All posts by faithlesspaladin

About faithlesspaladin

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

Waves of Fortune

Blue and white,

sand and sky.

Blue and white,

eyes and skin.

Blue and white,

her bathing suit.


Summer soft

and waves cold.

Summer hot

and shivering hands

holding tight.

Waves of fortune.


Mermaid once,

she’s still sweet.

The roar of fire

and the lost days

are mine alone.

Listen for death.


Blue and white,

her colors now

as she swims free,

and I watch,

not the boy I was,

but a ghost.


Belinda Sleeps

Belinda sleeps while the soft whispers uncoil.
She sleeps so the tender words will not spoil.

Someone is there in her dreams, a girl angel proud.
That girl angel picks the words that she sings aloud.

Piled like a child’s alphabet blocks in an empty nursery.
The prayers offered in supplication are entirely cursory.

And as I perfect the cacophony of adoration and devotion,
The howls of affection and the self-inflicted ringing of emotion,

Belinda stirs and whimpers in her sleep, in the other, darker room.
She carries the hopes of calling down the sun, and our child in her womb.

Can my song and her words calm the death like seas coming with mourning?
Can this Tower of Babel tear down the starlight that God’s Crown is adorning?

I kiss her head, I make the cross on her eyes, I say a spell of protection in silence,
And as she wakes, and our eyes meet, our souls exchange silver keys to reliance.

The lights come on, she writes the incantations of poetry on unlined, white sheets.
And with child, with songs and words calling better things, the ceremony completes.

Foolish Promises

Young girl, she walks the hills
and the secret places in the wastes.
She watches the sun rise and fall
and bathes in the stars silver light.
She weeps in companion’s arms,
taking comfort in their warmth,
for soon she shall pass away.

The warrior king promised The Lord,
“Grant me victory in battle
and I will sacrifice to you
the first thing that greets me
when I return to my home.”

As the warrior rode into battle,
his daughter, the only child
and the king’s most beloved,
waited for her father to return,
eager to wrap him in her arms,
to know he was safe and home again.

And the battle raged and raged,
the ground soaked the blood of soldiers
and the tears of the fallen nation.
The warrior king proclaimed his victory,
standing over the ruin of his enemies.

“Thank you My Lord.” He prayed.
“For surely you were at my side
and delivered my enemies to me.”

The daughter, the most beloved,
saw her father riding towards their home,
worn and weary and scarred, but alive.
Among the music of tamborines
and the voices rejoicing in triumph,
she ran to her father and embraced him.
“Oh father, I’m so glad you’re home.”

And the king pushed his daughter away,
and he howled to the stars above
and to the ever silent moon.
“My child, my child, my most beloved!
You have no idea of what you have just done.”

Promised she was to The Lord for victory,
she must be burnt and sacrificed,
the price for the king’s victory was his only child.

“Father, I know I must perish now,
but grant me time to wander the hills
and smell the salty wind of the sea
and lament in the embrace of companions,
for I shall never marry, nor have a precious child.”

She wandered the hills and saw their wonders
and smelled the salty air by the sea,
felt it’s sting on her tender flesh.
She wept in the arms of her companions
before sleeping, knowing soon she would pass away.

And she returned to her father, as promised,
and she lay down on the wood gathered
and wept not as the flames consumed her,
and the hot wind carried her ashes to Heaven.

(Judges 11, verses 1-40.)

Such Glory

You came out of the shop, paper bags full of groceries in your arms.

Sallow skin, blue eyes dulled that used to shine so bright, such glory.

Too thin, too tired. I called your name. I hoped you weren’t a ghost.


You turned to me, still tired and worn, but you smiled so brightly.

The past is long ago. The good times are long ago. But it connects us.

Youth and dreams, when everything was real, when summer was bright.


We talk and laugh. You tell tall tales of turning your life around, of winning.

I tell you of my job, and tall tales of a chance of love, of artistic fame.

We talk and laugh, the connection bright again for a moment, just a moment.


“We’ll meet again, soon.” You say. “We’ll get a beer, and it’ll be good again.”

You smiled, still so tired and worn out, but still shining bright, a muted star.

You said we’d meet again soon, but I would never see you again, you slipped away.


Maybe we’ll share that beer in heaven, maybe all will be well there.

All These Ghosts

I drive late at night, no music or radio, the window down, the nights finally cool.

I drive to the all night diner where a friend works overnight, and I am so restless.

I wished I dreamed of the sea, or empty galaxies, anything but the things I live with.


Garish and bright in the darkness, the diner is bright and beaconing, all these ghosts.

I sit at a booth, and she sees me, and, without having to ask, brings me unsweet iced tea.

We chat, make small talk. I order breakfast. She smiles, her face always sad and distant.


We won’t talk much. Not crowded, but she’ll do side work, or go outside for a smoke.

She’ll keep the teas coming, and I’ll try to read I book I brought, before going over to

my smartphone, and try to find something funny, or spooky, or soothing to insomnia.


I always stay awhile after my meal. She’s working, we can’t talk much, but I love her,

and we find comfort nonetheless in each other’s company, sharing something I can’t

put a name to, but lives in us both and these cursed hours, sadness, distance from all.


The light blocks the darkness outside the windows, glares away the stars and emptiness.

