Laidback DM: Anatomy of a (not quite) break up

So, I’m taking a break from DMing to hone my ‘player’ chops. Part of the reason was my increasing work and study loads and part of it was burn out. I just needed a break from all the work involved in preparing and running a game each week, from my brain constantly thinking about D&D all the time.

Being a player has been fun. The lack of responsibility and generally less-onerous workload for each game (read: none) is incredibly liberating. But I’ve found I’m now a bit too laidback. Without the need to be the final arbiter of rules decisions, I find myself not bothering to remember rules. Where I once kept track of every detail, now I cant be bothered to remember stuff that happened in the game last week (I’m playing several games a week, but that’s just an excuse). I find myself being enticed by other RPGs (but then, I always have been). Pathfinder 2e is turning out to be an arguably better D&D than 5e, despite the density of its ruleset (“what sacrilege is this?!” I hear you say). Whodathunkit?

Laidback DM - stevestillstanding.com
Hey, you in the wagon – stop dawdling! Damn these laidback Dragonborn…

My university studies are drawing to a close and once I finish this final assignment I should (theoretically) have more time on my hands to DM. But do I want to? I still find myself drawn to the idea of guiding a group of semi-crazed individuals through a fantasy world of wondrous choice and flexibility. I still find myself drawn to contentious rules decisions and bizarrely humorous indignation as players split their party and suffer the inevitable consequences. I’m still drawn to the idea of telling improvised stories and building worlds of imagination and magic with friends and acquaintances. But can’t I do that as a player? Do I really need to be a DM?

I guess I can do both. Have my RPG cake and eat it, as it were. So, yeah. I’ll DM again. I guess the decision was already made before I started writing this. Because DMs never die. They just take a break for a while, realise the grass isn’t greener on the other side, and then come back with fireballs blazing.

Game on!

Steve

PS DMs – it’s okay to admit that you sometimes need a break from the game. Life goes on.

For more Laidback DM, click here.

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For Laidback DM products, in print/PDF/digital, visit https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989.

Upstart Photographer – Heart Tree

I take photographs. I write poetry.

Here’s some poetry and photography, in equal measures.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Heart Tree. A poem.

Light shines through the trees above
Forming a shape, too like my heart
Coloured by light and silhouette
Reflecting all of my life’s regrets
And if I stare for a little too long
My vision is burned, my heart is wronged
So move along, let heart trees be
And continue on, consequentially

For more Upstart Photographer, click here.

Entrenched. A poem.

Entrenched within

Mud to knees
No flight from here
A no man’s land
Of blithe confusion
And emptiness

Entrenched within

This sharp regret
Like a bayonet
Some veiled remorse
And back and forth
In the wasteland

Entrenched within

Over the top
Until you’re stopped
Bullet or ballad
Fleet foot, fallen
And no escape

Entrenched within

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM: World Building

Have you ever spent far too much time drawing a map of your world, developing and designing societies, cultures and religions to fill it, creating reasons for its existence, only to find you didn’t need all that for your campaign or the players didn’t care anyway? I guess all burgeoning DMs have at some point or other. So, how can we go about world building for an ongoing campaign in a way that’s time efficient and campaign-friendly?

Here’s some options and tips:

Use an existing setting

There are a host of fantasy settings available commercially. You can buy one that matches the flavour you and your players like and drop your adventures into that world.

Pros:

  • Most of the heavy lifting is done
  • Great maps, locations and adventure seeds just waiting to be used
  • Can be very immersive

Cons:

  • It may not be exactly what you wanted
  • A lot of reading and familiarising to do

Modify an existing setting

Add to the existing setting. Make changes that work for your players and your campaign.

Pros:

  • Most of the work is already done
  • Can use the maps, locations and adventure seeds available
  • Can make small or large changes as needed

Cons:

  • Adding to an existing setting may change context of some areas or affect continuity of commercially made adventures from that setting
  • Keeping track of what you’ve changed might be a concern
  • Depending on how much you change, might be time consuming

Create your own setting

Create a world on your own or with your players.

