Re(sponsibility) Quest

I shall tell a tale, I shall
Of a princess and her crown:
The crown just went about its day;
The princess thought it beat her down

As these tales are wont to go,
The princess sought advice
From witches three, who rhymed everything,
And always said it twice

So the witches said “dear girl, dear girl
Was never more a fool?
Was never more a fool or churl
In all this kingdom’s rule

In all this kingdom’s rule, we swear
Never have we seen
The crown that put you on to wear
No, never have we seen!”

Keeper of Secrets

What do you know, keeper of secrets
Keeping us all alone
Where do you go, keeper of secrets
When you are not at home

There is the door, why do you leave it
What are you lying for
Letting us go, but you never see it
You think it’s one-sided war

What did you do, keeper of secrets
What are you hiding for
One moment that’s true, keeper of secrets
One moment is all I implore

You give an excuse, I don’t believe it
Give me the answers due
You tie me a noose, pack up and leave it
Is that all I am to you?
Is that all I am to you?

Incompatible

I keep telling myself that it won’t work
Our dissonance is clear
You want to turn the music up
And I, just low enough to hear

You say how much there is to gain
And I, how much to fear
But one point on which we can agree
Is how much I love you, dear.

The Last Words of Allen Ingram

Oh my mind, the sacrifices we have to be
The last orders of magnitude
I don’t know how to turn off your corpse
But it seems that there’s no way through this process
So I merely take the time and I don’t stop
I don’t think it’s wrong
I don’t think it’s just
I have no idea what I’m doing
But the laughter and I have no choice

***

I decided to try and write something with the word suggestions of my tablet (whatever you call those). Naturally, what I got was something that sounds all the world like the mad ravings of a killer… A killer who simply must have the initials “A. I.” of course.

The Confession

“My life was a shitshow. Oh, sure, you can chalk that up to teenage exaggeration. I was nineteen — so, a late bloomer into teenage angst, but the term still applied. I had finally got my head out of my ass enough to see the world I was actually in. It sucked.

Like any decent angry and depressive teen, I wished my family dead many times. Like a phoenix — or most any heroic protagonist — I could then rise from their ashes and become something mighty: my own person, for one.

So when I went out walking in the woods, that’s usually what I was thinking of. A life without them. And then of course, it came true.

I came home to find the door slightly ajar. You know the details almost as well as I do — or perhaps better, as in retrospect, I might have been in shock. Regardless, I’ll assume you can fill in what I found there. Eventually, as I stood there, an idea popped into my head. I think I laughed. I’d wanted to kill them how many times? What a good joke it would be, I thought. I’d watched enough crime shows, I figured I could do it. And I did.

I wiped down all the doors, theā€¦ weapon. I made sure my fingerprints were in damning places — but not so obvious ones that I could be considered a stupid criminal. I hated the thought of being considered a stupid criminal. I dumped the murder weapon in a neighbor’s trash can, I burned my clothes, I took a shower, and then I called 911.

I can’t remember half of what I said to the officers who came, or to anyone after. I barely remember you, and that because you were frustrating. I do remember being very proud of my performance though. I sowed doubt without being painfully obvious, and it wasn’t too long before most people were convinced that I was secretly a monster. Even the shrink they sent me to thought I was insane. Though I suppose that didn’t require much acting.

Then I was here. I was very pleased with myself for a while, and the attention certainly helped. But the high didn’t last. Eventually it sank in that it was just me alone. My family was gone. As for the real killer, any trepidation I might have had about him disappeared when even months after my sentence, he failed to show.”

“Until now,” the detective finally spoke.

“Yeah, until now.” Abigail shrugged, looking away.

“Why did he come? Why now? He stole a police badge just to get in here; it’s not as if he was afraid of the trouble.”

“I don’t know why he waited so long, but he said he wanted to play a game with me. That when the time came, I’d know what he meant, and that I should ‘stay tuned.’ I was thinking of watching Silence of the Lambs, or maybe a nice Ted Bundy documentary.”

The detective gave a stern look. “I don’t think I need to tell you that this is a serious matter, or to keep an eye on the news.”

“And yet you’re doing so anyway,” she smiled with feigned innocence.

He sighed and stood up. “I’ll be back the moment we learn more,” he set his card on the table, “don’t hesitate to call if you can think of anything further.”

“Yes sir,” she said, saluting and glancing at the card for the name she couldn’t remember, “Detective North.”

The Painter’s Dilemma

Too many self portraits deface a soul
And I’m but a painter with too few to paint
All I see is the same in all of my models
The same variations on different taints

I once was a painter who looked up at great heroes
And secretly hoped that one day I would be
A sculpter of clay such that conquers all battles
And somehow of that clay I could recreate me

But now all I see are the base imperfections
That block out my way to what could never be
I can paint over, but always corrections
Can never be true when truth is just me

Basilisk

What claim can Cupid’s arrows have
To have triumphed through your armor
When you with but a devil’s laugh
Can lay waste to they who harbor
Such weapons as might penetrate
Your skin of sorrow and of scale
And with a look you seal their fate
Wrapping them in stony mail
Never more to strike at you
With beauty and with song
Never more to bid adieu
To the moments they were strong
There is only weakness now
Brittle, gray and dull
But if your eyes could only life allow
They would be fairest of them all.

The Slitherine Knight

“It was many years ago,”
He whispered back to me
As he grimaced at his hand
And its fist full of jewelry.

“I am scion of the longest line
Of the noblest knights that you could find,
And a bishop I’d known from my youth
Asked if to help I’d be inclined.

We were to exorcise a demon
From the body of a child;
But the thing we thought was weaker
Proved obstinate and wild.

It held my friend’s life in its hand,
Its alone to steal;
And to free an evil from the land,
I chose to make a deal.

It lives safe inside me now:
A beast of avarice and greed.
Good fortune they don’t speak in words;
Though some things are harder not to heed.”

He looked again to his handful,
And I said he was absurd:
Why not simply kill it now?
“A knight never breaks his word.”