Sleepless Nights At Mission Control

Insomnia poured into a cup; no cream nor sugar added. Two slabs of bacon thinly sliced [sizzling] on the skillet [burning].

My house keeps an untidy yard, for winds and rains to play in; while memory props an open window for starry nights to stray in.

Pencil poised, I hold my course: and by mid-morning of the seventh day, I’ve steered my spaceship into the sun, rejoicing: “Oh rapture!”  I am done.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [-yours for clemency]

Beware The Jackalope, My Son

There was no warmth in all the world, on the night of Joffre's ride. An arctic breath, it blowed that night, keeping pace at Joffre's side. "Clippety clop!" sang anvile'd hooves, shaving ice off the baldwood floor; while stinging limbs went "Snipper snap!" gains't the cloak that Joffre wore.

There was no mirth in all the world, save for that of a toothless crone, whose laughter cackled up the path, with a prattle like rickety bones. "Clickety clack!" rang anvile'd hooves, trav'ling fast up the baldwood lane; while bitter winds went "Swisher swash!" past the crest of its fleeting mane.

The hoarfrost pinched young Joffre's ear, it needled him with pains; while foam, in fathoms, flailed about, and pelted him like rain. "Beware the Jackalope, my son." His father to him had told. "Do not engage it, if ye should meet, out there upon the road."

Cold was the night, and a pasty moon hung portent in the air. Faux lightning - split a tree in half, what missed them by a scare; and when the sulfur stench had cleared, no slack was in the rope; for before them - was a silhouette, of the fearsome Jackalope.

Joffre was a willful lad, who sought his father's praise. The Jackalope, in villain style, was filled with a malaise. Youth trumps fear, or so they say; and the moon was full and bright. He had a choice - spur his horse away, or stand his ground - and fight.

Joffre took his sword in hand, as thunder rend the sky; and all the world, it held its breath, then spilled a battle cry. The antlered hare, with rabid fang, leapt straight into the fray; and when the test of valor passed, the victor loped away.

Joffre has sprung into the saddle, one hand - grips a gory prize; and at a lope, he returns with it; hear ye not - his father's cries? "What have you done, my reckless son? Say you, the Jackalope is slain? I wish you had not done this thing. But this I cry in vain."

And soon, young Joffre, he partook of a more eventful ride; while, on a steed to match his own, his father fled at his side. And behind them chased a rumbling, [a tumbling], a stampede of vengeful hare. And since that night, the two of them, have left their stables bare.

So ride ye east, or ride ye west, let this lesson not be lost: should you slay a Jackalope, you'll never live to boast. So it is wise, if you should see one, to pretend it is not there; and instruct any of whom you mind, to avoid that devil hare.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for propriety]

The Hazards of Heavy Armor I

As Sir Winston lay among the reeds beside a brook, relaxing his armor, a serpent crept up beside his ear and whispered a dire warning that Death was approaching; Sir Winston turned his head, to inquire from whence it would come, and was smitten on the nose by the messenger.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for leniency]

The Hazards of heavy Armor II

Sir Winston was a dauntless knight, who bethought to steal his love; fair Catherine of the Chesterfields, who'd wed the count Levine; on Winston's wrist, a scarlet sash, she'd slipped him as a sign, sent his blood into a boil, and fevered up his mind.

He met her seven kinsmen, out on the open road; and ever onward spurred him his horse, the worse for them it bode. He met her seven brothers, down in the mountain pass; and ever onward spurred him his horse, they could no more, alas. He met the jealous bridegroom, one mile outside the gate; he slew him in a fit of rage. Then, why is he so late?

Fair Catherine paces the curtain wall, with many a sighing breath. She cannot know her gallant, has met a timely death; for Winston was a dauntless knight, who bethought to swim the moat; and though his horse prevailed, his armor - did not float.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for brashness]

The Hazards of heavy Armor III

Sir Winston joined a pilgrimage, but on that sweltering day, the sun it scorched his armor so, it melted him away. He dismounted by the river, to be rid of the steam. He laid aside his metal plates, and stepped into the stream. The merry wives of Windsor came, to do their daily scrubs; and when they left, they took away Winston's knightly dubs.

