Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Early Graduation

It only lasts four years.
Usually I'd say that's more than enough.
Make it shorter if you can.

Usually I don't think about people drifting.
Usually I don't think about being the one left behind missing.
I don't think about the terror of graduation,
Of leaving behind the lifestyle of public education.

For twelve years it's all you've known.
It's stayed the same, but you,
You've grown.
For all these long years you've done what you can,
And now your life is waiting for you to command.

It's at your fingertips now,
You can almost grasp it.
There's no use in worrying.
We've all always been destined for hell in a handbasket.

The world is out there calling
And it's calling out to you.
It's nearly time to show that desperate world
Just what it is that you can do.

That first one is the hardest step,
But take it without hesitation.
Because when it comes to the important things,
Like kindness, compassion, and a little bit of madness,
You qualified for early graduation.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Swirling blue ocean.
What do you hide in your dark
Mysterious depths?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Promise of a Golden Dawn

We all need a dream sometimes,
Because sometimes reality sucks.
It's flat and boring and depressing.
Dreams take us away from that.
They have light, angelic wings that span across the sky.

Sometimes the world is dark and cold.
Sometimes we have to go it alone,
Despite all the people that would love to help us.
The only thing that can never be pulled away is a dream.

People need dreams like the world needs dreamers.
A bright, shining light.
Something good, barely in the distance.
A reason to hold on.

Dreams are the promise of a golden dawn
Even in the midst of our darkest days.
People hold on to dreams because dreams hold on to people,
Anchoring them in the very reality dreams are an escape from.
Dreams are what let us hope.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

New Plan

I'm tired of being told how my life is going to go.
Take this class
Follow this plan
And you'll go far you know.

We've counted out the years of your life.
We'll tell you how to spend them right.
Just sit back
No need to fight.

You're all unique little snowflakes.
Now follow this cookie-cutter plan.
It doesn't make a difference how you're different
Just as long as you stay on the path.

I don't want to follow the rules.
I want to throw away the plan.
I want to make my own road.
I'll make it a better one if I can.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Growing Up is a Trap

The years of childhood are shaky and indefinite.
You never know how many you will have.
Too often they end too soon.
Society calls you an adult at eighteen.
That doesn't mean you haven't already grown up.

Growing up is a trap.
It's forsaking fun for responsibility.
It's giving in to the darkness of the world around you.
It's getting rid of the part of you that most dares dream.

Far too often, childhood ends far too soon.
Almost as often it can come back.
Maybe the laughter of any child will trigger it.
Maybe the laughter of your own.
Maybe something else, entirely unknown.

Regardless of the cause, the effect will be the same.
You'll give off that childish laughter
As you play some childish game.
And you'll know in that moment, some things
Some things never have to change.

Growing old is necessary,
But growing up is a trap.
There's no reason you can't get the spirit of childhood back.
You can't avoid responsibilities
And all that with them you gain.
But you don't have to lose the light and laughter.

          I think,
                    Should remain.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Midnight Inspiration

Frantic midnight inspirations.
Those are the best kind.
The scribble on the nearest piece of paper the second your eyes fly open kind.
The unfounded, unbridled kind.
You don't know where it came from
But you hope it never leaves.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Black Coffee

I didn't like black coffee at first.
We tend to reject things that are bitter, 
Or that make us feel bitter.
But sometimes bitter things make us better.
A beam of light is seen most clearly
When the world is at its darkest.
I didn't like black coffee.
I didn't like a world not diluted
And coated with sugar.
I didn't like it unsweetened.
But that bitter flavor of reality is sometimes the sweetest,
Because the deepest bit of truth,
The texture that lured you into coffee in the first place,
Is what tastes the strongest.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Undereye Baggage

The ultimate caller of forgotten responsibilities.
As soon as your head hits the pillow,
Homework suddenly remembered,
Chores unearthed.
The annoying sensation of something missing is brought to the front of your mind.
Many unproductive hours could've been the opposite.
You heave yourself out of bed.
The bags under your eyes have only ever been destined to grow. 
You wouldn't change it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thicker Than Blood

Blood is thicker than water.
It's a phrase we all must've heard,
Whether as scolding advice or simple fact.
It's not one that I believe.

It's as well intended as any so-called words of wisdom get,
But the intentions are where its honesty ends.
Family is important
But sometimes blood is not enough to mend.

Family can betray us just as easily as anyone else can.
That's a fact that we all try to keep far away from our hearts,
Hidden in the deepest, darkest corners of our own subconscious minds.
That's part of what makes it so much harder to believe when it finds its way into our lives.

Family is important,
But some things are more important.
Trust is thicker than water, and
Love is thicker than blood.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tights and Capes

I'm a fan of superheros
Complete with tights and capes.
But it is not a costume
That does a hero make.

