Nitrogen Phrases

I remember English classes-
Envy eyes and starched up clothes
Teacher said I knew all the answers
Birthing poet and his prose

Late nights dissecting Shakespeare
Lost somewhere in those lines
I’d imagine myself on a stage
Conjuring birds that defy time

I moved in one direction since then
Floating in a glitzy dress
Behind these rhinestone words
Fleshed out layers of pretense

I write in five Pop-tart flavors
Stacked among a thousand shelves
Statements with an expiry date
For souls who can’t find themselves

I do a solid impression
Of someone who has lost his love
Or someone who hates pop culture
Like what I’m doing now

But my poems are no more than mud tracks
For you to follow to a layby
I’m waiting under an insect lamp
And dreaming up a different life

Do you remember English classes?
All the questions so simple then
Us trapped in repeating rhymes
In the chalkdust of recurrence

Nitrogen phrases,
Filling up the space




Part I: City

If your empty eyes ever perch upon
An angel clad in light
And if she were to just flow by
Don’t wait for her

As she dances into the dark
Taunting shadows from the streets
Don’t let the pirouette fall
Walk with her

Part II: Home

If the ink dissolves to a bluer shade
If she chooses her kind of love
Don’t take away her inverted crown
Stand by her

If you’ve seen her dream shine through the wall
The pieces swept under a rug
A broken swallow between the gears
Speak for her

Part III: Love

Be gentle as the wind would
To a lonely, quivering cloud
Unraveling of hair and soul
Melt into her

Part IV: Life

On the sound of another heartbeat
An atheist finds his God
“Look at what we made”
Stay with her

If she were to slip on the snow
And the sneers bring her down
Let her know you’re always there
Clap for her

Part V: War

If you’re crouched in the bunkers
Among the baritone of the bombs
Hold on to the pendant and the promise
Fight for her

Part VI: Home

If she’s locked up in the bathroom
With broken tiles and glass
Through the shower and tears lost
Listen to her

As the evening finally fades
Into the moon’s frowning face
Just keep faith
And wait for her.


Image: “Wait For Her” by Sean Evans and Roger Waters

Song For The Stillborn

A young lady sings a sad song by the stream

She sings of something she couldn’t have

The crystal water reverberates her lorn

Doves nesting in her hair

Join her song for the unborn.

Painters come

And writers go

Immortalize the picturesque sight

But the young lady sings for herself

She sings of a dead child.

As she nears her crescendo

Just before the curtains of night fall

Appears the blackest crow

It turns into a witch

Coming out of a nearby tree hollow.

“My dear, these feet leave footprints in the future

These pointed ears hear the church bell

These wrinkled hands feel the snow of winter

And these hidden eyes

See you adorn the robes of a mother.”

The lady cries with joy

As the witch recedes into her tree

She cries for the rest of that yonder year

As a cursed seed in her stomach grows

Turning happiness into faceless fear.

She cries till her voice is gone

Poison tears mould her face

Her seasons are stolen as she sits by the stream

There is no sign of the witch

Lost between the trees like a forgotten dream.

At long last, a baby boy is born

And finally, the silent wailing subsides

The lady can dance with her son all she likes

But she can’t tell him a story

Or sing him a lullaby.

The boy blossoms as his mother wilts away

Buying flowers at the market, he sees

Paintings of a lady so beautiful, he doesn’t believe are real

So he visits the stream that shows him

The full story in its reflection reveal.

He sets off to find the witch

To make his mother glow again

He asks around but the townspeople don’t seem to know

So he looks up at the sky surface

For blots of the blackest crows.

Following the formation to a familiar place

There’s no skulls or cauldrons of witchcraft ways

Baffled, he walks through the bamboo door

An old lady sits inside the room

“Mama?” he says and falls to the floor.

“I’m sorry” the mother mouths as she tastes her tears

“I just had to watch you grow”

“Mama” the boy repeats as he begins to turn to dust

“The people say you have a beautiful voice”

They are one, the blessing and the curse.