A welcome swim, and woe betide, a most unwelcome site. There was no armor could be had, to clothe this naked knight. They say he hid himself away, until nighttime befell; when so white was his gentry skin, he raised a sentry's yell. Thus Winston found himself pursued by half the village mass; but none was there could recognize his fair face for his ass.

"Oh where has Winston gone?" You ask. It is not for me to say; but unless he can conceal his shame, he'll not come back this way.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for legend]

An Invitation To The Hunt

I own, these woods are mine; for I who chase the hart between the rows of pine, hardwood, and laurel shrub, am lord and master of the hunt.

Come, be my guest tonight; sit beside me in the banquet hall; where food and drink is plentiful. Mead, sweet as any maidens lips, will I splash into your cup; and your plate, I will heap with the roast venison, and wild boar that I and my hounds felled in today's hunt.

There will be tender pheasant, plucked out of the heavens by my goshawk; and wild plums, gathered near the rivers edge. Like brothers, we will feast; and I will regale you with tales of past hunts; and after, when the gaiety has ended, you may choose of my servant girls and retire.

But be well rested come the cocks-crow, when I will rouse you early for the hunt. I have a feeling my friend, that tomorrow holds much promise. And my wall is ever in need of a new trophy.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours in fealty]

Haiku

Imagine a trout
Accustomed to anchovy
Choking on a fly

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for fiber]

The Lamp That Burns

Near day's end, I point my toes along an untamed path, where poetry falls in sheaves of autumn shed; where layer upon layer lies mulched in volumes of composting print, [archaic type] that has been atomizing along its underbelly since Adam; and I hear, and I feel the breath of the beast, and [beast] it certain is, for the forest floor is teeming with life.

Concealed, are [etchings] of the padded heel that has scampered by on its way to the watering hole. Nary a paw print lies exposed, whereby a prudent eye might guess at the beast, to the day [and hour]. Even if I should brush the leaves aside to reveal an impression in the soil, it would be too faint for the eye; for no footprint could survive the discombobulations of rain, and wind, mole and wren, and worm, [forever]. That was my thinking, but you [my friend] have changed my view. I have seen the crater left by your shoe; a hazard to any passersby, who might blindly come, and suffer to fall; and so I thought to fill it in, as I hitched my plow to the forest floor.

But, there is not earth enough, nor time to level your track; and I am resigned to wonder how deeply the impression goes, for your footprint clearly shows in each successive strata the moldboard turns; and so I pursue, via an unorthodox, albeit archaeological dig, the underlying crux; and I find your footprints [your signature] engraved in bedrock as old as a trilobite, though you passed this way as recently as today.

As I crawl forth, with your hieroglyphs indelibly etched into my psyche, I feel like a cherub, for the night is agleam with a twilight pastel; and I make it home on borrowed wings of inspiration.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for art]

Good Hector

Young Hector was a mighty hound, who worried hart and hare; he would often run the fox to ground, and hold at bay the bear.

Come evenings when the chase was done, he'd lie down at the hearth; while Master oiled his fowling piece, and praised him for his worth.

Them days were rich and golden ones, and Hector seized the years; to rear a pride of headstrong sons, with cotton in their ears.

With time, Hector let them have the stage, while he lissed from the porch; like one befitting of his age, who'd done passed on the torch.

Come evenings, when the day was done, he'd lie down at the hearth; and gaze on Masters fowling gun, and recall his former worth.

They'd no place in the chase nee more, he was accepting of the truth; for the gun had rust inside its bore, and Hector long of tooth.

Then came a night like none before, when brigands broke inside; they knocked Old Master to the floor; and kicked his dog beside.

Old Hector was a docile hound, who'd harm nor hart, nor hare; but him who swung his boot quick found, he thought he'd kicked a bear.