What about the quiet hero,
Steadfast and unafraid?
What about the heroes standing beside us
Through the problems of each day?

What about the hero leading by example
Carrying on and seeing through?
What about the hero who doesn't need violence,
Who can fight for a cause with words too?

Yes, I'm a fan of superheroes
Complete with tights and capes.
But it's the heart behind the emblem
That does a hero make.

We can't spend our days waiting around
Hoping to be saved.
It takes only a cause and willpower
For a true hero to be made.

I'll always be a fan of superheroes
Complete with tights and capes.
Because it seems to me they exist to show us
What great heroes we can all make.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Simple Definition

Home is a complex word
With a simple definition:
Home is where the heart is.

Home is falling asleep with my mom; 
Movie marathon run too late.

Home is riding in the car with my brother,
Singing along to our favorite songs,
Debating the mysteries of life.

Home is lounging on the couch,
Pen delicately tattooing pages,
While Dad's music drifts from below.

Home is where you can be alone
But never truly feel it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Suspended Disbelief

Sometimes there is a mystery,
And it's up to me to solve it.

Sometimes I'm a pirate,
Heading off on my next great adventure.

Sometimes I'm a hero,
Preparing to face insurmountable odds.

Sometimes I'm an explorer
Off to discover the next great unknown.

Sometimes I just drift,
Untouched by the pressures of reality.

Sometimes I suspend my disbelief.
Life is more fun that way.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bare Bones

They say that if you strip us down,
Take away everything recognizable,
So all that's left are bones,
We are all the same.

There must be hundreds of pictures on the internet,
The same skeleton copy-pasted next to itself,
Over and over again,
Bearing a different caption in each incarnation.






The notion is a well intended one,
That we are all the same,
If you take our bare bones,
So we should all be treated same.

The message is wrong,
Both scientifically and philosophically,
At least,
If you ask me.

Our bones bare racial markers,
Occupational markers,
Remodeling from the time you broke your wrist when you were seven,
Immeasurably different.

We are the sum of the decisions we make,
The paths we choose to follow,
The paths we strive to make,
And that leaves its mark, right down to our bare bones.

As much as we may try to tell ourselves otherwise,
We are all different,
No matter how you look at it,
And that's great.

If anything it should be heartening,
The fact that what we do leaves an impact on the world and on our bones,
So people can read who we were,
So we can't possibly be forgotten.

We are different,
And that is a fact to be celebrated,
For as a society,
We are the sum of the individuals we all are collectively.

Someday we all must fade,
To return from whence we came,
Until all that's left of us,
Is the story we carved into our bones.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Down the Drain

All the trials, tribulations,
And worries of the day
Slide off,
Traveling in rivulets,
Meeting in a toxic whirlpool,
Whisked down the drain,
Leaving only warmth, thoughtfulness, and contentment in their wake.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kinetic Theory of Gasses

 Gasses are made up of many tiny particles,
Infinitly smaller than the vast expanse between them.
 They do not attract or repel eachother,
Instead bouncing around randomly,
 Flung by elastic collisions,
Like rubber bands shot behind a teacher's back.
 They may be fast or they may be slow,
Depending on how hight the Kelvins go.
 But they're always moving;
That we all know.

Absolute Zero of the Soul

They say the world stops for nothing.
But I think sometimes,
And only for a moment,
It does.

Every once in a while,
The miracle of life overrules its own laws.
We reach an absolute zero of the soul, 
And all movement ceases.

We drop everything,
Those things we are told day in and day out matter the most,
And revel in the fact that we exist at all,
The fact that is above all else important,
For without it there could be no other facts.

Molecules stop buzzing,
Cells stop dividing,
And the world stops spinning.
Its journey around the sun halts.
We exist merely to exist
And to lovingly marvel at existing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Iridescent Wings

Floating on iridescent wings
Life fleeting yet beautiful.

Dance through the air
Chasing eachother gleefully
Disconnected from the responsibility of an extended life.

How ironic is it
That with the freedom to enjoy life as you choose
You lose the time to do it?

       Most of the time,
We should all be the butterfly
   Gliding on iridescent wings
      Feeling nothing but happiness.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

"The pen is mightier than the sword,"
        I say,
And the whole world seems to scoff.
The assassins and the armaments
All hold their swords aloft.
"Come and face me now,"
        They say,
"With your puny pens
    I'll win any battle,
      Any war;
        It's your life that will end."
I smirk knowingly
And take my pen in hand.
In physical combat, yes,
I may not stand a chance.
But with my pen I will make peace
With my words they will have lost,
As my pen scratches out
Just what their war has cost.