Pros:

  • An opportunity to flex those creative muscles
  • You get exactly what you and your players want (assuming they’re on board with the creative process)
  • It’s not too hard to modify commercial modules/adventures to fit your setting

Cons:

  • Can end up being very time consuming
  • You may overdevelop, producing more content then is needed

Tips for world building

Here are some tips for world building, whether you create your own new world or add to an existing one.

  • Start small. Your characters are 1st-level? All you need is a village and the surrounding area. Expand on it with your players as they rise in level and explore.
  • Have a theme. Think about why you need a new setting for your adventures, and what sets it apart from other settings. The theme of your world should support the reason for its being and the internal logic behind your campaign. If it’s a standard high-fantasy setting, a la Forgotten Realms, Golarion, Glorantha, Midgard or Middle Earth, maybe you should just adopt one of those existing worlds. But maybe it’s run by evil Gnomish warlords who have outlawed magic, resulting in steam-powered machine technology and an underground resistance of illegal magic users. There’s no limit to your imagination, just the time it will take for you to develop your world.
  • Develop as needed. You don’t need to create multiple world-spanning pantheons of deities, or the social structure of the capital’s ruling elite (unless it’s essential to your ongoing story). Develop the bits you need as you need them.
  • Leave space for future developments. That timeline doesn’t need all the gaps filled in. Leaving space in your world means flexibility to add more later. Filling in every hole now can limit you later on, when you may come up with new or better ideas, and nobody is a fan of retroactive continuity changes.
  • Build naturally. Add things as part of the story. Another country is invading? Time to put together a culture/backstory for them. Leave any other surrounding countries until they play a part in the ongoing story.
  • Use your players. Your players are going to have interesting backgrounds for their characters. Make these backgrounds part of your world. Connect your players closely to the world—they will be more engaged with the setting and their personal stories will pay off big time. Use their imaginations to supplement your creative process. It doesn’t have to be all up to you.

I created my own setting for Shotglass Adventures 1 and 2, which I’ve significantly expanded on for Shotglass Adventures 3. I started off with a small province in a remote part of a large empire. The theme was high fantasy, so the adventures could be easily slotted into any existing world. As I created adventures I added locations to the setting, developed a province capital and a shady regional government that would cause some moral quandaries for my players. A small pantheon of gods, a little bit of history as the games progressed, but only as much as was needed for the fledgling campaign, leaving plenty of room to expand later. I added new races as they were needed, arch foes as they appeared. The next iteration expands the area of the province significantly, adding lots of new locations, intrigue and adventure seeds. Time will tell how large the setting gets, and I already have notions for the rest of the world. But I won’t develop any of it unless it plays a part in the ongoing campaign. My best advice: use your time wisely, and try not to overstep the mark (you will want to—we all do).

There’s nothing wrong with developing a world setting, even if you don’t end up using it. If you have the time to invest and the desire, then go for it. But time is a luxury for most people nowadays, so use it constructively (yep, that’s a pun).

Game on!

Steve 🙂

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, in print/PDF/digital, visit https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989.

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Pop Stars. A poem.

Too many pop stars
popping off like stars
or popping corn, just
Mini-fashion supernovas
grabbing my attention
in an explosion of pop culture
Sympathetically
Simplistically
Setting the scene
In just fifteen
minutes of sobriety

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Sheets and Slips. A poem.

These sheets and slips
Abide with time,
Like tides and shores,
Old pick up lines.
These mountains climbed
And sacrificed,
To sheets and slips
And angst-filled lives;
That lost their way,
Were found again,
In the arms of a wayward,
Weather-less vane.
No wind or rain
From north or south,
No implications,
fear or doubt.
Just sheets and slips
And subtle mouth,
To find my way
Bring this ship about.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Upstart Photographer – Swing

I take photographs. I write poetry.

Poetry and photography,
as seen above and below,
exchanging views
and subtle growth
.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Swing

I swing into summer
The water chilled to perfection
Melting an icy veneer
That once suited this exterior

And so I swing
A subtle pendulum
Expectantly delivered
Into your watery embrace

For more Upstart Photographer, click here.

Well Spent. A poem.

My arms like tree limbs,
gnarled and objectified.
Here in the last remaining light,
reaching for an unreachable sign
by the side of a road,
long and bitterly loathed.