Quick as sparks amid a storm, frail Hector was no more; those infidels saw him transformed, into the hound of yore.

He chewed the kneecap off the first, then flew at cheek and chin; they bled, they fought, they cried, they cursed; still, he did not give in.

Till in the melee of the fight, one struck a lucky blow; who grasped a broken table leg, and laid old Hector low.

The thieves, retreating out the door, addressed old master thus; old man, of this you can be sure, next time we finish this.

Old Master's grasped his hunting horn, he's called his children home; and ere they've took one day to mourn, he's led them off to roam.

They've trailed the robbers to their roost, who marvel at the sounds; they think that Hell has been unloosed; but, it's just masters hounds.

Good Hector sired many a hound, who've worried hart and hare; they've often run the fox to ground, and held at bay the bear.

And, come evenings, when the chase is done, they circle round the hearth; with eyes on Master's fowling gun; let none ever test their worth.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for a strong defense]

Oh, The Injustice

I was one familiar with the night, and there was a rabbit circumnavigating on the spit; and a smell of hot brew wafting alongside of it. The gent was squatting, with a brace of beans he was eating out of a tin; stern face reflecting the fire; his broad shoulders to the night, fending off the cold stare of intruding eyes; nor did he indicate by his indifferent stance, that he had heard my stealthy approach [from behind]. I was not hungry, nor in need of company. What I required was a grubstake; and why need one borrow, when one can take.

I brought my club crashing down, but the stranger was one like myself; one accustomed to the night, with all its mystery and sound. I missed, but he drove 9 inches of steel between my ribs; and I spilled out onto the sand, while he wiped his blade on my tunic; and smiled with indifference down at me.

As I fled beyond his reach, I turned my pale eyes towards Hades; and the cobblestones grew ever warmer underneath my feet, till I was fidgeting on glowing coals outside the gate. Thats when I glanced down, to realize, the smiling bastard had deprived me of my shoes. .

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for justice]

An Ode To Stonehenge

Eagerness and apprehension are at war within me, as I stand here facing east; for I have yet to see a sunrise, and I hear it is a lovely sight for mortal eyes to feast on.

I have dreamed you, who parade in the light; you, that are motivated to do astounding feats, thru the awareness that your days, your hours, your seconds are numbered; whereas I, who have inherited no sundial, possess that commodity which you would acquire: immortality.

I have dreamt you, since the inception of the world; and in all that measure I have yet to see a sunrise. For this, I will endure thro all the long night, facing East.

Ask yourselves tomorrow, when a fledgling sun unveils this brotherhood of slumbering Giants, brought together covertly in the predawn, if a heart still beats beneath the rock. And in your quest for a deeper meaning, suffer your theologians to ponder if I dream.

Thrym Fiercest of Giants [-on the Plain of Vigrid]

©Thrym Fiercest of Giants † [-on the Plain of Vigrid]

Autumn Nights In Troll Camp

My appetite unappeased, I sit cross kneed before my fire cradling a bowl of calorie enriched gruel as the day has shortened into the dinner hour, when a truant of the troposphere sweeps unabashedly into camp and exhales with its colder effluvium into the flames; what grew unruly, and tickle my cauldron's trunk until it reacts with a concordant laughter, and a bubbling pabulum, whose parfume bodes me small appeal.

For my palate has grown callous from a homogenous diet of fattened poppies and bright eyed ambrosia, borne on the trays of intoxicated muses who only desire for another toke of a summertime weed, reaped in excess since the spring unleashed its sowers into the veldts.

But now, Fall is approaching; ushering in its newer talent; a renaissance master armed with brush and palette, who spatters indiscriminately; a gourmand bearing condiments, whereby a pinch of oregano, or a dash of coriander, will alter the alkalinity of the bards.

Whom now effuse a diverse flavor, whether rotating on the spit or composting in a stew; and this Troll will empty out his larder of the familiar, and refill it with a fresher store of wilder game; what will titillate his taste buds when the spoon is rescued from its simmering broth.