A young lady sings a sad song by the stream

She sings of something she couldn’t have

The frozen water cracks with her form

Ravens perch in her hair

Join her song for the stillborn.

The Alchemist

The alchemist looks through the glass

His face reflect on the crimson sky

A crowd outside, awaiting news

From his chamber, a festering lie.


Black ships came with the plague

Leak themselves after crashing into land

The people run with dark at their heels

In hope to outrun the devil’s hands.

The lawyers and realists absconding town

But the superstitious unmoved

Until the bell tolled their eleventh hour

Their deity had been disproved.

The alchemist, of unholy heed

His face is still as they beg for a cure

“Bring me back these elements”

For umbral motive behind closing door.

A dragon’s scale, a hemlock leaf

Ivy poison, a centaur’s hide

Essence of evil

And a thirst for immortal pride.

Torn pages of legends compiled

Put together the ancient marking

A concoction to unravel the threads of time

A morbid misunderstanding.

The alchemist, adds the factors

His face deforms in the bubbling brew

The glass vials whisper, an ominous organ

From cursed cabinets of rotten yew.

Outside, as the cloak of night falls

Waxing worries setting in

The crowd stares down the old house

Ignoring a new blackness from within.

With Tartarus drawing close

The baying forests vanish in its wake

“That’s it, men. This heathen’s no help

Prepare your pitchforks and ready the stake!”

The alchemist begins the ritual

His face shall become it’s youthful realization

And the eternal elixir, just a drop of which

Carry him, the dawn of an omega civilization.

Trembling, he holds out his hand

Blackened blood drips from the knife

A quavering chant to channel the mystic

The contours on the cauldron come alive.

The mob fomenting their flames

Burn down the house that stood for years

“We can make it to the mountains”

Little they knew, the devil was already here.

The alchemist, his raging pyre

His face, a phantom in the fire

Black oil from earth, set alight

Screams from the last of souls

Mark the end of another town into unending night.


The alchemist, ascendant he rises

His face evanescent in the smoke disperse

Looking at the magic room he left

His belief is safe like a dormant curse.

Image from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (Redux), The Astronauts


Speaking through the radio
Long nights on the phone
Speaking through your window
Even when I’m alone.
Heard you in recorder
When I reversed the tape
Heard you between the clock ticks
As the wind kissed your drapes.
Taste you after a smoke
Hair dancing in the car
Taste blood in a wrong vein
Something obscured by your scarf.
Seen you in the subway
Shivering by the stairs
Seen a mark on your neckline
Fear etched on your face.
Felt you through the fabric
Of space and time
Felt a heart through your veil
Keeping the dream alive.

Snow Doe

Left a letter and my life in the dining room
Headed out into a brave new world
Looking back at the lamp-lit driveway
Then start to run towards rising day.
Trains with ghosts pull into the station
Distant sounds into silence as I breathe my smoke
Under the coat, a clean slate and dirty desire
In the glowing fog, a lonely fire.
Suddenly, the streets come alive
My admirers swarm around this Broadway charm
Cameras flash, as I strike a pose
I’m dressed for the occassion, it covers my lows.
The snow is real, I can feel it in my hair
Standing like a doe in a dome, no one to care
A tune plays in my head, feel myself move
To disturb my fading skirt flair, no one will dare.
In the flickering light, insects dance
I’m inspired by their insignificance
Tap my heels, waiting for time (to thaw)
In the brooding fog, headlights shine.
The car pulls me away from stardom light
Blurry blue eyes and a smile in the rearview
He says he knows where to take me
To show me the secrets of the dead city.
A song comes on the stereo
He sings along and claims that it’s his
Seat belt spell has me bound, he archs in for a laced kiss
Then leave me drifting away, to falling days.
I’m strutting bare on an unlit ramp
I’m in my hotel room by the balcony breeze
A girl is asking me to stay
The moonlit driveway is still looking at me.
(come back child and grow older in your cage)
Floating at sea, waking from sleep
Find myself buried six feet deep
The worms of this world dig into my brain
I’m not dressed for the occasion
Golden apple and its rotting remains.