The Company in the College

Bored. Bored, bored, bored. Austin knew he shouldn't be, but dammit he was bored. When he got accepted to CIT, short for Chicago Institute of Technology, he expected it to be a bit more challenging. And, he had to admit, in some areas it was. He was even lucky enough to be rooming with Andy, his best friend since middle school. But Austin was finished early, and Andy was in a different class, and he was bored.

Trying to divert himself, Austin thought back to his first day of college. His entire family drove up with him; his mom, his dad, his step-mom Marian, and his little sister Ellie. Ellie was a small few years younger than him, and she was looking forward to going to college for herself sooner than their mother would like to admit. She had bounced along beside him eagerly, taking in all she could. "Man, that is a lot of grey."

Austin had toured the college with his dad, post applying and pre acceptance. They had noticed almost immediately that every building was made out of the same grey brick. It made the whole campus almost labyrinth-like. The tour guide, endowed with the typical annoyingly perky enthusiasm of their breed, had asked if anyone had noticed an architectural theme. Austin's dad, with a completely straight face, called out, "Grey."

The tour guide had not been amused.

Reflecting on the memory had kept Austin amused for a total of about five minutes. He flopped his head back and puffed out a large sigh. He sat back up and looked around his Computer Security class. The monitor of his professor's computer caught his eye. Austin wondered how good the security on his professor's computer would be. Idly, Austin ran his fingers over the keyboard of his laptop. This was a horrible idea... He could get expelled for this...

Before he had really processed what he was doing, Austin was typing. He glanced at his target discretely out of the corner of his eye. His main focus remained on the scrolling code flashing down the monitor in front of him. He was good at Computer Security. Each time the students tested each other's work, his held up well. And he had yet to meet a security system created by one of his peers that he couldn't break. Austin hoped his professor's computer would be more of a challenge.

Austin was not disappointed. It seemed he found a new frustration at every turn. There were firewalls protecting firewalls. False paths of codes. The computer was a labyrinth. Austin was thrilled. He had no real interest in the contents of his professor's computer; he just wanted the challenge of it. He almost hoped he wouldn't break through. Not today, at least.

But he did.

Just for the novelty of it, Austin started clicking through files. He was looking for his grade. He already had access to it on his own computer, but finding it on his professor's would give him a sense of accomplishment somehow. His scrolling stopped abruptly. There was a folder labeled, "CLASSIFIED". It was practically begging Austin to open it. So he did, finding all of the documents inside were encrypted.


A quick glance at the clock told Austin he was running out of time. He began downloading the files to his computer so he could decode them later in the semi-privacy of his dorm room. The bell rang sooner than he would've liked. He only had about half of the files downloaded, but Austin closed off his computer anyway. It wouldn't do to draw suspicion, and it wasn't as if he had actually been looking for anything. His curiosity had merely been ignited.

Eager to start the decryption process, Austin hurried back to his dorm. He did stop to grab some lunch on the way. Ellie had texted him every day in his first week of college to make sure he had eaten. It had gotten him into the habit, thankfully. Andy still had to remind him to put down his computer and pick up a sandwich upon occasion, but Austin could honestly say he was functioning.

Thankfully, the dorm was empty when Austin got back. Andy still had two more classes for the day. Austin would've trusted Andy, obviously, but he would rather see what the contents of the stolen documents were before sharing with anyone else. Austin didn't mind gathering information for himself, but he wasn't going to spread a massive invasion of privacy without due cause.

Austin decided to decode the titles of the documents first, so he could divine which would be the most interesting to begin with. He put in the decryption codes and watched as the names sorted themselves out, assisting when necessary. His lips quirked upwards in amusement as the titles revealed themselves. They were on things like Watergate and Operation Red Team. That was the big secret? His Computer Security professor was somewhat of a conspiracy theorist?

His amused smirk fell, however, as the titles continued to reveal themselves. These were things he had never heard of before. And Austin himself had dabbled in conspiracy theories. His concern grew as the files became relevant to his classes. His classmates. The last file he had collected was the most disquieting.

The title was his name.

Trying exceptionally hard not to become frenzied, Austin clicked on the file. He waited impatiently while his decryption code worked. He had perfected it, and there was nothing left for him to do but wait. The waiting was maddening.

He got up. He paced. He grabbed a Coke. He sat down. He chugged it. He got up. He paced some more.

Finally, mercifully, his computer made a noise at him, signifying the completion of its task. Bracing himself for what the screen might reveal, Austin sat back down in front of his computer. His file was only a page, but it didn't seem to have any academic relevance at all. He skimmed the page of notes on himself, most pertaining to his habits and character.

Isolated from the majority of his classmates...

Cold, distant, calculating...

Unexpectedly courteous and helpful...

Borderline sociopathic tendencies...


Driven when challenged...

Recruitment: Likely.

Recruitment likely.