Autumn means longer nights for a Troll to stalk his game, and stoke the fires beneath kettles where percolate poets, whom I have found the most palatable. You should smile.

©- I am TROLL † [one lump, or two]

The Bone Collector

The strange old lady with thinning hair, decaying teeth, leathern face, and a throat that cackles with grating laughter, calls to her boney nag; who halts in stumbling stride, while she leaps down off the wagon with an ease akin to youth.

Beside herself, at finding another artifact disowned, she wrings her fingers and stomps her heels; then spins, and kisses her skinny nag square on its nose.

She has loaded me onto her cart, atop a heap of weathered bones; and the wagons wheels resume their circular motion, pressing parallel ruts into the parched earth of a dried out watering hole.

And while the horizon grows ever nearer, a lone carrion beetle scampers across the cracked and curling peat; doomed to die the same death as I.

The cargo jostles, and I rattle gainst the bones as loudly as they gainst I; while the old lady hums a tune I do not know. And I only care that I am leaving this plain; and am mighty grateful for the ride.

© I am Troll † [yours for direction]

What Catacombs Are These?

You up and coming scribes must envy me, for I once met my muse in persona e persona many many years ago.

From a heavy slumber, I was awakened by a voice hailing from the damp recesses of an inner chamber; a voice racked by consumption from decades of breathing the moldy air. It bid me slip into my night shoes and seek him out; and so, wit flickering candle held aloft I groped along narrow corridors, wondring at the calceous stones what crunched underfoot, half sank in the earthen floor. And I asked aloud, in a foolish manner:

"What catacombs are these?"

The reply when it came, overtook me like the wind rushing past a harpys perch on its swift flight to the sea.

"They are thine, and mine, and theirs."

More quickly it passed. It fled from me wit the rapid flight of a passing gale; growing more faint, till it was lost in the dankness; leaving me to wonder if I had heard a sound at all. And I clutched my nightgown tight against the palsy what was afflicting me timorous frame.

Before me, lay an archway whose oaken beams were supported by a portcullis of ancient iron, pitted by rust, and the few scars where size alone had quelled the rebellions of flesh, and flint, and bone; a portcullis whose skeleton ribs lay gripped in the bony knuckles of my imprisoned muse; a cadaverous gent who stared at me wit the zealousness of one driven mad by loneliness.

"Free me." He implored.

But I dared not without guessing the reason for his imprisonment. In truth, I was unnerved by the insanity what sported like matrimonial hawks behind his milky white eyen.

"I heard you speak these walls are mine, and thine, and theirs." I said. "Whom did you mean by they?"

He made no reply, for I could see he had nary a tongue; jes a gaping maw of horrid darkness where his waggin pole shoulda been; wit one scrawny arm outstretched, seeking alms.

Beyond him was the river, whose farthest bank lay cloaked in mist; but on the nearer shore one lone ferryman stood leaning gainst his pole, ignoring the pleas and the wailings of stranded travellers without silver. It did not take them long [those destitutes] to spy me standing outside the portcullis, and a horrid wail arose from the bowels of their unified throats as they poured forward like a plague of locusts to push against the unyielding barrier with scrawny arms outstretched.

And I, well I was dressed in pajamas what had no pockets to hold spare change; so I fled back up the corridor to the safety of my bedchamber where I curled upon a couch with a pillow clutched tightly around my head to shut out the wailings of the wretched; where my wife found me at dawn.

My wife appeared concerned over my inability to close my eyes and sleep, but she soon breathed easier for I adopted the habit of weighting down my eyelids with silver coin once I retire. The coin is gone when I awake, and I smile to think perhaps I've paid anothers ferry; and me, every night I sleep easier knowing I'll have silver wit me should I require passage across the river stiles before morning.

Meanwhile, my ol' woman just booked herself another cruise, and for the life of me I dunno where she gets the coin.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for bus fare]

The Rigors of a Smooth Crossing

Last night, I joined a friend on a hunt. It was odd me being invited along, knowing my friend as I do. He's one of them solitary fellows [a troubled soul you might say] who keeps his face in the shadows, and what has little to say; and less time for listning; a lot like me actually.

