yellow emblem

The Horsemen's Paradise.

(after R.W.Chambers)

Preface

  • When we come calling,
  • many find that we have our own definitions,
  • Including paradise.
  • We locate these words where they fit,
  • Chains to hold our victims in place.
  • -P.

Time to leave

I am Death/ in the end I am what you know

You wash the red grease from your clothing/ trying to forget what it is/ though the men demand its name/ and the price

"She struck at me" you reply/

'It is time for us to leave, they say/ but you wash the red grease from your clothing/ trying to forget what it is/

"She said, 'He is gone, now we can be'... and then she struck at me, as if she didn't mean..."/ "but that isn't all she said" / they lie in the next room/ unidentifiable from their remains

"So it was self-defense," one of the men offers/ "So it began with three, then two, then..."/

"She had told me, 'I am all that you know'. I only struck back to tell her how wrong she was"/ again the men demand their names/ and the price

"It is time for you to leave," you tell them/ "She didn't mean that he is... "/ but that is not all you said

"We'll wait for him to finish," one tells another/ "they're both in the next room, unidentifiable from their remains"/ "now we can be"/ first three, then two...

"And the price?" you ask/ washing the grease from your clothing/ trying and failing to forget what it is.

The price is to try and fail to forget/ all that I have said/ that I am all that you know/ I am Death/

Like you

--D.

What will never be had

  • I'm Famine. I take away all, before.
  • I once thought I was Death plus time.
  • My brothers named me for one thing that we share with you;
  • Men will have their own opinions, so says Pestilence.
  • I take them away as well. Before.
  • When we began to wake in mid-slaughter, me and my
  • companions bloody
  • arrows, swords, raised to fall again,
  • we stopped a moment. To decide. After the war, of course.
  • After the plague, the death;
  • before we began them again.
  • Who were we?
  • Had anyone named us?
  • Who knew for certain?
  • What did every person ask, as we sent them away?
  • Leading our horses, we searched among our trophies, so that we might know.
  • We never looked above us, until it was too late.
  • Had we done so, we'd have known what it was we starved for.
  • The gasping can be heard from the dirt path outside the hut.
  • All know it, who pass by.
  • Two enjoy one another, draw themselves into paradise.
  • The lust is silent in the dawn, calculating from the fortress leagues away
  • walls of wood or metal or stone gauging all that is out of reach.
  • A pinpoint behind a figure in a window, a marquis' eyes casting towards that hut,
  • always towards, never quite luring the needed closer.
  • This situation and ours, exactly alike.
  • So said Pestilence.
  • If only I'd believed.
  • Rappelling back down the tunnels and halls of hanging bones and organs
  • that we had cut out of humankind,
  • We sought the strokes of blade and morningstar,
  • Sharpened scales and crowns,
  • To see the patterns in what we did.
  • Someone else had taken those, not I.
  • Did any know for certain?
  • We stopped to decide. After the war, of course. After the plague, the death;
  • Before we began them again.
  • Who are we?
  • Why had no one named us?
  • For a while we thought we all were Death plus time.
  • Is that what every person asked, as we sent them away? Who we were?
  • We never listened, until it was too late.
  • Well past when our mounts were long gone,
  • We found the patterns in the places that we had separated,
  • Rappelling back down the tunnels and halls of hanging bones and organs
  • That we had cut out of humankind.
  • We sought anew where we'd each gone our own way.
  • One left nothing behind. Clearly he was War.
  • One took away all, but afterwards. Clearly he was Death.
  • Another gave what was not asked for. Clearly he was Pestilence.
  • Then who would I be?
  • Every creature starves for one thing or another, said Death,
  • In his halting way.
  • Someone takes away all, before. It must be you.
  • Then we looked above us, and it was too late.
  • We saw light. Halls without limit, washed clean by the sun.
  • Our victims, engaged in life eternal.
  • They werent departed, after all. Someone had taken them up.
  • Is that what every person asked for, as we sent them away?
  • We'd never listened, and now it was too late.
  • We had not sent them away; we had sent them home.
  • Below, the dark, the screams, the halls of fire.
  • As out of reach as the light above.
  • Leading our horses, we'd searched among our trophies,
  • so that we might know.
  • The gasping can be heard from the dirt path outside the hut.
  • All know it, who pass by.
  • The remaining one of two breathes his last,
  • drawing himself towards Paradise.
  • The lust is silent in the dawn, calculating from the fortress
  • walls made of the
  • dead -- all that is out of reach.
  • A pinpoint behind four figures in a high window,
  • eyes casting towards the dirt path,
  • Always towards, never luring the needed closer.
  • This situation, exactly like that of the marquis.
  • So said Pestilence.
  • I believed, at last.
  • Every creature starves for one thing or another, said Death,
  • In his halting way.
  • Now we knew what we starved for.
  • So my brothers named me for one thing that we share with you all.
  • Then, who am I?
  • Well past when our mounts were long gone,
  • When at last we woke, finding my and my companions bloody arrows,
  • swords, raised to fall again,
  • We stopped a moment. To decide. After the war, of course.
  • After the plague, the death;
  • Before we began them again.
  • We saw that men will have their own opinions.
  • I take them as well, before.
  • My brothers named me for one thing we share with you all.
  • In doing so we made known what we would never have, or reach.
  • I once thought I was Death plus time.
  • I took even that away, before.
  • Im Famine.
  • F.