That final line very nearly stopped Austin's heart. Recruitment? Recruitment for what? He thought back to the names of the other files. Was his professor a C.I.A. agent planning on recruiting him? It seemed ridiculous. It seemed plausible. Maybe it was a trick. Maybe he was dreaming. It would be far from the craziest dream he ever had.

Austin pulled out his phone and stared at his contacts. He needed to talk to someone. He needed someone to tell him he was being crazy. And he needed someone who wouldn't keep pushing him for answers when he said to stop, because he wasn't sure how much he could say. There was only one person who would do that. He texted Ellie.

A knock sounded at Austin's door. He jumped and slammed his laptop shut. Then he chastised himself for his actions. Andy probably forgot his key again. It wasn't exactly an uncommon occurrence. Andy still wasn't quite used to grabbing his keys when he wasn't driving. Austin composed himself and opened the door for his friend.

It wasn't Andy.

Standing outside the door, flanked by two somewhat burly black-suited men, was Austin's Computer Security professor. He looked anything but amused, but Austin somehow succeeded in keeping his composure. His professor and the men took a collective step in the door. Austin stood his ground, but he wasn't close enough to keep them from entering.

The door clicked shut and locked with an air of foreboding finality. "I think we need to have a little talk, Mr. Bryer."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Get Young

They tell the young to find ourselves,
But we're not missing.

We're just misunderstood.

Do we find ourselves with age,
Or do we lose ourselves?

We're told we're too young to understand,
But maybe they're too old.

We're freer when we're young.

Standards of an unaccepting society
Have yet to weave thick strands of wool over our eyes.

Fear, hatred, inhibitions are all taught,
Gained with age.

We're all in such a hurry to grow up,
But maybe we should endeavor to get young.

To go back to the self-assurance of youth,
And rediscover what we stood for then.

What we might stand for still
If only we hadn't listened to those who told us not to.

Maybe it's not that black and white;
Maybe it never is.

But that doesn't mean nothing's missing,
That we wouldn't benefit from a piece of ourselves we unwillingly left behind.

The best adults are still children on the inside.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Million Silent Screams

Day of silence
A million moments of silence
Compacted into one extended period
For a million voices unwillingly silenced.
A silence long and loud enough
That maybe,
That million silent screams will be


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


People you are tied to through the strings of the heart
People who infuriate you
And who become infuriated for you
People who push you beyond your best 
Until you think you might explode
People who bring out your best
And your worst
And love you in spite of it
Maybe even for it
People who believe in you
Even when you can't
People who love you
And people you love

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What She Will Be

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
    The question is asked with amusement, intrigue,
 And mild condescension.
       "A ballerina!"
            "A scientist!"
                "An astronaut!"
                    "An artist!"
      Some convoluted combination of the four.
  A million answers
Drawn from a thousand inspirations.
  The world is amicable.
     The child is young.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
    The question is less amused, more serious,
 And more condescending.
    "A ballerina!"
        "A scientist!"
            "An astronaut!"
                "An artist!"
      No convoluted combination of the four.
   The inspiration is dimming.
 The world is drawn in more defined lines.
   The child is not as young.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
     The question is asked seriously, not really a question,
 And still condescending.
    The answers are hesitant,
  Questions themselves.
       "A doctor?"
          "A lawyer?"
   The inspiration is gone.
 The world has told what it wants.
   The child is no longer allowed to be young.

  The child is no longer a child
 And the question is no longer the same.
The tone is still condescending,
 There are a finite number of right answers.
                 None of those are an answer she intends to give.
"What will you be?"
The world screams demandingly.
                            In quiet defiance, she responds,
                                                                             "An inspiration."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sleepless Nights

Sleepless nights
Clear starry sky
Drift on the edge of darkness
Elusive dreams

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Meanings of Life

Perhaps the reason humans have yet to ascertain the meaning of life
Is that we keep looking to find the meaning of life.
We're all so eager to proclaim our individuality,
And yet we continue to search for a universal answer as to the reason we're here.

The old man sits on an equally old porch swing.
The meaning of his life has passed,
The one he fought so hard to bring to being.
Now, the meaning of his life is simply to live.

The newly single parent sits in their too-empty living room.
They don't know how they're going to get through this,
How they're going to keep going,
But they don't give up.
The meaning of their life is asleep in a bedroom upstairs.

The newly admitted college student stares up at the brick establishment.
They have been ready for years, and finally they're here.
Heart filled with ambition, they enter the building.
The meaning of their life is waiting for them.

The screaming baby is brought into existence.
The little one is completely ignorant of the world's cruelty,
And of its beauty.
The meaning of their life is something they have yet to decide.