The light that offers nothing more than illumination, no golden hue, no warmth, no hope.

She’s rolling up silverware into napkins, binding them, and I don’t want to be alone, now.


Nineteen in the dead of winter. Nineteen when she passed away.

Blood on her lungs. Fever on her pale brow. Slipped to the reaper.

In a velvet lined box, in a pretty white gown, she was laid to rest.

The snow fell that day, fat wet flakes, and the crow let a hungry cry.


Brother, still ill, and falling paler and feverish, fading away, slipping.

Baby Edith already gone like her big sister. Papa starting to spit blood.

What unquiet spirits had fallen? What demons had come? What curse?

In the little town, in this grand house, the reaper was coming for his claim.


They dug up Mercy, up from the cold earth, opened that opulent casket.

Her skin pale as the fresh snow, her lips blood red, flesh still soft, pristine.

Silver tears had flown from her closed eyes, cut trails on fair, chalk cheeks.

They tore out her heart. They tore out her liver. Burned them upon the rock.


And the ashes in water they made her brother drink, to break a vampire’s spell.

He drank her ashes, the flesh destroyed to be made clean, to free them of curses,

to pull brother and Papa out of the reaper’s hand, be here when spring sun returned.

But brother and Papa still slipped away, the reaper came away with his bitter claim.


And the sexton still says, her remembers Mercy’s cold, dead body, still pristine and pale.

The smooth skin as pale as the fresh snow that night, without the moon above them.

The red lips, red as blood, red as life, and with a sorrow on their remnant smile.

The sexton still remembers, the cry when they cut out her heart, the cry of deathly rage.

A Bright Sunny Day

A bright sunny day in November. Soft clouds. Endless blue.

A child in her arms, sleeping. The minister mumbles, sighs.

He was her love. He was her one and only. He killed a man;

a man of grace, a man of power, a man beloved in all light.


The wide open plains of West Texas, stargazing side by side.

The time their song played on the radio, dancing cheek to cheek.

His anger, his rage, his reconciling words, his blaming her for it all.

His soft kisses, his distance, his love of his baby girl, his everything.


The ruler was dead. Her man had killed him. Just her and his mother,

here in a bright blue November day, the gravediggers scowling at them.

The minister mumbles and sighs, not wanting to here, as she cries.

He was a monster. He was her husband. He was broken. He broke her.


The simple casket is lowered into the fresh dug earth, down to Hades.

The gravediggers had opened the coffin, one last time, for her to see his face.

She kissed his brow. Daughter in her arms, looked down, but did not understand.

The gravediggers lowered him into the ground, and she was left with what he’d done.



Long Hair Let Down

The young women, in blue, and green, and orange bikini’s,

behind the wire, behind the trees, laughing in the desert sun.

The young women, with long hair let free, honeyed or dark.

Long hair let down behind the wire, behind the trees, in the sun.


The pool is blue and clear, like the wide open desert sky above.

One young woman floats and looks into that big, eternal eye.

The pool is blue and clear, and her eyes see the angels weeping.

One young woman floats in the clear, blue water, softly dreaming.


A jet, one of ours, flies high above, and screams the howl of dragonfire.

The young women don’t look up, behind the wire, inured to it’s call now.

A jet, one of ours, flies high above, an angel for us who will soon weep.

The young women don’t look up, the sky is open and clear and blue today.


The young woman floats in the pool, water hot, skin drying, her eyes dazzled.

The jet, the angel, flown on, and she hears the rumble of a demon past the wire.

The young woman floats in the pool, it’s so hot, the sun bright, her eyes dazzled.

The jet, the angel, flown on, and hears the hunger of a demons past the wire.


And then, all is white and bright and at an end.

No Promise of Outer Space

Black leather and denim hoodie, the hood drawn over her face.
An old ‘70s Yamaha motorbike, a faded and flecked blue.
Drizzly rain, clouds a crown on a starry night,
No promise of outer space.

Death and life in the smell of gasoline, the fire of damnation
And fuel of the frontier, the scream of speed into darkness.
I got on the motorbike behind her, press myself to her,
No promise of heaven, only escape.

One jammed open eye showing light on the empty highways,
From the bleak valleys of these Appalachian Mountains,
To the arid plains, on our way to the Sea of Cortez,
No promise of love, only of sweetness.

Asleep beneath the sky, the air chill and the stars endless,
My head on her shoulder, watching her breathe, at peace.
Sleeping bag snug for two, as if her skin could swallow me.
No promise of dreams, only hope.

Everything Is Bright

The first of spring, warmth is coming, trees, flowers blooming.

It is my birthday.

I ride my bike by the canal, thinking of my friend.

She loves me so.

I think of her and her love and warmth and tenderness.

I love her so.

The first of spring, life is coming back, everything is bright.

The hard times are over.

I’m riding to her house. She has a present for me, chosen with care.

She picked it just for me.

Something wonderful, wrapped with care, given from her heart.

She is my world.

The hard times are over. The world begins again. We will live again.

Maybe me and her, have a future now.

The lush trees and green grass and tulips nodding in the wind.

Already covering the scars.

She is waiting for me on the front steps, the box in her lap.

She loves me so.

I think of her, and how we pulled through the fire and dark.

I love her so.

The first of spring, life is coming back, everything is bright.

We love each other so.