William

  • I'm War
  • I fight against both sides
  • I'm th' reason why nobody wins
  • Th' thorns in th' field cut every ankle
  • Some of ya carry treasure from the siege
  • Others carry bodies
  • Only way ya know ya won is seein' which way you advance
  • An' It's not enough t' matter
  • Only way ya know ya lost is seein' which way you retreat
  • Others carry grenade launchers
  • Some of ya carry yer guts in yer hands
  • While th' dyin' in th' field grasp at every ankle
  • I'm War
  • I fight against both sides
  • I'm th' reason why nobody wins
  • But me.
  • --W.

Adams Memorial

'The only true afterlife is memory.' Anon.

(For Marian 'Clover' Hooper Adams, 1843-1885)

  • On my way among the worlds,
  • I've traversed this graveyard and that.
  • Given how many they are, it is difficult not to.
  • When I do so, I have mulled on our victories, and our defeats.
  • I have as many of one as of the other.
  • So I once assumed.
  • Like my brothers,
  • You may call me Pestilence.
  • I give what isn't asked for.
  • I'll say why else in a bit.
  • I don't recall which cemetery it was,
  • East coast of North America. Yes, that much.
  • Trees gathered as if to hide something from view,
  • Before which a broken 'L' of seats outcropped.
  • Among lines of markers, I cast by,
  • Grew curious.
  • From the wrong angle, you'll see what resembles a tiny amphitheatre
  • Akin to those far larger
  • In which sacrifices are made, one of another, for the joy of the rest.
  • This was the smallest I've ever encountered, certainly,
  • Making every seat 'front row.'
  • In that 'other' time, I hear, one never sat that close,
  • For fear of blood spatter. I rounded the curve of trees
  • To find what was on offer.
  • I've traversed this graveyard and that,
  • Though I seldom stop.
  • They contain those we're already done with!
  • When I do so, I have mulled on our victories and our defeats.
  • So then, was this either?
  • Bronze, she resides within a great clothlike fold,
  • Not a cloak or cape. Something coarse. Yes, a shroud.
  • Right hand brushing something, either away or closer.
  • Loosely hooded, the visible woman's face is sealed off.
  • Seated before i's wall,
  • it simply 'is,'
  • As many of any 'one' as of any 'other.'
  • I sat, though I'd other places to get,
  • Expecting to understand.
  • What did it tell me, too quietly to hear yet?
  • Trees gathered as if to hide us both from view,
  • Still my brothers cast by,
  • Grew curious,
  • Arrived one by one, that they too might see.
  • We'd come with our weapons, 'long ago', as is well known,
  • To make of all the worlds an amphitheater
  • In which sacrifices are made, one by another, for the joy of the rest.
  • How if at all akin to this far tinier one?
  • Every seat 'front row,'
  • Each in our own way, we did it.
  • So many fields of dead, after the war!
  • Wasn't that a victory?
  • We'd all added weapons with the years.
  • Not long ago I took on insanities of every sort
  • So, assuming that I'd found evidence of another one here,
  • My brothers rounded this curve of trees, one by one,
  • To find what was on offer.
  • I looked to them each.
  • - The sacrifice was made long ago. P.
  • - So, no fear of blood spatter! F.
  • - What's she brushin', away or closer? W.
  • ...
  • - She/ simply is. D.
  • - I wonder. P.
  • We sat, though we'd other places to get,
  • Expecting to understand.
  • What did it tell us, too quietly to hear yet?
  • - We've not just taken her. We've taken every man, woman or child who ever mourned her. P.
  • - That was th' sacrifice, yeah. I know. W.
  • - Some of many...? --P.
  • Still others arrived, though, one by one, that they too might see.