The Unfortunate Situation and The Little Sister

Kianna and Lenna now looked as they normally would, and as they walked the streets of the kingdom heading towards the castle, no one suspected the dark deeds they had just committed. The pair recieved many compliments on the clothing Kianna had designed for them. Lenna was wearing a short wrap-around blue dress with long flowing  sleeves and silver accents, tight black pants, and soft leather boots with silver buckles. A silver half-moon headband was worked in with her braid. Kianna herself was wearing a purple  corset-style dress with gold strings for the lacing, two straps to hold it up, and flowy detached sleeves.  The skirt, which was puffed up slightly with multiple layers, came down just above her knee. She was not allowed to wear pants according to their customs due to her status as a noble, but she still had the leather boots with gold buckles. The gold ring around her head that her small bun was set on top of, separating it from the rest of her free flowing hair, marked her as the princess. She really did have quite a talent for design, but she still doubted her skills. She was used to getting non-genuine compliments with the intentions to please her, even though what would make her happier was an honest critique.

The girls entered the castle smiling and laughing together as they went in search of Kianna’s father. He greeted them warmly with a smile, but there was a certain somberness to his eyes that Kianna picked up on. It unnerved her. It didn't fit in at all with her father’s personality. “Hello, my little flower. Lenna, it’s lovely to see you dear, as always, but if you don’t mind I require a few moments alone with my daughter.”

Lenna clasped her hands in front of her and gave him a respectful nod. He had banned the Nightlock siblings from bowing before him long ago. They were much too close to his daughter for that. “Of course, sir. See you later, Kia!”

As Lenna walked out, Kianna’s nerves mounted. She had to wonder what this was about. Had he found out she was an assassin? No, that wasn't possible. She knew Alex and Lenna would never rat her out. Her head was spinning. She felt like she was falling, but she knew her feet were still planted firmly to the floor... “Come here, my child.”

Kia’s father’s strong and gentle voice pulled her back from the edge. No matter what it was, they would work through it together. That was how it had always been with her father. He respected her and tried to let her make her own decisions. Even if the worst had happened and he had found out about her double life, she was sure the worst would not come of it. Kianna walked over and sat next to her father. “What is it, Dad?”

Kianna knew that her father wasn't very young, but he appeared to have aged ten more years in that one moment. Suddenly, she was worried again. Was something wrong with him, or her mother, or her little sister? She was a bit disturbed that her mind kept jumping to the worst possible conclusion, but she knew something was off. Her instincts were screaming at her, and if there was one thing she had learned in her life as an assassin, it was to trust her instincts without doubt.  “Kianna, my daughter, we are having a visitor tonight. He is a prince from one of the neighboring kingdoms. Sweetheart, I am so sorry. You are to marry this man. I don’t want to force you into this, but I assure you it has the best interest of the kingdom in mind. I know that’s something you've always held close to heart. I need you to go to your room and get dressed in your finest gown. We must all stick to the strictest of social protocol tonight. Do you understand?”

Her father’s eyes pleaded with her, and she knew he didn't just mean to ask if she understood what was going on. He wanted to know if she understood why he did it. He wanted to know if she could ever forgive him. “Yes, sir.”

The formal response was like a slap in the face to her father, and she knew it. Their relationship had never had any base of formality. But she truly didn't understand how he could do that to her. Kianna had always been a good princess, looking out for the good of her kingdom any way she could. She fought for them as an assassin then pretended to be a helpless noble girl when she was in their view despite helplessness being the feeling she hated most in the world. She worked hard to both fit the ideas that they had about how life should be and to maintain what she felt in her heart was right. And now, having been denied such an important and fundamental choice that would never be denied anyone else, she wondered when it would be her turn to worry about her. When would anyone ever worry about what Kianna wanted?

The princess rushed passed her mother who tried to stop her to comfort her. Kianna didn't want to be comforted. She didn't want her mother's kind eyes and understanding words to sway her. She didn't want to be understood, and she didn't want to understand. She wanted to be allowed to feel the way she felt, and she was determined to do just that. She always looked out for the best interests of everyone else around her. For once, she vowed to be selfish. For once she was going to look out for herself.

A small voice stopped her internal rampage. “Kiki!”

Kianna turned to face her five year old sister, Livianna. She felt her anger deflate. Because Livianna was one person she could never forsake in favor of herself. She was reminded of how glad she was that she was born first, so that Livianna didn't have to go through this. She would much rather it be her than her little sister. Her short orange locks, one of which always insisted on falling in front of her face, wide brown eyes, and childish demeanor screamed of an innocence Kianna prayed every day would never be disturbed. She bent down and scooped up her sister, who’s little legs snaked around Kia’s middle and small arms wrapped around her neck. Kianna gently brushed back the stubborn piece of hair, but it popped right back out of place. “What is it, Livi?”

“Why do you look so sad, Kiki? I don’t want you to be sad. I love you.” The words simultaneously warmed and broke her heart.  Innocent little Livianna would never comprehend what was going on. And what about when she married? Obviously they would have to come back to rule when her parents died, but chances were she would be moving fairly far away from her little Livi for a while.

