All posts by faithlesspaladin

About faithlesspaladin

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

The Night Without Wind

There is a light snow falling, as I wake up at four in the morning.

Tiny, pinhead sized flakes falling, in the night without any wind.

I watch them fall, wrapped in a comforter on the couch.

The illusion of safety.

What might I find when the sun comes up again?

This ugly and depressed part of town given the illusion of beauty

By the layer of glistening whiteness that can cover the world’s sins?

Might I believe it?

The snow falls, and I drift in and out wakefulness and back into dreams.

A bit of beauty in a world on fire, and the place in my mind

Where there is still tenderness and time and a touch on my face.

Can any grace still find us?

First Day of December

I disassociate, lying on the hill and looking up at the stars.

I am weightless and immaterial, like an angel.

The wind is no longer cold on the first day of December.

The stars are as close as the rain that dampened my hoodie

As I ran from the car to my office this morning.

The grey skies in winter that have no blossoms to nurture.

I kissed a girl, in my youth, who may have been an elf maiden,

Long golden hair and an eerie and astonishing face

Her kisses tasted like wild fruit, but was residue of a clove cigarette.

I am less than my cloudy breath, the solar wind pushing the stars

Across the horizon to paradise, that place that only an elf maiden knew.

I am less the whispered name of a woman I say before I slip away.

Heaven and Earth

Between heaven and earth,

In the playground by the public pool closed for winter,

Smoking the last cigarette in the pack.

The stars above make you feel small and unseen.

The stars above move you to consider going through with it.

Silent, late Sunday night, before you have to go back to work.

The row of apartments is still and dark.

Even the insects have stayed their hands.

Will you stay yours?

Cold snap, and you shiver in your navy blue hoodie, with the picture of the ice skater you love so much.

Cigarette almost gone, the stars as distant as ever, and you can only feel emptiness at all this wonder.

Will you stay?

The Hardest Thing To Bear

We were young, her and I,

on that late autumn drive,

through a foggy morning

in the winding rural roads.

We didn’t play music at all.

We were mostly silent, sad.

We smoked French cigarettes.

We were easy in that stillness.

Quiet, the hardest thing to bear.

Quiet, just content to be together.

The scent of those French cigarettes

mixed with sweetness of her perfume.

I was taking her home, to start again.

Groaning, bent boxes in the back seat.

At her house, in the afternoon bright,

I hugged her tight, kissed her cheek.

The scent of French cigarettes, her pefume,

lingered in my shirt and in my hair as I drove.

Quiet, the hardest thing to bear.

That she was gone twisted the knife.

A Sage

A Godly man,

aloof to the point of arrogance,

flippant to the point of cruelty,

a sage with a dogshit heart.

The world burns,

and he condscends,

and tut tuts and sighs.

He says “Fear is for children.”

I smile when I see him,

talk pleasantries, hoping, hoping,

to escape a sermon or lecture,

about how “I Need Jesus”.

But I am gone from him,

from his superiority complex,

his cold love and indifferent friendship,

and from his smug benevolence.

In the fading sunset,

looking west, to some unknown,

I see no angels or demons,

only human evil, all too common.

Sometimes, Even Now

I sometimes, even now, dream of love.

Of someone holding me in their arms.

Of soft kisses on my brow.

I sometimes, even now, imagine the life

I always dream of, all the adventures ahead,

could be real.

God, watches the flames fanned by his believers,

and the hate in their hearts, and the violence they

adore, and looks the other way.

I remember her, a high school friend, and the

morning rides on her motorbike on back rodes,

just us, just me holding on tight to her.

I thought maybe we run away to forests

and dark rivers, just us in a peaceful dream,

where no one would hurt us anymore.

But war is coming, in God’s name, His

followers thirst for blood, Church another

empty promise of love.

I sit alone on the cold grey rock by the road

where her and I once traveled on those misty


The sun rises, the mists fade, the day warms,

idiot cycles of nature go on and on forever,

but there’s nothing left for those left behind.


We might get sodas from the corner gas station.

I might ride with you, on the back of your motorbike,

up on the dead end highways, just to look down

on the lights of our town glowing gold in the darkness.

The pings and pops of your motorbike’s cooling engine,

and the wind of a November night that is not cool yet,

and the feel of your hand, humid and sweaty in mine,

might hold me to earth, and to you, for one more day.

If you were queen, and I your consort, and we ruled

from atop this mountain, high and above it all,

would this town finally be fair and have a place for the lost,

or would it be another autocratic nightmare, like USA or USSR?

Your lips taste of the cherry bubblegum as we kiss.

My heart still races when we kiss, I still flutter at your touch.

You gently lie your hand upon my stomach, and kiss me again.

It’s as all the way up here we are free. It’s as if nothing can touch us.

Sweet Things

I think of her. I shouldn’t. I do.

A cold Sunday morning. Autumn.

Autumn too far gone for color. Grey.

I lie in bed. It’s raining. I dream.

I imagine her touching my face.

A soft kiss. Her lips warm. Her eyes closed.

I imagine her weight, her solidness,

held tightly against me, her holding me.

There’s nothing left in my country to save.

The fires will burn. The war will come.

Only fall in love when there is a future,

for a life lived together, for a family to start.

I imagine her as the little spoon,

under these soft covers, my face filled

with the sweet scents of her silken hair.

I imagine us making love on a cold morning.

The world cares not for us, or our dreams,

or our hopes, the sweet things life can give.

The sweet things that life can take, as easily.

Only fall in love when there is a future.

There is no future.

Laughter Unheard

As a boy, I thought I saw her,

just running past, a mad blur,

the bobbing of a her ponytail,

laughter unheard after betrayal.

Mother held me close, fear had come.

She bought me a coke, paid the sum.

I turned, and looked, but saw emptiness.

Untroubled people in Christmas prettiness.

On TV, her face smiling and full of a glow.

Where she was, no one could now know.

Did I see her, from the corner of my eye?

Did Death hold her hand, did he ever cry?

An Unnamable Grace

The marble angel is pensive, mournful, and aloof.

Late afternoon in autumn, grey skies threaten rain.

I made a pact with this angel, though without proof,

that she’d keep me from falling in love, all hope wane.

The ground is covered with wet and muddy dark leaves.

The rains from a southern storm give this angel her tears.

Dreams are the expression of what the heart truly believes.

I dream of being up an heaven, an angel, above all my fears.

I love too easily, chase after a companion in this dark life.

Look to the sky, how those indifferent stars at all at peace!

I hope that the world won’t end, and for a faithful, kind wife.

But it all is burning, and there is no future, all life will decrease.

The angel, that stone face, a young woman made by one man.

An eerie and unnamable grace from his soul, to give her light.

Marvel at the wonders the sadness of life give since our art began.

Be gone from all mortal places, for ashes will fall, not snow so white.