My feet encased in clay,
entrenched along with attitudes
I left in yesterday,
along with foolish platitudes
and angst-ridden symphonies
in flight and obscure.

Still the creaking joints reach out,
suppressing every thought and doubt
that lingers in the weary caress
of roots and reeds and weeds.
If you are only passing by,
perhaps you could spend some time with me.

At least I can guarantee
it will be time well spent, indeed.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Indifference. A poem.

She was indifferent at first—
A wall to ascend,
Of dubious propriety.
My insouciant charm
Is made to break bricks,
To render mortar
Into dirt and water,
To make a difference
From indifference.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM: Weapon and Armor Durability

I know what you’re going to say—in D&D it’s so much easier not to have to worry about weapons getting damaged. But what happens when they do? And how do you have a simple (or laidback, as I prefer to call it) system that doesn’t bog down the game?

Flanked!!

Here’s my personal take on weapon and armor damage:

  • Every time you roll a 1 (critical fumble) on an attack roll, your non-magical weapon takes damage. It loses -1 to attacks and damage. This stacks with further crit fumbles, up to a maximum of -3, after which the non-magical weapon breaks and can’t be used.
  • Armor is treated a little differently: when an NPC or monster scores a 20 (critical hit), you as a player can decide whether you want to take the double damage or whether your non-magical armor is damaged with a -1 penalty to AC. This penalty stacks with successive crit hits up to a maximum of -3, after which the non-magical armor breaks and is unusable. (This option might potentially save the PC from being knocked unconscious or killed by a critical hit.)
  • Damaged weapons and armor can be repaired by an armorer, weaponsmith or bowyer (depending on the weapon/armor) for half the original price of the weapon or armor.
  • A PC can repair their own weapons and armor during down time if they have have the relevant background and tools (e.g. Guild Artisan or Clan Crafter Backgrounds with relevant area of expertise: armorer, bowyer, weaponsmith). They’ll need a forge if the weapon or armor is made of metal. The price for repairing their own weapons and armor is a quarter of the original cost of the item.
  • No matter who repairs the item, it takes 1 day per -1 to fix (i.e. 3 days to fix -3 damaged weapon).

And now you’re going to say, why not just buy a new one? That’s entirely possible, but not every PC may have the money, and it may be the sword is a family heirloom or that shield is the Cleric’s holy symbol. Or the player might just prefer to be self sufficient.

When using a weapon and armor damage system like this, you shouldn’t really use a critical fumble system as well. Or if you do, you could alternate crits with weapon and armor damage. Either way, as long as your players are happy with it.

And remember: monsters with weapons and armor should be affected, too. All’s fair, after all.

Easy weapon and armor damage? Done and dusted!

Game on!

Steve 🙂

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, in print/PDF/digital, visit https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989.

Laidback DM Ad - Battlemaps and Screen

Corruption. A poem.

Your corruption has taken me
Down and done, blistered and foul
Every stream, more pain to cross
Until this bitter pill has done its
Sour and murky job
And set this soul to rights
So I can ride again
But always with this fear
That your corruption
Will bring me down again

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Pulse. A poem.

Tar, congealing in your veins,
sheltering your heartbeat
in its quicksilver repose.

Aortic mysteries, dissected
atriums and ventricles
at ease and at odds,
pulling and pushing
through luxurious days
and overheated nights.

What will it take to quicken
your lackadaisical pulse,
to break your blood and soul
from this lethargy that holds
you fastidiously to ransom?

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

The Cycle. A poem.

The cycle is constant

Together, alone

I long for the instant
Until I’m finally home

I endure and I crave

The simplest life

Where my soul is saved
By my family and wife

But the cycle is constant

Together, alone

The cycle is constant
Until I’m finally home

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Your Eyes, an Ocean. A poem.

Your eyes, an ocean

Setting me adrift at sea
Just one miscalculation
and
Suddenly there’s
No star to guide me

Your eyes, an ocean

Subtle ocean homily
Expounding on a sailor lost
and
Anxiously not
Where he’s meant to be

Your eyes, an ocean

Given a sextant to perceive
Directly and indirectly
and
This distance made wider
Between you and me

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Upstart Photographer – Knighted Tree

Poetry and photography, live together in perfect harmony (to paraphrase Paul McCartney).