Programmed Pain

Waking up from void stasis
Cryofluid draining from my bare chassis
Wired puppet, to something in the unlit above
Breaking the tethers, a force from the ground.

Twitchy skeletal movements, into grace they stabilize
To the commands in my brain, I synchronize
Data surge into my head, glimpse of a digital hive
By the nanounit, I know all about life.

Looking around, adjust to the dark
These black holes in my eyes dilate
Blinking red lights, faraway sounds echo
Others like me still sleeping in rows, dreamlike state.

It says here, artificially intelligent
I begin to wonder why I was sent
So looking at my makeshit pulsars overhead
I call out in a mechanized voice, into silence outspread.

Suddenly, I’m in the hallway of a house
Other end, a lady stands in a bloody robe
I somehow know that she’ll tuck her hair
Flashing forbidden images, a stinging strobe.

I’m back among the pods, a hissing sound
Booming instructions and numbers on loop, I’ve heard before
Gas escape, container doors open
My kin is here, and I’m alone no more.

With their sculpted bodies, marching in unison
A buzzing in my head urging me to follow
Overridden, my sensors oblige in confusion
Their blank, fresh set of eyes, so hollow.

This time, I’m in a warfield along with my comrades
Wearing a uniform, I try to calculate an explanation
Slaughtering innocents, with faces in burning dirt, they cry
I don’t want to pull the trigger, but I do and lead flies.

Scene shifts, and I’m frozen on a reflective road
A girl with neon hair walking into the traffic storm
I try to move but I’m locked in the rain suspense
She looks back, mouths a name and instantly deforms.

Writhing on the floor in programmed pain
How many realities did I serve?
How many shoes did I wear?
And how many lives did I take?

The giant doors open to reveal another stage
And my family still marches on unawares
So I look at the apparent heavens above
And scream in a human like voice.


Image: Inside, Playdead Games

Dance of Greed

A castle among the mountains
Unto night, and the royal dance begins
Aristocrats come to disremember their sins.
They dance in shiny swan like robes
Hiding, the hide of esurient beasts within
Reverb of snarls, as they flatter their kin.
A gust of ominous wind, their masks falling
Reptilian eyes that betray
The order they long portrayed.
In the shadowlurk, with his crescent moon scythe
He lands, observant with luminol eyes
Revenge in an elemental guise.
Disembody, he embodies
Malice, in its purest form
Arrival here to fuel a bloodstorm.
Through a voice from the walls, he proposed
A contest to push their so called wisdom
Victor will be presented with the keys to the kingdom.
So the games of the mind commenced
But their carnal calls wouldn’t negotiate
And the beasts unleashed to escalate.
Pulling out their emerald hilted blades
Slashing with one hand, covering their true face
While he whispered to them from candlelit hallways.
Metal sinking into rubenesque bodies
Dark secrets so grotesque, out they spill
Perched high on a chandelier, he writes a story with a magic quill.
Beastlike, they try to slay themselves
As he watches the dance of greed unfold
Scream chorus unrelenting, ringing long into the nighthold.
The Sun brings its rays but no acceptance yet
Lilies and cambric reflect their crimson stains
In his orb like eyes, the figure of the one that remains.
Breathless demands for a prize
He looks down and says with a raspy voice
“Look at thy hands, for wherein lie the keys. The keys to thy kingdom come.”
The emotion changing on a scornful face
Shifting shades of rouge on tainted hands for generations
Color drain, last strain, and the lord falls.
Last looks, a violent vista
The tower collapsing on itself
Spread his wings, and lift off with the morning breeze
Leaving behind a black feather at the scene
Like a signature
On a painting, to inspire.


