Rudis

The last foe falls in endless game
Victory lifts the hopeless struggle
And you find it all feels the same

Step forward and claim your prize
Oak branch twisted to mock blade
Set with feast for prying eyes
A mighty boast of higher grade

You fought for survival
Beneath cruel master’s leash
Now find your revival,
Or die within your niche

The flames were to burn
But just so they were to shape
To see the colors you could earn
What we might make of hopeless ape

Fighter cut from metal and stone
Forged with sand, tempered in dirt
Became a weapon they couldn’t own;
A person they could not hurt

Absolute victory stands before you now
The promise of peace, it was a lie
You will stand but not take your bow
Though it was not here, you will yet die

What we’ve made, a champion of the sand
A warrior stands removed from his plight
Things fall in place just as planned
You’ve gained freedom to choose your fight

You knew your struggle but not your stakes
The symbol of freedom is oaken sword
Wood for it to bend before it breaks
Blade because peace is not your reward

You will pay for victory with your life
Condemned to continue on the sand
In freedom you will yet choose strife
Hilt will once again find your hand

Join the battle for those yet in chain
Find a way to help cast their weight
For they are those that feel your pain.
For they are those that share your fate.

A symbol earned by knowing its name
show your rudis to all who’ll see
Only then could they know your claim
That we all might be set free

Broken Throne

When I decline their offer of cheer
I always wonder if they see the fear

A kindly gesture met with refusal
Chilled bomb within grasp
My very own Mozel Tov cocktail
Terror clawing at sanity’s clasp

Do they see me wrestle the wheel
Take the right turn on the wrong street
Committing a sin against my song
Trying to resist my own beat

Craving the sweet taste of submission
Wash of failure drowning out that fight
Momentary charade of peace in the land
Shield blinding from the reality of blight

When guards are down sleeping shallow
Silent invaders seize their opportunity
Disguising themselves as if they should be
Uniting all of me in peaceful toxic unity

A silent war hid snuggly beneath gaze
Carried on the back for all else to know
Yet we find the truth of our betrayal in our folly
Naming our enemy for a chance to grow

At the end of the road is recovery
Yet the journey stands hollow and alone
A civil war raging for a new king
To hope the close lends no broken throne

Still I wonder what people think
When I tell them I don’t drink

Lions

We never asked for the screaming
It just busted the windows and came in

A burglar stealing our thoughts
Leaving us with gaps on shelves
A broken mural of men
Trying to paint ourselves

As if that weren’t enough
Those walls, they’ll close in
The people that don’t understand
Will treat it like it’s our own sin

They’ll build up crashing waves
Then bring ‘en down on our clout
Villafy us in their village
And wonder why we don’t come out

They’ll claim we’re the bullet
From their tragedy’s gun
They forget who pulled the trigger
As if their works could be undone

And yet their stance is fatally firm
Our illness is the matter
They climb up like King Kong
Standing high atop their tatters

Oh but they’ll pretend to care
Without action to match word
Turning us into rhetoric
Silencing a voice to be heard

So instead we cling to our pride
Nursing the pain that leaves us crying
But if you took the splinters from our paws
You’d see us stand as lions

Count My Rings

A split mind is a lonely problem
Not much different from clouded lenses
But it obscures far more views
And doesn’t stop at the senses

The tall man broke in to my house again
Right when I was about to think
He came for blood this time
He just wanted me to drink

I cleaned up that gory scene
Of the beloved cadavers in the den
The bodies were clogging the chimney
But that was now and this is then

What will I do tonight
With the thoughts keeping me up
Wrestling that faceless intruder
I’m unable to disrupt

Another night finding the flaws
Trying to play mind detective
Scouring for gaps in search of delusion
To find which me is defective

I’ll make an appointment now
To see the actors in the day
While they go through their motions
Putting on their play

Keep up with the professional strangers
They’ve got a new message to sell
No one will teach you how to drive this thing
But boy, you better do it well

How will they know our silent rage
Will you cut us open and count our rings?
Not worth trying to understand
Really it’s just one of those things

Like the windows of cathedrals
A shattered brain could build something new
Breathtaking images in with broken glass
Loosely held together by glue

You know what? forget it for now
We’ll have problems twice the size
Just hold me ’til the world gets brighter
And these demons leave my eyes