©2021 Michael Raven

i walk my own path
through the woods
with wights clinging
to my side
-- they remain 
waiting for the dim one
to learn how
to speak their tongue

phantom passing touches
of strangers give slight
warmth, but
never ever enough
& the mists
always return to
chilling flesh, bone, heart

they hop:
branch to branch to
ground to stump to rot
sometimes laughing
at the fool following
sometimes chiding
the child who is following
sometimes silently
guiding the man wandering
down the narrow 
wooded path
-- memory escaping
-- thought deepening
while the trees backfill
the footprinted loam


©2021 Michael Raven

the new ways lie broken
shattered and painted in
dried blood stigmata
the culling of overgrowth

the groves return
old growth, old ways, old songs
where honor still lives
fathered by ash
oak thorn

we sold souls for tuppence
where we should have
kept the gold
hold on to the old ways
hold on to before

gambled lives
gambled lies
time to toss the dice &
watch the bones dance
before settling the score

entre chien et loup/

©2021 Michael Raven

trees flicker with the light & death of day
the night sliding thief-like into the sky
with indigo, tyrian & byzantium  fingers quenching
the fires still burning the forests bright

i think i saw you smiling 
though the shadows may have lied
-- they often do winter tide

hands clutched, you stole to the forest garden
my ghost in tow, stumbling over root
rock & the fates tangled skein woven
we lay in the leaves, snow & loam

we became the heat stoked with fires within
we were wine & earth & fire
-- you devoured me whole

flesh & blood
consumed, i made you whole

entre chien et loup = between dog and wolf [French idiom for dusk]


While, in some respects I understand the motivations for certain decisions being made recently, I have to admit that I get tired of erasure of my past versus substantive discussion of historical wrongs that offend a world that seems to be hell-bent on being offended about nearly everything. And, in the process, milquetoast-ing the world to sanitize it of anything that might be hurtful. I’m not talking one side or the other — each side in this has been doing it’s damnedest to make sure their narrative is spoon-fed and consumed without question while each are furiously try to rewrite history as if nothing ever happened except for their own variant of the tale.

These are opportunities to discuss and educate, but you can’t do that when you scrub every nasty little “FUCK” from the graffiti-laden walls. That offensive “FUCK” was there and, instead of washing it away so someone else can just put it back up as “FUCKER” to claim it is differsame (using a double-speak equivalent of my own). Own that history. Accept it. Learn from it. Don’t pretend it didn’t exist because it hurts your tender feelings to see plain evidence that it once existed.

We’re taking the lowest-common denominator of the pampering 70s and 80s to a new extreme instead of looking at things head on and discussing them like mature societies will. Instead of growing adults, we are growing overgrown children because they have to be protected from the past. Erasure and overprotectiveness won’t solve the problems we face; meaningful conversations can and will.

Too bad people are more concerned about wiping away the symptoms instead of addressing the disease head-on.



©2021 Michael Raven

From the trees hung trinkets and talismans, bone fetish and feather. Was it red paint or scarlet blood splashed in the trees and on the scattered dead leaves? Laura could not tell, though the cinnabar stuff was far to viscous to be paint, she knew, which left scant few other options as to what those slaughterhouse hues might mean.

The wind shifted, rattling the bones hollow, the devil’s own xylophone playing on the wings of air. She felt, rather than heard, the subvocalized growl forming from the perimeter. The sound permeated the thick air and came from everywhere and no place, trapped in the amber moment. Laura knew she should run, but was trapped indecision, though she knew her chance at escape was evaporating. The only movement was the bones settling back, the clickclack song fading into the night as she stood there, frozen before the cacophony erupted and she screamed.