Kianna kissed the top of Livianna’s head, deciding a lie was best right now. “I was sad because I couldn't find you! But now that you’re here, I have nothing to worry about! We have a new friend coming to meet us today. Do you want to come get ready with me?”

Livianna nodded eagerly. She loved doing anything with her big sister. Kianna was the center of Livianna’s world. She idolized her big sister, practically worshiping the ground the older girl walked on. When she grew up she knew she wanted to be just like Kiki, which she had proclaimed many times.

Kia managed to distract herself from the upcoming events for a while by helping her little sister get ready. She dressed her in a dark green dress that she had designed. The skirt fanned out like leaves with golden veins lined with gold. It had long fitted but comfortable sleeves and a t-shirt style approach to account for comfort. There was also a pair of little green shorts underneath to so Livi could run around and play.  Kianna dressed herself in a long flowing blue gown with a similar  skirt pattern to Livi’s, only rather than the golden veins she had golden swirls climbing up the skirt representing waves. It was a bit tighter fitted at the top and the neckline dipped a bit. The sleeves clung to her arms to just above the elbows before flowing out. She fastened a golden flower necklace around her sister’s neck and a blue water drop necklace  around her own.

“Kiki, can you do my hair like yours? Pleeeeeease,” Livianna begged, staring up at her sister with huge eyes.

“Of course I can, Livi. Whatever you want.” Kianna set to work on her sister’s hair first. She left a few strands of orange hair framing the younger princess’ face and pulled the rest back into a small ponytail. Then she fastened in the silver loop that showed Livianna was a princess, if not the crown princess. The loop fastened just beneath the ponytail, which Kianna then clipped up so the short strands fell over the clip. It looked absolutely adorable. After that Kianna set to work doing the same to her own hair. Hers was much longer, and it fell down in waves to her shoulderblades. The style looked much more sophisticated on the older girl, who now stood in front of the body-length mirror holding her sister. “What do you think?”

“I love it,” Livianna squeaked excitedly, before adding reverently, “You’re really pretty, Kiki.”

Kianna smiled at her sister’s compliment. “Not half as pretty as you, Liv.”

At that moment, their mother appeared at Kianna’s doorway. She stared at her oldest daughter with sorrow and regret. She couldn't help but feel a bit of sympathy for her mother, who she knew would never want this for her. “Our guest will be here shortly. Why don’t you come with Mommy for a little while, Livianna.”

Livianna wanted to protest so she could stay with her sister, but she felt at that moment that something wasn't right, and she knew when something wasn't right that it was time to listen to Mommy, so she left her sister alone without complaint.

As much as Kianna loved her little sister and appreciated the distraction she had provided, she also appreciated the time alone to reflect on what was about to happen to her. She was going to marry a man she had never met before. She had no choice in the matter. It wouldn't make a difference if she detested him with all she had, or if they didn't see eye to eye on anything. For whatever reason this marriage was necessary politically, and tradition dictated that she would get married soon anyways. A queen always had equal power, but a queen had never ruled without a king by her side. Kianna wanted for all she was worth to screw tradition. It had screwed her all her life. It seemed as though she was always being held back by some sort of custom that the rest of the world was free to acknowledge as outdated.

Kia stared at the mirror, but Kia didn't stare back at her. It was Princess Kianna that looked out through the mirror. The regal woman who followed the dictations of culture, edicate, and tradition, not the tenacious defiant girl she knew she really was. How much of herself would she lose to this marriage, to this man she had never met? The not knowing was killing her. 

Kianna had never before questioned being born into her family. They all loved her and she loved them. But for the first time she wished she had been born one of the normal commoners that lived in their kingdom. Thinking of her father, her mother, Livi, Lenna, and Alex , she decided that was not the case. Because if she wasn’t about to face the possibility of losing herself now, she never would've been herself, never would've known all of those wonderful people. And she would not wish this situation on anyone, let alone her baby sister.

There was a knock at Kianna’s door, and she knew before the servant told her that her future husband had arrived. She steeled her nerves. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad. Maybe he would be sweet, and they would get along wonderfully. Maybe this was an odd twist of fate that would bring her to the man she would love. Unfortunately, she somehow doubted it. This was not a time for things to work in her favor. She knew from the looks on her parent’s faces. Whoever this man was, he was not someone they would pick for their daughter willingly. She only wondered what had forced their hand.

Kianna straightened herself and strode with as much pride as she could muster into the greeting hall to meet him. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it right, and she was determined to hold on to at least a little bit of who she was in the process. The already tense atmosphere stiffened with Kia’s arrival. Livianna had no idea what was going to happen, but she was picking up on the tension everyone else was feeling, and so she stayed glued to her mother’s side, uncharacteristically quiet.  

