YELLOW AND GOLD ARE NOT ON IN THE SAME

tires keep rolling,

creaky and slow like an elder.

quick stops—not quick enough to save anyone

just quick enough to try.

a parking lot of “trying our best.”

a sea of metal; blue black red

yellow? never yellow.

yellow isn’t cool, it’s happy and bright

but gold, oh gold,

gold is everything.

gold in the children’s teeth,

the grimiest of them

glimmering in the grey sky,

in the rainy sky,

dripping, hot, metallic.

it burns their skin

melting down to bone,

singing lonely hearts

that fills themselves with

yellow snap pics

pics of dicks

pics of chicks

picks to be saved for the apocalypse

they smile behind the

yellow barn in our

yellow flower state

to find their yellow car in

heaven. so let their

tires keep rolling.

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It has become a village in here:

the bodies here bustle,

like fire ants at work—

working. Working on

something like art,

praying to their heaven that maybe,

just maybe, the world will finally chew it up

and spit it back out

onto the cracked sidewalk.

Young Blood

He didn’t want to wake up this morning. He had spent the night staring at the rotting wood ceiling, watching the small white lights the stars provided. He wondered if the stars only roamed on his father’s land, leaving light for the night workers that cleaned blood off of knives until the blades shone brightly again.

His mother had left his school clothes on the rocking chair in the corner, the black pieces of cloth folded into perfect squares. The clothes stiffness now suffocated him as he stood in place, the Father glancing at each pupil coldly, his eyes lingering on the smallest one. The boy cowered at the stare, black curls falling into his eyes. The Father smiled complacently at his meekness, walking into the middle of the child-made circle. Each child was clothed in black, the small boy the palest of them all.

The Father stood tall amongst them, the bright-eyed infants watching his every move hungrily. The Father moved his head slowly, his icy gaze landing on the tallest one, a boy the small one knew to help with the garden. He was tan and a ruffian, perking up excitedly when the Father raised an arm, his hand in the shape of a gun. The small boy suppressed a twitch when the Father lowered his calloused thumb.

The classroom became mechanic. The farmboy’s hands came together with a loud clap, fingers and palms aligned perfectly before swinging them to his left. The blond girl next to him caught them, mimicking his clasp before sending it down the circle. The children worked quickly, passing the bullet from hand to hand. The small boy jumped when it reached him, closing his eyes when the brunette next to him’s hands met his own, quickly passing it off to the blond next to him.

The bullet returned to the farm boy, who fell to his knees, his forehead grazing the floor while his palms laid exposed. The Father was now expressionless, walking over slowly to the boy, his black, metal-clad boots clicking across the wooden floor.  He stopped in front of the boy on the ground, searching his hands. He let out a heavy sigh, raising his boot before slamming it on the boy’s hands. The small boy tensed and the Father’s gaze instantly found his.

“What’s wrong, Joshua?” All eyes found their way to him, making his pale skin color red. The Father stared expectantly, twisting his foot further onto the young boy’s hands. The boy made no sound, his eyes closed and his body still.

“W-why did you—?” The Father’s foot stilled, walking over to his son. He offered his hand to the small boy, walking him over to the farmboy’s bruising hands. Joshua stared down at the sight, his vision growing hazy. The Father watched him carefully.

“Can you see it?” the Father asked. Joshua examined the marred hands until a light finally flickered.

“The bullet. It’s—”

“Bloody. Good job, enlightened one.” The Father dismissed him with a look and the boy scurried back in place. The Father stood silent, looking at each child’s face menacingly. “You want to tell me that in the face of death you plan to bleed?” The room remained silent, not an inch of movement made. “Answer when your Father speaks to you.”

“Bleeding is for the weak. Blood is the sign of humanity, the sign of weakness. You must be more than human to survive,” the room chanted, their voices monotonous. The Father said nothing, not even with his face. Joshua could no longer breath, fear tightening its grip around his lungs.