  • A young girl came and sat among us, not knowing we attended,
  • Viewed the image awhile as if in prayer,
  • And departed, sober.
  • An old man. Two women.
  • Three children tumbled into the arena between the image and us,
  • Bouncing a ball, they laughed and scattered,
  • Until called away by their mother.
  • None of these had come to mourn.
  • Still they arrived and departed.
  • Not unlike us.
  • - What exactly would be victory? P.
  • - A string a' empty worlds. What else? W.
  • - And did we never manage that? P.
  • ...
  • - 'course not. W.
  • - Francis. The first time we looked up... --P.
  • - Yes, we understood how nobody we've ever taken is really dead. Neither above nor below.--F.
  • -...Equally so here! P.
  • - Go on... --D.
  • - We did take them. We took them all.
  • Yet, by the graves of the unknown, the flowers are still fed.
  • In the cemeteries, time burns the stones,
  • but any who walk by, know. Someone was here.
  • Even the forgotten burial grounds bring their charges back
  • When someone finds them again.
  • Look at the scientists picking among ruins. Tikal. Gunur Tepe. Kerala.
  • The Valley of Kings.
  • Do you know? Nothing is ever entirely left behind. P.
  • - Well, yeah. In th' amphitheater, men are forgotten, right?
  • 'Specially the losers. Here, it's different. W.
  • - You're correct... --P.
  • - We keep th' gutters clean, bro'. That's it. W.
  • - How many fields of dead, after a war,
  • did we see none living? Only feeding birds.
  • Wasn't that a victory? P.
  • - 'Course not. How did you miss it?
  • After we left, others came and buried the dead. F.
  • - ...They did? P.
  • - On your way among the worlds/
  • you must have looked behind and noticed that. D.
  • - ...No. P.
  • - If you think anythin' else, yer crazy. W.
  • - No wonder we call you/ what we do. D.
  • Bronze, she resides within a great clothlike fold.
  • Not a cloak or cape. Something coarse. Yes, a shroud.
  • Loosely hooded, the woman's visible face is sealed off.
  • Right hand brushing something, away or closer,
  • She just is.
  • We'd all added weapons with the years.
  • So had you all.
  • -We keep th' gutters clean, bro'. That's it. W.
  • - What shall we do? What exactly would be victory? P.
  • - A string a' empty worlds. What else? W.
  • -... And how will we manage that? P.
  • - Make them forget. D.
  • War, Famine, Death departed, called away,
  • Leaving the empty arena between the image and me.
  • The sacrifice was made long ago.
  • I heard Death again.
  • - Erase the chain/ yours is madness/
  • Make them all forget. D.
  • I've traversed this graveyard and that
  • (Given how many there are, it's difficult not to),
  • Though I seldom stop.
  • They contain those we're already done with.
  • So I had thought.
  • When I've come here, I have mulled on our victories and our defeats,
  • Understanding how there are far more of the latter than the former.
  • We did take them. We took them all.
  • And still these others arrive and depart. They remember.
  • You may call me Pestilence.
  • I give what isn't asked for,
  • Although when not long ago I took on insanities of every sort,
  • I seem to have become my own victim.
  • No wonder you call me what you do,
  • Until I make you forget.
  • Until I make you all forget.
  • P.

Afterword

  • Chains to hold our victims in place,
  • We put these words where they fit,
  • Including 'paradise.'
  • Many find that we have our own definitions,
  • When we come calling.
  • -P.
Myrrh Paperback
Myrrh: Paperback

Purchase Myrrh here

Myrrh for Kindle
Kindle Edition

Purchase Myrrh for Amazon Kindle

Myrrh for Nook
Nook Book

Purchase Myrrh for Nook