We rendezvoued by the river, where he'd crossed over by boat. We never exchanged a word betwixt us. He just passed over the leash to his hunting dog, and once it had put its nostrils to the ground the chase was on.

Fortunately, I gots strong legs and keeping pace with that mongrel once it picked up the blood trail was no easy thing; my lungs was aching inside of ten minutes, and when I glanced over at my friend he was gliding along like the wind carried him; but that's the way with them slender fellows, they are built for running.

The varmint we was atter, once it heard our hound baying back of it, took to running; and skairt varmints can run like a rock careening down a cliff face. I seen it look back over its shoulder a couple of times; and one time, when it got a decent peek at who it was was atter it, I heard it let out a pitiable cry of despair.

Atter that, it was running so fast we couldn't get within sighting distance of it again; so I let loose the hound and it had the varmint treed in short order. My friend give me a nudge, an so I stepped in and clubbed the poor bugger on its crown. It was the charitable thing to do, as that hound was chewing him up something terrible.

"That s what you git." I said. "For shying away from your appointments. It woulda gone softer on you if you'd fought it out like a real man; or even give up without so much as a struggle. Its yer own fault that we had to o sicked the dogs on you."

I throwed the trophy across my shoulder, and I carted it back to the boat with little labor lost. Once there, I knelt and skritched his dog behind its ears [all six of them]. My companion give me his best smile from behind that inpenetrable mask he wears, and lifted his hand in farewell as he pushed off with his pole; sending boat and cargo sliding smoothly into the mists enshrouding the river.

That he had been genuinely impressed by my prowess with oaken limb and rusted spike, I am assured; and while I lean on my prized possession and gaze fondly into the fire, I am anticipating our next hunt together. This time I will choose the quarry, and he will end the hunt. And as always, he will offer to make a trade of my club for his scythe. Little chance of that. I'm holding out for the three-headed dog.

© I am Troll † [yours for attrition]

Nov. 6th.

This night, whan star points map the purple scape, and moonshine lamps the water; whan windsong courts the willow tree, whose limber arms invite him, wit leafen skirts o feathered fronds baring knobby knees tha curtsy; whan glassy-eyed does wit spotted fawns wade shallow rills to deeply drink o the ripples in the moon;

Whan nature flows in harmony, but for eddies in the stream; be wary whan you stir aboot, for a ghostly fog eet rises; o'er piney wood, o'er sandy slope, born o marshy bog and bottom; like goosely down eet carries on, steady sans momentum.

Eet gains the fields, devouring crops, though eet barely stirrs a tassle; and when it meets the pasture gate, eet climbs above, eet creeps below, in pillow shapes o rapture; till it o'ertakes the unwitting kine who've bedded down to slumber.

Not satisfied by this fine feast, eet looks about for plunder; eet ascends the hill whar grass doth bend, and on towards a dwellin; eet gathers bout a earthen well, whar a gourd hangs fer dippin; downward doth it wildly slip to imbibe of drouthy blisses; then up again eet jettisons from hill to dome to city; devouring all in its path and ever so's the pity.

Until its found a city plat outside an open window, whan wit a wisp o curling lip eet mounts the sill, eet enters; wit frightful damp and chilly breath, distilled in expectation, eet takes a mighty inward pounce, in past the shallow curtain; eet then tippy-toes to whar you sit engaged, wit eyes on these words I've written; and not knowing it has come, you feel eets icy fingers; what startle you, and whan you turn....

"Yikes!"

You cannot flee, thar ees no time! For at this moment eet attacks; and bathes you in warm wishes.

[Happy Birthday sister dear.] Expressly sent from away down south by your beeg brother [.oegy]

Who should cease to be amazed at the things Nov. 6th unleashes.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours, for lack of a postage stamp]

The Greatest Show On Earth

Accompany me again to yesterday, as we gazed up with hungry eyes; our hearts brimming over with wonder, and our laughter soaring with the pigeons into the rafters, high above the teeming stage of cityscape and bower.