The Father looked down at the forgotten farmboy. “Get off the floor, you foolish sheep,” he snarled, walking out of the circle while the boy scurried back to his feet. He was paler than before now, his warm brown eyes glazed over. Joshua forced himself to look away. The Father gave two claps and a dance commenced.

1, 2, 3, 4

Father have mercy

5, 6 , 7, 8

I’m at your mercy

1, 2, 3, 4

Please have mercy

5, 6, 7, 8—

“Mercy on my bones,” the smallest boy whispered, following his class as they all collapsed to the ground. The children moved quickly, lying down in formation, their limbs outstretched  for examination. The Father then walked round the circle, a wooden staff in hand, the end grazing the legs of the school children. His gaze was critical, eyes searching endlessly for flaws in his beautiful machines. His steps slowed to a stop. Joshua let his eyes close.

“Up.” A girl with a long braid flowing down to her feet rose, leaving the others to systematically rising from the floor, folding their legs and placing their palms in the middle, right over left. The girl stood strong, her face stoic as the Father circled around her. “What had you said, Sister?”

The girl spoke not, sensing her own fate. Joshua did not have to open his eyes to know that.

“‘Mercy on my soul?’ Sister, what did I say about the word soul?” Joshua suppressed a twitch at the question. His father said many things, so many  things he wasn’t sure what was anymore.

“Souls are for the mortals. You cannot have a soul and be enlightened. You cannot have a soul and be the Father’s child,” she said plainly, staring straight-ahead. The Father smiled complacently at this before swiftly raising the stick and ramming it into the back of her head. The girl fell to the ground, her head meeting the wood floors with a crack, blood leaking alongside her beautiful braid. She let out a horrid cry, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks. Joshua’s hands shot up to cover his ears, pressing his palms into his skull.

“You should have asked for mercy on what’s there, Sister.”

The Father beat the girl with the staff, streams of blood flowing from her braid. The girl’s body convulsed with pain, her hands making haphazard efforts to protect her skull. The Father however was not kind in this moment; he used every muscle in his body to swing the makeshift bat at the young girl’s skull.

Joshua finally opened his eyes only to stare into the eyes of the dying girl. He remembered playing with her by the cliff when the sun released itself from the angry grasp of the horizon. He remembered being privileged with the task of braiding her warrior hair. He remembered how she taught him how to fight and win even with his tiny figure. She was destined for enlightenment, but now he was watching her die in front of him.

He was watching a little girl die. And while she was two years his elder, his six years of life didn’t matter all of a sudden. His throat suddenly opened as air rushed into his lungs and he started screaming. He screamed and ran to her, ignoring the fear-stricken looks of his classmates as he cradled the girl’s beaten head into his arms. Large hands found him and wrestled him away, throwing him off to the side violently.

“Father! Father! Papa don’t do this!” The smallest one sobbed, reaching out for his papa, the man who decided life and death. Alas, his papa was not there in this moment. Only his Father remained.

The Father took him up by the arm and shoved the staff into his small hands. Joshua tried to break free, albeit freedom hadn’t been with him since the day he was born. His father huffed, giving his eldest child a look of finality to an extent the boy would never fully comprehend. He turned to his pupils before grandly announcing, “The Enlightened One has decided to protest against the punishment. The Enlightened One thinks he’s above his Father.” Joshua shook his head in violent protest, tears streaming down his cheeks once again. The Father grinned at his own malice.

The children’s eyes brightened, a tangible excitement fermenting in their bones. The Father walked to the door, complacent. “Remind him of his place, children.” The children nodded sweetly as the Father walked out, closing the door shut. Joshua looked into their glowing eyes, hungry and savage, waiting to tear away the final remnants of his soul.

Savior of the Dead

The Lakota sometimes wished he were human. He felt like it at times; he would sit in his chamber, reading stories all day until the sunsets purple hues dimmed his pages. He had traveled far for such serenity, at least as far as he’s ever traveled in his short 15 years of life. This new life felt strange to him for power felt too big for his small hands, and his third eye was still sore and bloodshot from the last time he had tried to use it.

