All posts by faithlesspaladin

About faithlesspaladin

I am a writer from the Appalachian Foothills of East Tennessee.


Early, and my thoughts are not soft on waking,
All the weight of anger and despair already
Here with me.

Maybe, I should stop at the park on Saturday morning,
Sit in the swings as the sun rises, take comfort from what
Seemed like a wonderous world.

I sit in the parking lot at work, listening to a sad song,
Love unrequited, and try to her tender voices call back
Even a sweet sadness.


Blackberry Winter

A blackberry winter, cool and mild in May.
She again wears her navy blue hoodie,
Soft and warm, soothing her troubled heart.

She remembers picking blackberries as a girl,
Her little fingers stained with the purple juice,
Her arms and wrists pinpricked from the thorns.

A blackberry winter, when she was sixteen, so cool
On May Day, her first kiss from a gentle boy, passionate
About what the world could yet be.

So much older, the coolness of a spring day, without
The sweet treats that drew blood, or the hope of the
Future or the touch of a kind lover.

A blackberry winter, her hoodie is soft, warm, soothing.
She hopes she’ll find wonder again from what’s left,
That she’ll find one worthy of letting touch her face


Sleeping in the fields outside Domremy-La-Pucelle.

I watch the stars above, spin and dance, try to heal.

She walked here, long ago, in her girlhood prelude.

A faithful child, pious and bright; God, angels wooed.


The stars above, so ancient and faraway, still like then.

I look at the stars she saw, lay in her shepherdess glen.

I am still touched by her grace through time, in this place.

But I will never see her in her pride, never touch her face.


I am a broken pilgrim; can I be used, can I be strong, brave?

Will there be even one hurting soul that my love would save?

Am I good enough to be her admirer, to follow her ever higher?

Am I a good man, even if rough and hewn, like her man La Hire?


Ghosts haunt open fields, this town where she was born and grew.

Far away from this forests and friends was God waiting to take you.

I watch those stars who saw and looked after you, in that long past time.

Will I be a lost lamb you find in the night, as I call out with this tender rhyme?



Saint Rachel

She rode the second hand, silver and red BMX bike through the green and wooded park.

Stopping by a pawnshop, after walking and wandering, she bought with her little money.

She rode it, her wild and unkempt hair blowing in veils and blinds, until well after dark.

She hid among the trees, not a prophet or full of grace, earing locusts and the wild honey.


She felt she needed to stay close to the green and wild life, stay in this pocket of growing.

The trees and grass pruned and shaped, but still alive and still like the world she knew.

Deep and dark forests and wide open meadows, the winds the dandelions were sowing.

Swallowed up by God’s upon mouth, the clouds his verdant tongue in skies so very blue.


There was a Garden of Martyrs, and the Saint Rachel had her coat of arms born there.

She dreamed of Saint Rachel, now and again, but no longer held her hand, lost all faith.

Faith wasn’t the sanctuary she was promised, the friends not noble, so she fell to despair.

Saint Rachel was an icon in her wallet, no whispers came now, no touch, Holy Wraith.


Yet, as summer was well and truly arrived, she rode out into the dismal city, to fight.

Her battered and reliable bike, her heart of spells, her true voice thin as onion paper.

Saint Rachel wept in the garden, and Judas grew impatient for War, knuckles white.

She rode onto those streets, swarming locusts, abandoned honey, on a moral caper.

In Memphis, She Headed West

Not only is sex evil, but it’s gross.

She turned her head away from him,

blocked his mouth with the flat of her palm,

watched the city pass outside the bus window.


He turned from her, miffed and silent.

The body and all it’s working, it’s hungers,

and it’s frailty and disgusting detritus,

was only redeemed by soft, and simple touch.


She wanted to hold his hand, cuddle close,

lay her head upon his shoulder, maybe fall asleep

as the bus drove on through the night to Memphis.

Even the kisses he fished for had the taste of sickness.


She watched the world pass by, past Nashville, into the west,

and she knew in Memphis she’d he heading out alone to Denver.

He wanted what he wanted, and would take nothing less.

The revolted flesh overwritten by the perverse pleasures.


Just touch me, leave all the other to rest.

Touching, the weight of another in her arms.

None of the mixing, none of the risk of new life,

and all the damnation it brought upon an innocent thing.


In Memphis, he left her. In Memphis, she headed west.

God only touched another when touch was all there was.

Sex, the evil of debasement and cruelty and vice.

Sex, the original sin, the most despairing, the least despised.


Angel might now keep her company in her dreams……..

Friday Night, Spring

Friday night, spring is here. Warm again, after a bitter winter.

We eat our meal together, talk and laugh, feel alive.

Try not to think of what we saw on the news.


Hand in hand in the picture show. Stealing kisses.

A romance stronger than all the darkness in the world

unfolds before us onscreen. Are we strong enough?


Walking to the subway station, we look to the sky.

It’s open, without stars. And we see nothing flying through.

The world’s on the edge of the end again. What can we do?


The end of the night, time to go home, catch our trains back.

One last kiss. One last moment for love. The world may burn.

We say “I love you.” We say it for real. The world may burn.


Mom and dad glued to the TV. Still on the brink. Still fucked.

