The Pride Before, 20 (233.)

The owl says to the crow
“How do you do it? You know, go
out when the sky is bright, and everyone
can see you?”
The crow swallows something,
maybe a worm,
maybe a ring,
and says
“We’re not so different, you and I.
Harbingers of death,
fierce and intelligent,
loved by the quirky
and the crafty alike.
I know the fastest routes to travel,
or so they say;
‘as the crow flies’
is the best way.
But they never liken themselves to me;
this is an honor
saved for you and your habits.
I’ve heard many proclaim
‘I’m a night owl’
without blinking.”
The owl ruffles its feathers
and preens its chest.
It takes off without a word,
but the crow is pretty sure
there was a gleam in its eye.


The Pride Before, 18 (231.)

Rainfall, slick and sudden,
or not,
if you’d looked at the clouds.
Grey, pensive, ready to speak;
short conversation
to wet these hard streets.
Now their appetites are whetted,
and their blades prepped for chopping.
Go slow with soft tires,
or these friends,
the streets and the rain, they’ll
conspire to consume you.
I’ve been a melodramatic liar:
I love the rain, and I
welcome it into every fiber
of my being, and
my outfit.


The Pride Before, 17 (230.)

Who knew
that cookies and hazelnut goo
tasted so good together?
The goo-ification of anything
is a miraculous development.
Who was the first
to crush fruit into paste?
Jams and jellies, currants, tarts,
sweet Jesus of sugary foods,
thy parents guard the cosmic pantry
of desserts and good things!
A green thumb is great,
but a baker’s thumb
is even better.
There are pages and pages
of treats in that cookbook
that just sits on my kitchen counter,
and it’s
about time
I followed the trail
of homemade recipes
to my own pile of sweetmeats.


The Pride Before, 16 (229.)

Who first charted the course of your arm, the
tributaries that travel from hand to heart,
and all the clearings in between –
they are a marvel, and command respect, but I
wish to be the next explorer to walk
your wooded ways.
The old map may get your outskirts just right,
but everything further within,
it’s as mysterious as a pitch black night;
I wander ‘neath the moon with no torch,
and, bumping into hedges and trees,
find my way to your arms again.
I have parchment and inks,
though they do no good –
I can outline a path to your center
but the way is not always sure,
and these adventures to your good graces,
enjoyable treks to your oscillating laughter,
these are the journeys for which I live.
To map your love, in pretentious heartography,
is to render it
as lifeless as a sundered tree.
I want to live it.
I want to walk it.
Hold my hand and dance with me,
my dear;
we have eons left
to fill.


The Pride Before, 15 (228.)

It finally happened,
the AC guy came by yesterday,
oh yay,
and now I’ve gone back to
typing very slow
and wearing long pants
and wondering if I should put a hoodie on,
gods damn it,
I wasn’t, like, super messed up by
the incessant heat,
I’d just sweat a little more than usual,
and now I’m fucking freezing …
One can already hear the clouds speaking to one another:
“Oh, there he goes again, he’s not
very happy, is he?”
“No, it doesn’t seem like it.”
Hey, I like you, clouds,
but you can mind your own business.
Y’all change depending on
which way the wind is blowing
and how hard it’s going,
so uh,
let’s just agree
that we’re all fickle
and do the best we can to be content, right?
I’m all right.
The AC is working again, I don’t need to sweat,
and I
can put on extra clothes if I’m cold.
Thank God I love layers.


The Pride Before, 14 (227.)

We put a million blocks together, and
built a whole new home.
Yes, of course this was
in a video game – you think
I could afford a real home?
Why do you think I and
so many like me
cling to fantastical realms of make-believe?
It’s ’cause reality is stacked against us, and no
matter how hard we try, we can’t
get ahead in this system.
It’s hard.
That’s the most forward truth.
Some days
it bites down deep into my flesh
and rends my soul,
the way it’s so damn violent.
We enjoy these games, and they’re super fun,
but I’d
really like a home for real, you know?


The Pride Before, 13 (226.)

When the page is upside-down,
their wand holds them to the earth,
and they may fall
into the yawning cloud abyss
before their labors yield fruit.

This is the effect of frenzied
creation, the summoning of a capable golem
through sheer willpower – maybe
the proper steps weren’t taken,
and now
this creature’s construction
shows a shoddy craft and limited

Alas, despite grand intentions,
a lack of intricate designs
will leave this body in shambles.
No blueprint, no plan, just bolts and song;
this is the way to string a populace along.

Next time, the page may set aside their wand,
and leave it by the door.
They’ll set a small table on the floor,
one that’s flat with a smooth surface,
and they’ll write, and draw,
and imagine every piece fitting together.
The creation will stand strong,
even in destructive weather.

Longevity is often
a child of good planning.