He sat in the mountains of what was once Columbus, Ohio, now barren and cold in what was once spilling with human life. Lakota imagined books spilled out of there too, covering the asphalt streets until the cars were forced to stop and read the wonderful literature presented to them. He sighed, holding his newest book tight and close to his heart. The mortals called it ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and it excited him that a human boy was so much like him.

“Lakota,” a small voice hissed behind him, its thin body slinking behind his back. Lakota sighed, gently closing his new heart and placing it to the side. The scaly being grew fat, its fluttering tail splitting into two humanesque legs, its reptilian face stretching into pink lips, eyes remaining yellow, vertical slits. How repulsive.

“Salutations, Bella. You look well.” Bella grinned at this, his head twitching slightly as dark brown locks fell into his face. His face was sharp and enchanting upon first glance so Lakota paid him no mind.

“Xena shall be returning North once again. He had visited—.”

“Ethalo. I know of this. I do not care,” Lakota snapped, letting his eyes closed as he let his eye try to find the missing boy. He had few friends in his new life, so he tried his best to hold onto them as long as he could manage.

“You shouldn’t use your eye, beloved. You’re simply too weak,” Bella offered lowly, his movement fluid as he wrapped himself around Lakota, his human form lost once again. Lakota allowed his pet up his arm as he kept his gaze forward and focused.

“Why? So you can overpower me? I can hear your thoughts you dumb serpent. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t send you south and straight to your maker.” Bella hissed, releasing himself from the deity before him as he slinked away again, down the mountain and into grass.

‘There was a time where I was more powerful than you,’ the serpent thought, fattening itself again to reveal porcelain skin and light colored eyes. Bella glared at the Lakota in the sky that spent his days reading and looking across barren wasteland. The Lakota simply continued to read his book.

 

Xena’s trek was to take three nights until he would be recalled to life by the Lakota. He did not have much with him; he only carried his copy of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, gifted to him by the Lakota himself. He would often think of the Lakota on his search for the five birds that terrorized the life that remained in the Kansan oceans. Eagles, ravens, owls, falcons, and another he simply couldn’t be bothered to remember. He recorded his findings in his leather bound book, another gift from his long-haired friend.

He had chosen to stop by in the east village that resided in Missouri. Saint Louis it was called, which was ironic since Africana tribes resided there. They beared steel masks and performed most rituals with uses of ancient chemistry. Xena feared to touch anything while he was there, but he was always confused for a native until he spoke. However he was not one to wander without purpose. He had been travelling for miles to retrieve one powerful substance.

“Hello Elba,” he greeted, resting comfortably on his transport as the creature made its way through the bazaar begrudgingly. A woman of ebony skin and ivory eyes emerged, hair gifted with jewels and hands bearing promise. She never spoke when Xena came, but she always knew what he wanted. She placed the glass bottle in his swiftly before disappearing back into the crowd. Xena didn’t skip a beat as he moved away, the poor Kansan lizard creature bearing his sorrows.

 

The Lakota tribe had prospered centuries before the first serpents had arrived. Lakota for this reason alone did not look west often, for the west only encouraged greed in the people that inhabited this land. His land.

He had not seen a human since his vessel had returned to what was once the Americas. He saw plenty of mockeries however, humanoid monsters whose limbs had become mutilated and like poison. While his earthly body did not know the cause of such pain, his eye knew it all. This is why the eye chose The Little Prince.

He had just began to learn about the planets when he felt the energy change in the air. He looked into the distance, watching as a giant lizard carried his dearest friend on its back languidly. Xena’s silver hair gleamed from far away and Lakota allowed himself a small smile.

“How fun this end will be,” he told himself, and he read of his planets once more.

 

Ohio had become smokey since Xena last saw it. He knew this land was sick decades before his time, and now the deities were making the population pay. Yet he couldn’t help but find it all so silly, for not a single human was left to suffer.