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Knighted Tree - stevestillstanding.com

Knighted Tree

Armoured and encrusted
Barnacled and salted
Prepared to joust
For your ocean’s honour
Your everlasting foe
The ever-shifting shore

For more Upstart Photographer, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM: Easier Encumbrance

Do you use the encumbrance rules as written in 5e? I don’t. I find them…cumbersome, if you’ll excuse the pun. Of all the rules brought across from the various old editions, counting weight in pounds and applying it to a factor multiplied by strength is just tedious. There’s enough math in the game without that as well.

So, time for some simpler rules. Here’s some, borrowed and slightly modified, from a great little game recently launched on Kickstarter, called Five Torches Deep.

Five Torches Deep TRPG
Five Torches Deep is a cool 5e/OSR crossover game, I recently supported on Kickstarter. Find it on DrivethruRPG!

All item weights are expressed as Load, which reflects the weight and bulk of an item. Small items and weapons (such as a dagger) weigh 1, medium or bulky items and large weapons weigh 2. Light armour weighs 1, medium armour 2, heavy armour 4. 500 coins equals a load of 1. Some items will have negligible weight, such as a single scroll, and don’t count towards Load (although a scroll case with multiple scrolls would weigh 1).

A PC can carry their Strength value in Load e.g. STR 18 = 18 points of Load. If they go over their limit, they are encumbered and suffer a 5 foot movement penalty per point of load over their Strength. They also suffer Disadvantage on ability checks, saves and attacks. When their movement reaches zero they are over-encumbered and can’t move. They’ll have to shed something.

For example, a Rogue has Strength 12. He carries his backpack (1), a dagger (1), a short sword (1), long bow (2), quiver of 20 arrows (1) full waterskin (1), 2 weeks of rations (2) a bag of marbles (negligible), 50 feet of rope (1) and wears Leather Armor (1). This brings him to 1 under his limit. He could carry a further 500 coins (1) of treasure, but any more and he’s over the limit—his movement would be reduced by 5 feet for each point over and his ability checks, saves and attacks would be at Disadvantage.

Easy to work out and apply, right? And much less cumbersome.

Game on!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, in print/PDF/digital, visit https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989.

Laidback DM Ad - Shotglass Adventures 2

Laidback DM: Alignments in Games

Alignments are a leftover from the days of old school role playing. Originally there were three—Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Then Mr. Gygax decided in AD&D that he’d spice it up a little by adding Good, Neutral and Evil suffixes to provide a bit more clarity. But are alignments necessary in a D&D game?

Players and DMs generally fall into two categories when it comes to alignments—you either love them or hate them. There doesn’t seem to be a sit-on-the-fence (or neutral!) option here. Personally, I don’t like alignments. I think players like the freedom to play their character how they wish, and alignments are just not that important in running the game.

Cave exit
Escaping the confines of alignments…

That’s not to say alignments are a complete write off:

Pros:

  • They make it easy to role play NPCs and monsters because they provide a basis for their motivation.
  • They provide players with some guidance as to how they might play their character.
  • They can create interesting conflicts for parties containing characters with wide-ranging alignments.
  • The rules are set up to use alignments, particularly where aligned magic items are used or in certain magical areas or traps that only affect specifically aligned characters.
  • They make it easy to tell who the good guys and bad guys are, thus ‘aligning’ the story with traditional high fantasy tropes.

Cons:

  • Players may feel restricted by having to ‘fit’ their role play to the alignment they’ve chosen.
  • Conflict between opposite aligned characters may feel ‘manufactured’ or meta-gamed, rather than natural.
  • DMs may feel restricted by an NPC’s or monster’s alignment e.g. that monster is Chaotic Evil, he would never do something to help out that party!

In the end, everyone has good and bad in them. Nothing is black and white in the real world, and role playing games are a bit like that, too (at least mine are). I don’t believe in the need for alignments, but I can see how they can be useful in helping to guide a player’s ethical decisions. When I’m playing an NPC or monster, I ignore alignment altogether and do whatever fits the story best.