Before she had to fall into the pompous and fake etiquette that she knew she would have to adhere to for the night, Kianna flew into her father’s arms. She couldn't let him suffer through the evening thinking she hated him. She rested her head at the crook of his neck and reached up to whisper in his ear. “I love you, Daddy.”

After that the tension was a little less thick, but it was still undeniable. When the knock sounded at the castle door, Kianna just about jumped out of her skin. Her father reached out briefly to squeeze her hand before letting her go and signaling for the doors to open. The loud creaking noise the large wooden doors produced when they were opened had never seemed more ominous before that day.

All four of the men who entered were imposing to say the least, but it was easy to see who it was she would be marrying. He had an air of authority. Kianna had faced down plenty of horrible people, but just the sight of him sent a chill down her spine. He looked absolutely sinister, and she had a terrible feeling about him. He was tall and broad. His short blond hair contrasted sharply with his almost black eyes. His armor was black with red swirls that resembled fire, and a red cape billowed out behind him. He held a calm demeanor of self-importance.

Kianna’s father walked her forward and stood in front of their visitor with an amiable smile on his face. “Welcome, Prince Narciso. It’s wonderful to have you here. This is my eldest daughter, Princess Kianna.”

Taking the cue, Kianna curtsied deeply in front of the foreign monarch. “It’s lovely to meet you. How do you do?”

Prince Narciso took her hand and kissed the back of it. He smirked, and it seemed to be filled with venom. “Charmed, I’m sure. And you are just as lovely as promised.”

Her fight or flight response started to kick in, and Kianna was disturbed to find out it was heavily weighted towards flight. She wasn't sure how to respond, but her father stepped in. “She is, isn't she? Please, come with us. We have a lovely meal prepared.”

As frustrated as she still was with the situation in general and her father in particular, Kia was thankful for the distraction. She didn't know how long she could've kept her eyes locked with Narciso's calculating gaze, but she knew she couldn't've lived with herself if she had broken it. As it was, she was somewhat disappointed with herself. She was an assassin. She had faced great warriors and won. Had taken down entire plots and conspiracies with one swipe of a coal-black sword. She could face this.

Then again, she wasn't really an assassin anymore, was she?

No, she couldn't honestly say she was. But, for the time being, Kianna was still Kia, so she held on to the last bit of nerve she had with a tenacious bout of strength. Without so much as a nervous glance, she took the seat next to her future husband. Even if she was afraid, she was brave. And she wouldn't lose that. Not so soon. A new determination flooded her. She wouldn't lose it ever. A smile spread across her face. It was a true, genuine one filled with determination.

Her parents noticed the change, and small smiles of their own graced their faces. They knew the situation was less than ideal. But they also knew their daughter. They knew she was strong. They never would've put her into such a situation if they weren't sure she could handle it. Who knows? She could even be good for the young man sitting next to her. Maybe she could bring peace to more than one kingdom in more than one way. Even if she couldn't change the prince, they knew she could change his kingdom. She had the tenacity to do the seemingly impossible, of that they were sure. 

Food was brought out soon. Conversation arrived with it. It wasn't something that could be put off forever. Knowing that, Kianna turned to Prince Narciso, smile still in place. "So, tell me about yourself."

Narciso glanced down at his princess out of the corner of his eye. "What do you want to know, Princess?"

Kianna stirs her soup, mulling the question over. She hadn't considered the need to press specifics. "I don't know. What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?"

"I like to hunt." The answer was short, to the point, and showed no interest in reciprocating conversation with her. 

Too stubborn to give up, Kianna pushed onward. She thought of what she did in her life as an assassin, hunting people. Hunting animals would give her less guilt, and it would probably pose a similar challenge. Maybe it was something they could bond over. "That sounds fun. What do you hunt?"

Seeming a little surprised, Narciso actually turned toward her this time. "Wild animals of any variety. We find boar, mostly. Do you hunt?"

It took Kianna a moment to answer. She couldn't very well explain who she was and what she had done. "No," she answered calculatedly. "But I'd like to give it a try."

The silence that followed was heavy. In her perceptive nervousness at the situation, Livianna toppled her soup, splattering it on herself and her older sister, who's right she was sitting at. Tears welled in Livianna's eyes. She didn't understand the importance of this event, but she knew it was important. In that moment, Kianna didn't care about the man sitting next to her. She only had eyes for her tearful younger sister. Smiling kindly, Kianna wiped the soup off the younger girl, then herself and the table. "Don't worry, Livi. Look. No harm, no foul."

Happy once again, little Livianna hugged her older sister. "Thanks, Kiki."

"Any time, Livi." Kianna smiled and ruffled her little sister's hair affectionately. "If you're done eating, you can go play."

