Porcelain. A poem.

Porcelain,
sheer and shining.
Untouchable,
lest you break.
Cracks irreparable,
iceberg deep.

You/I
are/am
my/your
porcelain.

The Sadness. A poem.

The sadness creeps over,
a ponderous behemoth,
encompassing my lands and being.
It seeps into my streams, polluting them
with its murky ill-will,
making a mockery and a mire.

It kills off my grass and trees, turning
my greens to blight, leaving
animals once proud and determined
now abject and homeless;
caricature mascots.

It crawls over my buildings, infesting
every room and board, making
inhabitants into castaways
with the shore so near, so far.

And everything collapses under
the weight of its load, a gravity
far too serious for this light

head(ed) over heels,
a Hercules turned weakling,
bent knee and broken aspect,
an actuary who can’t reconcile his records
to account for the loss
of his greatest love.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Fools’ Gold. A poem.

The road smouldered as
steel-tread fingers ran over it,
each car an indifferent lover.
Nothing was out of the ordinary
but the extraordinary.

I could no longer look upon you,
the pain too sharp, a constant thorn.
My cannibal hypocrisy consumed me
with self-deception.
One last glance
(you, the diamond amongst coal)
and I drove away into the
hazy mid-afternoon grey.

That was the day.
The day I let my muse fade.
The day I turned from you, away.
I realised dreams were
mirrors and reflections,
untouchable and jaded.

I wanted tears, but an empty
shell holds no water.
No reason to
cry/hope/dream/love.

Melodrama, my cold and
calculating friend, nudging me
awake and laughing at every
stuttered riposte
(all in good natured fun),
smiling in deepest irony.

I typed these words
and let my muse fade.
The clouds let loose their
ill-gotten gains to ply
a sympathetic trade.

Dreams are fools’ gold,
shining brightly.
And without my muse,
all mere deception.

Frost. A poem.

I live in surreality,
not quite alive, not quite dead.
I wander from one point to the next,
a confused and weary traveller,
conspicuously without intent.

The pleasures of the material
and the impractical align in
tacit disapproval.
I am a wanderer in confusion,
lost in the blizzard of bodies,
grabbing myself for warmth
like a frost-bitten seeker
faced with his last
insurmountable peak.

Someday this journey
will be done, and the last thing
I see, may be the first I ever saw.
As if all that mattered was the
concentric circle I travelled in
and the hoarfrost patina
on my windows,
obscuring what could have been,

and should have been.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. A review.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is Wizard of the Coast’s (WOTC) official new rules supplement for D&D 5e. Its 192 pages contain new sub-classes, racial feats, spells, magic items and lots of tables, including expanded magic items, random encounters and character background generators.

Overall, I felt a bit ripped off. All the content included is non-essential reading. Sure, it’s nice to have some new class options, and the tables of names and backgrounds may come in handy for some of my players, but the rest of the material is already available elsewhere (most of the spells are from the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure / free Elemental Evil Player’s Companion) or is stuff that I already homebrew (rules for simple and complex traps, for instance). This book is the same price as the core rule books ($60 AU / $50 US) with far less pages and useful content; maybe if it was $40 AU I wouldn’t have been so negative. XanatharsThe production and art is a high standard, as with all WOTC products, but is it worth $20 more than what a supplement should be priced at? And still no free PDF linked to the copy you buy, as most other game companies do. I’m willing to bet that this book also costs a motza on D&D Beyond, the new online pay-for-content digital toolset.

I would have preferred some of the tables (random encounters, for example) be added to the next printing of the DM’s guide, so that future DMs get the updated versions (I don’t use encounter tables, but there are others who would appreciate them). I must admit that I did like the inclusion of Tool Descriptions and DCs for tool usage (really, this should have been included in the Player’s Handbook originally), but once again, it’s not essential to play the game.

I am realistic and aware that WOTC needs to keep making money, so they can keep producing content. I’m hoping future supplements won’t be as short shrift as this one, though.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is a supplement ideal for new DMs and players looking for new character options, spells, feats and backgrounds. More experienced DMs and those who own all the existing books may want to save their money and give it a miss.

The King Spoke. A poem.

The King spoke upon
the mount
to thousands who’d come far.
His words would
change
the world.

Did he know how much?
Yes, he did.

The same way he knew
He would be
betrayed,
and on his cross on Golgotha,
His Father would
forsake him,
then raise Him from the dead.

Did He know His
words and actions
would mean so much?

Yes, He did.

And He would do it all
again,

to save us with His
Grace.

Coriolis. A short tale.

He stared at the mirror, at the composite he had become. It held a reflection capturing his bitterest Hyde and Jekyll moments. He placed his hand firmly on the vanity, turned on the tap and watched the water spiral down the drain.

“You f$&@ing, arrogant, conceited prick,” he said. In the mirror his other self sneered, spitting vitriol. “Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re better than everyone else? Do you think you deserve more? Are you entitled? Who gives you the right to think you should be f$&@ing happy?”

The unblinking visage stared back at him. He was eye to eye with a ghost, a soliloquy made real. “She doesn’t even know you, you stupid, f$&@ing idiot.”

And there it was. The source of all his ire, ensnaring and holding him hostage, his personal Stockholm Syndrome. The one thing that kept him awake every aimless night. The thing that kept him longing insanely and losing himself sanely.

He thrust his finger at the mirror accusingly. “Why would you even attempt to believe that she was right for you? She doesn’t know you from a bar of soap.” He grabbed the slimy soap block from the vanity and threw it hard into the bathroom wall, where is clonked and slid to the floor. For dramatic effect? He didn’t know. He didn’t know anything anymore.

Tears welled in his eyes. He wiped them away with the back of his hand. “I’m giving her up,” he said. “I’m tired of loving and hating how I feel when she’s around. I’m tired of never being able to let her know how I feel. I’m tired of fooling myself anymore.” His mirror self slumped, the weight that should have lifted now magnified a thousand fold.

He looked at the empty eyes—the hollow, skeletal black holes were event horizons from which only sadness could escape. “It’s better this way. Who needs hope, anyway? There’s no point in purpose. It’s just another anchor to drag you down.”

The room seemed darker now, the embodiment of his thoughts. He slid to the floor, pulled down into a personal ocean of despair. He turned his back to the wall and collapsed into himself like the singularity he had become.

“It’s better this way.” But there was no one else to listen, and the whisper of his voice sounded even more hollow in the tiny tiled room that was just as much a cage as his head. Better this way, he thought.

The tap kept running, the stream of his pain a twisting coriolis, swirling downwards to a confusion of pipes and an endless, empty sea.

.

Actually, a true story. But if you’ve been following my posts you’d know that, lol.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

When (part 3). A poem.

When will I be free of this life and all its bitter swill?
Force fed, every grueling meal mixed with bile and contempt,
returned to sender in a spray of misgivings,
a spent force that paints the tile in acrimonious colour.

When will this life leave me be, so I can rest in audacious peace?
When will I sleep and dream of nothing, free from pain and imagination
that only ever led me astray.
When will I break the chains you locked me in, through no fault of your own.

When will I leave this sad and weary shell behind,
wander with spirits, both bottled and ghostly,
and drown my last remaining dregs of hope in failure.

When?

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