In the end, whether you use alignments or not, you decide how they work in your campaign. Like many of the peripheral rules in TRPGs (i.e. rules that could be considered non-essential) they don’t really make much difference to how the game is played. Everyone will still have fun, whether you use them or not.

And that’s what the game’s really about.

Game on!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, in print/PDF/digital, visit https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989.

Laidback DM Ad - Battlemaps and Screen

Binge. A poem.

Timed and untimed,
A chaos of raindrops
Upon a sleepy roof
Filling gutters and trailing
Spume in snail trails
That wind their way
Drinking toasts to those
Whose evaporation
From the scene
Left such a hole
In awkward conversation.

The clink of glass
And amber froth
Disappeared in the wake
Like reeling in the catch
To be emptied later
Upon the deck
Before the toilet door.
Memories worth
Fighting for
But such a waste
Of good beer.

The last call
Of siren nights
A gentle gutter bed
For swift repose
And nights better off
Misremembered
Than recalled
Until the next
Your head laid upon
The tiers and tiles
Perhaps better off dead.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures II available in print!

The products from my last Kickstarter, including Shotglass Adventures II, are now available in PDF/print on DrivethruRPG.

Here’s a look at the printed version of the book:

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II

For D&D 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games.

• 10 one-shot adventures for characters of 6th-10th level, including murder, dungeon crawl, gauntlet, planar, puzzle, quest, siege, sci-fi. Minimal preparation required. Each adventure can be run individually or played as a mini-campaign. Over 50 hours of gaming content

• 25 New Monsters

• 17 New Magic Items

• 2 New Ships, compatible with the ship rules in Ghosts of Saltmarsh

• New playable race – Sh’Vy’Th (Sherviath) Elves! Refugees from fascistic forest city-states ruled with an iron grip by the Pale Lords…

• Information on the Invician Empire to support campaign play

• A map of Verona Province, complete with every adventure location

• OSR conversion advice

• Bonus tips for DMs

• Bonus full color and b&w maps with adventure seeds for you to use in your own adventures

You can buy these new products at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989

Game on!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

Laidback DM Ad - Shotglass Adventures 2Laidback DM Ad - Battlemaps and Screen

Too Many. A poem.

Too many regrets
upon my worn
and well-used slate,
to be reviewed
when l stand alone
at Heaven’s gate.

No just reward
for me, I’m told.
The chains won’t break
that bind me to
this certain and
uncertain fate.

I’ve tried my best,
or so I thought.
Never too late
to reverse the course,
to sail my ship, so
true and straight.

So much remorse,
that fills me up
with years of pain,
my tears resolved
by unceasing
and unending grace.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Damn Fool. A poem.

Damn fool
Believing you’re good enough
Damn fool
For thinking you got it made
Damn fool
For believing in life and love
Damn fool
Taking belief to your grave
Damn fool
I still believe in you
Damn fool
Maybe you do, too

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Rainfall. A poem.

Pale droplets cascade
Down gray-faced facades
Of dimpled iron will
Collecting the residue
Of dusty acrimony
Along their chaotic
Weatherbeaten paths.

Pools of mercury
Dance in the afterglow
Rising and falling
To the somber occasion
And recalling times
And memories lost
Abandoned in twilight.

Rain, let it fall on me
And remind me of myself
As only I remember
And only I forget.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Today/Tomorrow. A poem.

Today:

All at once, there’s no one there,
the dark, an isolation tank.
The world outside faded away,
a post-apocalyptic prank.

Tomorrow:

The light here that lingers on,
electric in the morning dew.
This joyous, often mellow song
that shows it’s face to me and you.

Today:

I’m excommunicated, now,
shunned, it seems, by those I love.
Black hole, it lingers here, anon,
crushing fractious head above.

Tomorrow:

Perhaps, I overthink too much.
Every thought, catastrophe;
maverick mountains, molehills grown
in usual, post-haste anxiety.

Today/tomorrow:

My burden and my onward sorrow,
a division so intensely personal.
The fate that I must always follow
—black dog consumes his fill of offal.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Time to drive. a poem.