Night fall came before his new transport had made it to the mountain. As daybreak came, the devil came with it, its hiss and shrill irritating to the lone traveller. A final hiss made the foreigner break as he snatched the creature, staring the snake in the face as its head snapped forward at him, barely missing his nose.

“Bella, you’ve been such a pest lately. You don’t take being the last of your kind very seriously,” Xena said coolly, taking his glass and opening the lid quickly with his teeth. Bella made himself fat once again, landing on the lizard’s back. But the lizard was lazy and did not care for anything, so stay it did.

“I  hate you,” Bella spat, his eyes only yellowy slits. “I hate your race! I hate all of you! Damn your race to hell!” Xena chuckled, the sound building in his chest. His laugh grew maniacal, eyes watery and full with anger.

“We told you humans wouldn’t survive! We gave you everything! We gave you strength, power, and you try and challenge your god!” Bella covered his ears helplessly, blood slowly falling from his eyes. A shrill scream echoed into the wind, his body convulsing as he fell off the transport. The lizard did not care.

The mountains suddenly revealed a figure, their hair flowing behind them as they jumped down from the top, gliding down into the grass. Lakota landed flawlessly, his feet next to the mortals head. Bella’s screams did not stop, his body twitching grotesquely. Lakota grabbed the tortured body by the wrist, making Bella relax instantly. Lakota pulled Bella up with a tug and the three stood upright and equal once again.

“Apologize,” Lakota commanded. Xena bowed his head with hesitation.

“I apologize for my actions, Bella.” Bella did not hear him.

“Very well,” Lakota sighed, holding onto the dazed mortal carefully. “Bella?” Bella did not respond, his eyes slowly warming before his gaze focused. Lakota looked at the man with sorrow. “Believe in me and I will make you well again.” Bella stared at his deity before slowly nodding. Lakota closed his two eyes, the third protecting the last mortal’s soul. Xena brought two fingers to his chin accordingly.

“Strip this body of augmentation and deliver it from suffering,” Xena stated solemnly. Lakota opened his eyes, glancing at his dear friend. Xena nodded, taking the bottle and holding it to the Bella’s lips.
And the Bella was gone.

Prelude

It would soon start to rain, as it does in the rainy season. The sky was grey with light and the clouds formed into a fluffy blanket for the sun. A cool breeze moved swiftly past the army of houses, the roofs a familiar dull brown and structures a blue grey, different from the sky’s shining grey, for it did not bring nearly as much joy.

The cold was insistent, hanging in every crevices the outdoors gave it. No willing soul was outside, and therefore no yearning one either. The neighborhood was old in construction and young in presence. The cement had cracked from little feet pounding away its former glory, the roads worn grey from the drives to school then sport then home again. Neighborhood was filled with quick children, children who’s youth would pass by them with ease leaving only a simple kiss.

Complacency sat on the cracked sidewalk quietly. Complacency did not move from his bike. The bike was baby blue, the kind only really suited for a child. He was small for is age, for you could see it in the scrunchiness of his face. His hair had grown long and curly, a look not meant for boys with dark hair and he knew it. He was a child escaped from the sun, scrawny legs exposed by cheap overalls and a sweater. He had dressed himself today, finally, and while his mother had still cried out when he left, he couldn’t help the small bubble of pleasantry that had filled him.

But for now he was nothing more than complacent and it was ugly on him. Yet he wore it with purpose as he scrunched his face indignantly and curiously ahead of him and over the road to one uniform house. It was plain and ordinary, its only distinction being the lilies by the door.

in the beginning, there was no god.

in the soundless chambers of time and space

it was born.

small and insignificant;

its face blotchy and fat with flesh—

a sputtering mess  on its own—

eyes glowing bright,

the stars illuminated in response to it,

their dust reflective and vain compared to its eyes.

 

Their tongue was made of moonshine

and dry with stardust.

They were in but the child of

oblivion, unknown and renowned,

unforeseen.

 

it babbles softly in the fibers of space and time,

the universe crying mercilessly for answer.

Yet the child will only coo,

its heavenly body occupied with more timely affairs.