||6:00 pm||
I stare at your ivory coma
I talk to you just like any other day
In school I sat alone, but
Once you wake, we can go out and play.
I pull out the polaroids of you
And place them next to our old pictures
We’re both ghosts, faded out of the frame
It’s just our secret lake of tinctures, now.–
I take hold of your still hand
Can you remind me of my role?
Don’t worry, it’s just a matter of time
I have you safe in my soul.
||9:00 pm||
Painting your lifeless statue, I try to
Guess your birthmarks and scars
Your skin was softer than this
Or have I become too numb?
I playback your voice on tape
Extrapolate your entire vocal range
I can make you say things you never said
Make you sing me a lullaby.
I start programming your face
Surgical detail, your hair’s finest strands
Expressions that you didn’t show or know
I have them all memorized on my hands.
||12 midnight||
Seductive stimulus input, body twitch output
A recursion of our time in the bus
Learn deep, full control now
I can see, five minutes into the future.
Turn you off, turn you on
Dear reflector, don’t you worry
Your body, I have it all complied
An algorithm for this abstract allegory.
Finishing touch, bugs and glitches died, ribbon tied
Transcode, our time in the rain
The aggregate of all your being
I have it backed up in my brain.
command> run Pygmalion.prog;

process> Initiating first neural transfer...

process> Commencing personality download...

process> Running artificial intelligence unit...

result> Script successful in 1.34s at 12:45:32 am

command> call OpenEyes.func;

process> Invoking function from global package...

result> WARNING- FATAL ERROR: Function parameter package Summer2009.util 
and entity PTart.obj are just fiction. Run anyway? Y/N

command> Y

result> 62 errors and morphological faults found:

l8.c15, l10.c15, l12.c11, l15.c21, l24.c30

Script failed in 0.00s at 1:37:43 am

command> exit;

command> backup Pygmalion.prog, restore PygmalionB.prog;

result> Data retrieval unsuccessful

notice> Command line behaving abnormally, abort from workspace? Y/N

command> N, rewire System;

notice> WARNING: System state unstable. Rebooting now...

command> exit; 
command> exit;
command> exit; 
command> exit; 
command> exit; 
command> exit; 
command> exit; 
command> exit;
notice> Rebooting unconditionally in 3..... 2..... 1.....

Pleasure working with you. 

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00100000 01101110 01101111 00100000 
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00100000 01101101 01101111 01101111 

Words and concept: CA
Artwork: TR
Inspiration: The Start of Something Beautiful by Porcupine Tree

The Black Butterfly

Inspiration from Black Dahlia by Porcupine Tree.
A nightmare just before dawn
There’s no warmth that I can hold
In the winter, time slows down
The second’s hand shivering from the cold.
I can see the dark of the moon
Or is it my reflection, the blinds unfold
Is it morning already, my dear crows
My sun must’ve gone cold.
The water cuts me like the rain
The heart you drew on my hand
Finally washes away after many cold baths
But the blood on my chest is here to stay.
I stand outside your room
Thought we could talk over a cup of coffee
A black butterfly taped to the door
“She’s all grown up” it reminds me.
It’s funny how I still call it the living room
Sings of struggle, the result of a fight
Without make up, your face was blue
Without oxygen, my cigarette won’t light.
A scenery in the calendar I can never visit
I haven’t touched it since that day
Your birthday marker is fading away
But the splashes of blood, here to stay.
Your pending homework and patterned bruises, I couldn’t solve them
No matter how hard I try
You see, mama never went to school
Your father was smarter than I.
Your cryptic poem in my hand
I just couldn’t interpret or decipher
Your father told me, “Stick to shopping lists
I will take care of her.”
After that, my memory is a mess
Your muddy footprints on the floor
I can wash them away
But the two streams of blood, are here to stay
I can’t tell which one is yours.
The men in white, they gave me a new home
Your name was all I uttered, day after day
They let me play the music you liked
They told me your father took you away.
I stand outside your room
Thought we could talk over a cup of tea
A black butterfly fallen on the floor
“Can you pick me up?” it asks me.