Livianna looked to her parents for conformation. They nodded their assent. Livianna wasn't needed for this; only Kianna was. And they had refrained from explaining the details of the visit to Livianna, hoping to spare their youngest the emotional trauma for as long as possible. It would be easier to discuss serious business with Livianna gone. Blissfully ignorant, the little girl bounced off to play.

"You will make an excellent mother."

Kianna choked on her soup and sputtered in a rather undignified, un-noble manner. She coughed for a few minutes before she could even pretend to regain any composure. Even, then, the act was tenuous at best. "Excuse me?"

"I think you'll make a good mother for our children." His words seemed sincere, and yet Kianna still couldn't shake the ominous feeling she had about the foreign prince.

"I hadn't really thought of children yet," Kianna told him, hoping her discomfort would discontinue the subject, for the time being at the very least. They were engaged, sure, but they knew next to nothing about each other. She wasn't okay with discussing that kind of subject with him yet. She knew one day she would have to, but she was less and less sure that she would ever truly be emotionally prepared for that discussion. 

Mercifully, the subject was dropped. A more tentative, casual conversation was struck up. She shared with him the interest she had taken in fashion and her love of interacting with her people. He shared with her his love of weapon forging and battle strategy. His words weren't menacing, but the menacing aura that seemed to surround him remained. The fact that it didn't dispel with time worried her. She didn't know what she would do if she couldn't get over her uneasiness. But she wasn't convinced that she should. That was the most disquieting thing. She knew her parents were against this sort of thing, yet here she was. The whole thing was beyond suspicious to Kianna.

After what seemed like an eternity, the meal finally ended, and Prince Narciso left with his dignitaries. Kianna allowed her fiance to kiss her quickly on the lips before he departed, knowing that it was likely to be the first of many. She had never been kissed before. She felt the loss acutely. The large wooden doors of her home closed slowly, and she felt trapped. Kianna stood, she didn't know for how long, in the entry hall of the castle, wondering what the hell she could possibly do.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Darkness Within

When we are young we externalize the monsters
Because we can't handle the screaming beast within.
We preserve our childish innocence by demonizing an errant piece of clothing draped over a chair.
Little do we realize, the darkness must already be within to be projected out.

As we grow, we learn not to fear the bumps in the night,
The astral projections of our deepest insecurities,
The manifestations of the most frightening piece of our own soul.
Still, we deny the beast that lies within.

Slowly, we start to see it.
It is no longer being forced out, so it grows deeper,
Entwining itself and making roots.
It takes longer to learn not to fear the monster from within.

There is a darkness within us all.
Just a small, tainted piece of soul that can't be escaped,
That can barely be contained,
Bubbling immediately below the surface.

The darkness has not always been bad.
It was us who made it that way.
Trying to run from a part of ourselves,
As if it were a curse.

It is only an unwillingness to understand the darkest parts of ourselves
That makes them so.
Do not run from your demons.
Make them run from you.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ancient Pages

When I was a little girl I found myself in books.
I still find solace when surrounded by particularly cracked spines,
Embraced by the scent of ancient pages.

How could anything or anyone not matter
As long as there are books?

The wonder of life wrapped up in a small package of breakable binding
And fragile pages.
Even the structure of the wondrous things are metaphors.

People reach across time through them
To the millions of people who will read their words,
Cherish their thoughts.

I'll give you a piece of my soul.
I'll leave it between the lines.
I'll let it stretch as far as it can
Through the eternal march of time.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


 The sand slides insistently towards the bottom of the hourglass.
Its shifting movement is eternal
 But your grains are few.
What do you want them to be?
 The clock ticks on incessantly
And time marches steadily, irreversibly, towards us all.
 An end is imminent.
Defeat is not.
 Your grains are few.
Their numbers grow smaller each second you read this.
 What do you want them to be?
Some are grains of joy.
 Some are grains of sorrow.
Grains of success and grains of loss
 Culminating to you.
What do you want them to be?
 Each moment is precious
Each grain defines us.
 But we define them too.
What they add up to is up to you.
 What do you want to be?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


What is reality?
   A world surrounds us
What is reality?

What is reality?
What is reality?

What is reality?
   Consciousness surrounding itself
What is reality?

What makes reality?
   Grounds us in its realness
   Unbelievable in its vividness
   Yet it must be believed
What makes reality?

Why is reality?
   Sliding grasp
   Tenacious and weak
   Scrambling for purpose
Why is reality?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Poetry Month!

            Flitting across pages
         Telling stories of love and loss, elation and sorrow
      Burning and vivid with life  
   Twisting together in epic tales
Finding ways through the walls of human hearts.

A month of celebration
      For that sacred art
        That opens minds and sings to hearts.

Happy Poetry Month!