Stupid dickheads playing chicken with the world. What can I do?

My lips still hum with that kiss. Love still fills my heart.


The world may burn.

Siren In Dirty Water

The street is empty. The streetlamps’ light is sickly, piss yellow.

I walk, more at ease than in the people packed daylight, noise.

I’m walking to Henley St. Bridge, past the stone church, past light.


It’s spring, but the nights are already becoming summer hot again.

The air is still and stewing, thick with the moisture of a coming storm.

The bright colored lights on the bridge offer no comfort, no real glow.


I stand on the middle of the bridge, looking down to the city below.

Lights at night are deceptive in their golden beauty, soft glow halos.

But it’s a lie, an ugly city with no love or hope or any place to go.


The air is choking and harsh, a bare wind, rains will maybe come.

The fall to the water might be enough, to leave this rotten place forever.

There is a siren in dirty water, my last lover true, calling me down to her.

November Night

I stopped, in the cold November night, to look at an abandoned car. An old model, clunky and worn, and in a drab color. I barely caught sight of it there, off to the side of the road, by an old and boarded up farmhouse.

No lights, no one stranded and waving down someone for help, no smoke or flat tires. Just there against the old farmhouse, empty.

I looked with a flashlight through the dirty windows, I shone the thin stream of light in every direction into the vast empty valley beneath the craggy and black Maine mountains.

I saw nothing. I saw no one.


I turned off the flashlight. I didn’t know what to do. Maybe it was intentionally abandoned. Maybe someone came and got them. Maybe they were on the narrow state highway, walking back to town, or to an all night gas station that would still be open.

No one here. Nothing around. I heard not even the scraping sounds of night insects. I heard a little creek, babbling away in the dark. I heard nothing else.

I started to walk back to my car. I’d worked all night. Hard work. I was worn and tired. I didn’t see what else I could do. I had stopped. I wanted to help. But no one was here to help.

I saw nothing. I saw no one.


Then; a spark! Red and yellow, out in the wide open sky! Among the smattering of stars and the new moon, I saw something, unnatural. It hovered and flashed, and was not static as a star or moving in the straight line of a satellite.

It was moving away, higher into the sky, towards the endlessness of open space. I felt my heart turn cold, and my bowels churn with fear. I knew, somehow, that it was a young woman, with honeyed hair and dark eyes, that had been in the car.

I knew, somehow, she was up in that ship. They were taking her. She damned, and would never be brought home again.

Demons in the sky. Mocking me.


Then, in a blink, in a second, it was gone. It was going to whatever place, in the air or between the air, that they stole away, unseen. I felt as if the sky was an arrogant and malevolent eye staring down upon. I felt afraid, weak, and naked beneath it’s sight.

I ran back to my car, started it up, and headed in a rush back to my house, no thoughts but to get home, to get away from the sky, that eye, and what demons had seen me, as they snatched the young woman away.

I made it into my house, and went down into the basement, and stayed there until morning, fitfully pacing and unable to sleep or to calm the panic and fear. Sunrise only barely relieved it.

Demons in the sky. Mocking me.


And watching the news that morning, I saw a story on a missing young woman, the young woman I had somehow known was the one taken by those demons, those hungry spirits. A young woman with honeyed hair and dark eyes.

I saw the picture of the car left by that old and boarded up farmhouse. I saw that there was no trace of her. No clue as to where she had gone.

We are but sport. Insects to torture.


I tried to sleep. In some cold sweated fits, I did. Bad dreams came. The eye looking down upon me, through the roof and clouds and through the very flesh and bone of my body, into the electrical impulses of my thoughts.

They saw me. They saw it all. Nowhere to hide.

We are but sport. Insects to torture.


A long stretch of highway, dead of night, through empty desert.

I listen to the stories of ghosts, and alien hybrid women

who know what revelation is to come,

about the days ending and the whole sorry business of extinction.


Big almond eyes, with contacts to cover all the black with white, blue.

The sharp faces and the dedicated glamour of a silent prophetess.

Owls perch on their hands, with eyes of the dead, and cowardly mice

held in their beaks, the sacrifices for a working of fame.


The road is endless, and if this rig breaks, if at all falters,

I’ll have no way home or out of purgatory before rapture comes.

A girl in Barstow is hungry for my eyes, and tendrils of my bones.

A glamourous girl, sharp faced, with the apocalypse written in her palm/

Slim Shoulders

She had slim shoulders. The weight of the world slid right off them.

Thin and bird hollow angles. Wings were kept under her satin coat.

Loose and curly chestnut hair fell over those shoulders, hiding joy.


She smoked expensive and smooth French cigarettes, white as time.

Thin fingers that picked the eyes of the dead, like crows on a battlefield.

Almost an Orthodox cross, but there’s no line pointing to heaven, or hell.


Those wings did not unfurl, restless and bitter, made for another world.

Fae she might have been, glamour of an alien, or half-human changeling.

She walked away, into the crowd, hungry for eyes and her crow daughter.


The scents of putrid tobacco and exotic cruelties lingered, a soft barbarism.

The little independent book store was closing for the night, too early for death.

In the crowd, I saw bulges under her satin coat, and the bouncing of chestnut hair.