Hear that? A carnal scream rings out from somewhere above the blinding lights, but beneath the canopy of a carnival tent where multitudes have flocked en mass to see Barnum and Bailey debut its big show.

Yellow suited clowns bearing counterfeit smiles frolic on a wooden stage; with barking seals what can juggle colorful beach balls, while astride ridiculous unicycles. A show worthy the price of admission. But our youthful eyes are rudely drawn away by a tiny tear in the canopy, where forbidden stardust steals in.

And there, high above the stage, ensues a gripping struggle between two monumental stars. One dramatically balances on a tight rope; methodically positioning a foot with surgical precision; one digit before the other; inching along the taut strand to intercept the second, who has abandoned the trapeze and now flails like a kite with its tail lopped off; and can only be saved plummeting to the stage below by an overextension of blind faith.

A faith rewarded in finding a gossamer web suspended in open space, the two contenders will rendezvu via timepieces synchronized by the fates; and one will feast on the others failure, or success [depending on one's perspective].

And in the balance dangles our fragile innocence, destined to erode like cotton candy on the tongue; what can only be spared a spider's callous feeding, should a roosting pigeon lean out from the rafter and put out an unsuspecting eye.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for popcorn]

My Muse Would Have My Head On A Pike

When I was one she was the sun; her voice the wind where grasses bend; soft soothing sighs 'neath open skies; where prairies ring with song with wing; bird, butterflies, and lullabies.

Given I could, granted I would, turn back, retrace to that bright place; eight seasons long I lissed her song; and as she sang a whirlwind sprang; and danced away with her in play.

I guilty stand, let go her hand, to read a book beside a brook; and she with sighs, and tear stained eyes, felt cast away; its safe to say her spirit died; and no one cried.

At eighteen she came back to me, for just a while; and I should smile, the song she sang gave me a pang; in misery, my poetry was but a balm on days of calm.

A hurricane of wind and rain, we soared to heights; and oh the sights; but somewhere she abandoned me; once flung away, its safe to say my spirit sighed, and all but died.

Two score and one, I still am shunned; days are quiet, but come the night a tempest builds within the guilds; when I can hear a rising cheer; warhammers ring, as heralds sing.

She fiercely rides the ebbing tides, on armored steed at gale force speed; I know she comes and the hour looms; a tempest churns; my muse returns; and it may well be, she will trample me.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for a fast horse]

The Hazards of Heavy Armor IV

Sir Winston, he met a dragon once. Now what was that about? For today when Winston goes abroad, he takes another route.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for discretion]

Lochinvar

Ever strong in battle and ever fierce in war, there is no knight that can compare with brave young lochinvar; adored by the masses, and shielded by the fates, he spurs his winded courser wildly thru the palace gates.

As a clamor builds about him he dismounts before the stairs, then ascends into the ballroom like a nobleman with airs; resplendent in his armor and his tunic made of mail; with its clanking and its clatter like a loud alarum bell.

Past hoards of waiting ladies who would gladly take his sleeve; to draw him to their chambers and disallow him further leave; past his noble attache who from behind their facades scoff, as the phoenix burns to ash and the snake goes hissing off.

He then bows before the dragon; soon the two begin to whirl. You'll see he's kept his gauntlets on, like any genteel man or churl; resplendent is his armor and his tunic made of mail, with its clanking and its clatter like a loud alarum bell.

But he's off step to the music, of which the dragon doth adore; and she (so quick to anger) strips his armor to the floor. Pirouetting dancers trample on his cindered dust; and his armor [as well his vanity] has lost its sheen, to rust.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for a doormat]

So, What If I Do Sit Up Late At Night Writing Poetry?

By my troth, I own a mistress, and nights I steal from our bed to join her in a dimly lit antechamber of my own design. You would not know of it. For secrecy is the sole key what unlocks the heavy door; and she [my mistress] shackled in chains.