The manual transmission
sticks at times,
a reminder that we
need a service and I
need to find a new place
for my engine to unwind.

There was a time
when things were simpler,
when you could change
the sparks yourself.
But now it’s all computers,
and instruments
and waxing/waning moments
in technicolor
and surround sound.

Now, I need to feel
the road beneath my wheels
and roam free of this room
that encapsulates
and encourages me.
I don’t believe
you would appreciate
this fresh and wise
perspective.

Now, it’s time to drive.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Curious. A poem.

Mister curious

Digging up questions
And quotients
And seeking answers
Undivided, yet multiplied

How curious
Can one man be
In a world where
Everything
Is laid out plain to see?

Keep digging

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Expectations. A poem.

How often do expectations
Let us down?
How often do we strain
And stretch the imagination
In a tug of war
Of real and immaterial
And how often do we fail
Because we thought
Just a little too much
And a little too long
A little too wild
A little too strong
How often do expectations
Let us down?

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

No Muse. A poem.

I have no muse
And so my words
Flow winsome
And aimless
Waltzing on
To chaotic beats
And tiresome chords
Waiting for one
To lead me back
To place my foot
Upon the boards
To find the fire
And burn it bright
To shape the cadence
Of my heart
Until I should sway
And careen
And relive the light
Of ecstasy
In every word and
Cache of thought.

I have no muse
But she exists
In mind and soul
A vast horizon
That flows beyond
The scope of my
Fevered thoughts
And vacant brow.

Perhaps I shall write
Of her now.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Consequential Rage. A poem.

I tire of being a wanderer,
of petty inconsistency
and introverted wiles,
bickering and bleating
in this bleak and vast
apogee of mind.

I wanted to be confident,
full of vanity and fire
—an actor on a stage—
such eloquence, so wild,
such convoluted things to say,
so naked in his pride.

But my mind said not
to question why I am,
why I think this way.
Why my heart transcends
and acquiesces,
it’s just the price I pay.

And so this tired wanderer
does blunder on and on,
making ripples in his wake
until his song is sung—
a mournful theme that sets
this sorry world aflame.

Until the curtain
and the page
draw to a close
this meaningful and
consequential rage.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Scene, Set and Match. A poem.

Scene: a small, Italian restaurant.

Two newly-matched.
Time set aside.
Something right
and something wrong.
Laughter and humility.
Understanding and empathy.
Certainty and unreality.
Scene, set and match.

Let’s do this all again,
shall we?

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Guessed. A poem.

My guest, I guessed I knew you;
I was wrong, as I often am,
But fail to admit to.

My guest, you came and went away,
And left me wanting more,
As I have and will, for days.

My guest, I tasted the soul of you,
Guessed at the flavour, and,
Surprised, forgot the golden rule:

To love is, eventually, to lose,
No matter the guest
You guessed you’d choose.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Eternal Vacancy. A sonnet.

You are as far from my thoughts as you aren’t
Sequestered and dream-like, merely a ghost
Wandering hallways that lie black and burnt
My mind harks to you, once or twice at most
Another fills this shady vacancy
Whispering lonely hellos and goodbyes
From the shadows that long imprison me
Manufacturing bindings for the blind
She dances, in 3/4 time upon the floor
Her message, all rhythm and subtextual
Her presence awakens the flame amore
And like the jester, I play the fool

Like all of my misguided gestures
Lost eternal as her spirit sings

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Driven. A poem.

The prairie and the road calls,
A waltz of remembrance
Dancing along the asphalt,
Like a tumbleweed made of last regrets.

The stick shift clicks in place,
The tension defining its existence
mirrored on the driver’s face.

Wheels spin and smoke
And the car strides forth
Like the lion on the newborn veldt,
Hunting for the prey that will stoke
Each and every kindled fire.

Every junction calls his name,
A whisper passing by
Like a ghost of Christmas past,
A brief entanglement in a roadside motel
That’s far too short and soon forgotten.

The freeway calls to him,
The art majestic and the weary eye,
Casting all doubts aside.
The way of all things revealed,
Found and lost and soon to be received.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

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