeral pyre’s flame is lit
and burns ‘neath crucifix
three men stand out of coffin’s ear
to argue politics
a jester loudly laughs his glee
at burlesque heretics
while the corpse lies quiet in the lea
mortaring tomb’s bricks

come wrap yourself in twining vines
that dance on endlessly
and wink at mocking courtesans
who coolly sit in trees
a man walks past his children’s door
divining memories
languidly they suckle breasts
and greet the dawns’ folly

a fire’s flames spark wildly high
as prisoners find release
returning home from distant shores
with booty on their leash
marching to a bugler’s call
persuade calamity
but handshakes adrift on distant shores
express uncertainty

the old man took his hand and led
him up a mountain trail
they sat and spoke a bit
and swore at their weaknesses
through life the sun bares
at knife point veiled threats
as leather bindings tautly stretch
those destiny calls to be born

the old man gestured toward
the scene below a waterfall billowed
rainbow sparkles of nymphs and satyrs
astonished eyes looked back up
into the old man’s face questioning
but the old man put a finger to his lips
and led Jason a short distance
away to a mound of rocks
what’s this my resting place “can you
help me” “what do you need” “please
remove the rocks” “sure but are you
all right” “I can’t” says the old man
“a landslide of rocks fell one day”
trapping the old man “but how can
he be standing there” Jason
wondered moving the rocks aside
lifting the load off the back of the old
man made his appearance seem
to turn to gas and when the mound
had a hole punctured into it
by Jason’s digging off the rocks
a wind escaped from a gaping
cave within and the old man
flew off into the sky like a cloud

Jason climbed down to the oasis
awaiting and came to the side
of the pool looking down he saw
the old man’s face slowly float over
the placid waters to rest beneath
him and as Jason peered deeply
the wispy image of the old man
wavered and disappeared leaving
only Jason’s reflected image to arise
from behind where the old man faded
he marveled they were one

moments of sleep lightly creep
across the floor of sandcastles
erected on memory’s foundation
instants one by one melt into
ever-presence leaking from the corners
of an eye a freezing shiver relinquishes
all hold forevermore
all the bad reviews go up
in smoke as Jason stakes a claim  
to a remembered giggle
he uttered as a tot
he’s slipping
without a cord smiling
nonetheless the nonchalant
smirk passes briefly
until even letting go
with every emotion ever felt
in one final explosion
of silent thunder
from the cloudless sky
fading into indigo
finds expression redundant
and struggle ceases
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