Sinful, as guilty pleasures be, and turbulent [our affair] but the key I hide elsewhere to keep it safe; and afterwards, I sleep feveredly in the arms of my devoted [she] who'd be the death of me [she] who has tried.

Last night, shortly after I had slumbered, a weight fell on my chest. I was alarmed to find I could not breathe; oxygen [the precious commodity] was unattainable, and my lungs began to "screeeeeam!" My eyes darted, and there was [she] laughing in my face. I could feel a hand covering my mouth [another] pinching my nose; shutting off the air.

And she, astraddle of my chest [her] whose knees were holding my arms pinned so I could not protest; nor grapple at the air to breeeeeathe it; was laughing heartily. She released my mouth [momentarily] only to press her own against it and kiss the very life from my lungs [long enduring] till a darkness loomed; and shadows leapt before my eyes.

At the final moment [mercifully] she ended the kiss, and I felt her heated breath at my ear: "now you know how I feel" she whispered, and she playfully nipped my earlobe before releasing me. Sloooowly, my tortured lungs healed themselves and I felt the pain of Caesar [a hundred flaming daggers] piercing my torso; till I lay gasping [breathing deeply] as blood dribbled down my chin from swollen lips [she had bitten].

Yes [by my troth] I own a mistress; and the time was our trysts were confined to late hours and dim candlelight. I was ashamed [of our union] so much so I swore her to secrecy. I bade her wear chains [of fidelity]. I kept her locked away in a room with no windows, and little air to breathe [that has changed] she has more freedom now.

Today we dined on the veranda, and this night [in my study]. As my pen scribes gainst yellowing parchment I can hear her footfalls on the carpeted floor. I feel her arms wrapping around me from behind; and her teeth roughly drawing color from my ear. In the early hours of the morning, I will fall asleep in her embrace; and while the scented candle flickers and wanes, my pen will drop loosely from my fingers; and I will yet have fretful dreams.

For [tis true] she has her freedom. But what of me?

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for devotion]

A Writers Bloc By Any Other Name

I could hear the waft of weeping from afar out in the cold, whar the darc ness lashed out wildly with its shod hooves in my soul. I was hongry, I was weary, I was far from friendly inns; but my eyes brimmed wit tears what anticipation sends.

I hoisted up my breechclout, then I hitched into my stride, as I scouted wit my hammers, and both me slanties ogle eyed; till soon I come upon heem, downcast - wit heem s head upon a bloc; just a sighing and a warbling, while the minutes helter skelter d [ticker tock] [ticker tock].

On the sand lay a parchment, and a pencil idly thrown; by a poet sans invention, what caused me smile down to the bone. For there s naught a stricter tariff enflicted by this troll out on his trek, than whan a bard sinks in depression, and bares heem s dainty neck.

A fire is ever needful of the kindling it is fed. And invention doesn t creep into an idle head. What gives me pause to wonder if any a morbid, wordless smith has ever rebounded from the shock of a cumbrous club a pounding down onto his writer s block.

And later ... as I dip into me cauldron, whar simmer s aplenty food for thought; I pause to reap ovation for the cure that I just wrought.

© I am Troll † [yours for inspiring]

Where The Quill Ink Flows

For a poet in need of inspiration there can be found uncharted talent inside the catacombs, where reside many a garroted muse without voice, imprisoned in limestone sarcophagi; whom have existed on both sides of the veil; and only require a backing off of the screw for their tongues to waggle and spit forth rhyme.

Catacombs, whose only access is the shallow archway what opens betwixt adjoining pages in volumes of ancient text. I journeyed there tonight by torchlight. For there abides abysmal darkness in those underground galleries of antiquated vaults; and the earthen floor is strewn with a hazard of skull and bone displaced by artifact seekers wit boorish manners; and one could trip and sprain a ankle or a hip; and lose ones way.

But I carefully routed into a chamber, whar by removing a ornate slab I uncovered the mummied carapace of a lady bejeweled in bedroom garb; but wit an asp clasped to her bosom; both equally preserved. Whan the torchlight fell across her countenance she opened her eyes, and the asp slithered off to conceal itself in the shadow.

[Marc Antony have you come]? she asked, wit a voice dry and hoary.

[Not he] I answered [but another].

[But I had hoped ...] she sighed. [However it matters little. If you are the measure of a man come stay the night].

[I cannot] I replied. [The nights here are far too long to sustain my mortal fiber].

[But you must. For I am Cleopatra; whom no man has denied].

[It is tempting] I said. [But I have come only to ask if you can spout poetry].

[What would I know of poetry? I am a paramour who possesses teachings of the flesh; come closer that I might whisper a tidbit in your ear].

[Well] I said, leaning close. [I could always use some tutelage in the doctrinates of love].

But instead of a whisper, she thrust the viper up at me; what sank its fangs deep into the flesh of my cheek.

[Now come to me lover] she screeched. While attempting to haul me into her sarcophagi.

[Not so fast]! I hollered back, as I fended off her advances.

[It was a good try madame, but you forget the viper has no venom. It is as empty as is your appeal is to me].

She was pouting like a spoiled debutante in the preface of a tantrum as I repositioned the lid on her tomb; but she cheered up some while later whan I returned from a neighboring crypt wit a sackful of bones taken from the stone coffin of a shortish gent, who reposed wit his one hand pushed back beneath the lapel of his uniform.

He spouted french, what I couldn't unnerstand a word of; but I found his demeanor insulting to my sensibilities, and thinking it a good joke, I bagged him and tossed sack and contents into the stone boudoir of the come-hither queen. [Conquer, or be conquered] I said. And I sealed them togither wit carefull attention to detail. [Sacre bleu]! I heard him cry. [Something has bitten me on the asp (sic)]. [Aha]! I chuckled. The sneaky frenchman could speak my tongue after all.

I pity the unsuspecting interloper who next intrudes on their nightlong amour. But as for me, I'd had excess of match making, and no luck in finding a muse to bring away with me; so I made my way alone back up thru the corridor and into the library whar I scribbled these few lines; and then I reshelved the volume I had referenced earlier, and blowing out the candle's flame, I retired to my bedchamber and slept benignly.

© I am Troll † [ever yours for relic hunting]

We All Have Those Days

Life, for all its mentoring, is my tormentor. For it holds me hostage in a cramped antechamber with no windows to gaze out of; whereby I might plot my escape. There are no gulls on the horizon; no panoramas; no sights; no sounds; no smells wafting in from the sea.

From where I sit [palely loitering] I can only imagine by smudging black ink on yellowing parchment as my candle burns [wavering] in the damp draft of my shallowed breathing.

My lungs afraid to [surge] surge against the light of the nurturing flames; held aloft by the torch bearers who bring my daily gruel; faceless custodians, whose ethereal silhouettes dance in agonizing pantomime on the gray walls of my prison.

As they pass, I hold my breath. If only I had the courage to live. And by living, die.

© I am Troll † [yours, for a porthole]

In Our Quest For The Holy Grail

Here lies the body of the undying bard, who pit his pen against the mighty sword; but hindered by bluntness, he was hewn down by a sharpened blade wielded by a brethren.

But fallen, a victim of his own folly, still he could not be erased; for the pencils eraser had been chewed away by his frenzied teeth, even in the throes of death.

Therefore, his scribbling remained on the assassin's blade, indelible beneath the oil of repeated cleanings. Rendering the sword hand unconquerable. For the runes caught the eye of any who confronted it.

And despite their training, despite their armor, despite any chain mail adorning their person, they became distracted briefly enough for his words to sink in.

Posthumously, we honor him by hammering that same sword into his place of interment as a monument personifying his altruism. And we wonder, why the earth reverberates with the shock of his anguished cry.

© I am Troll † [ever yours, for a sacrificial lamb]

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou

We'd met as rivals on the field; each leaning on his crested shield. Your horn sounded the battle cry. And I, with bloodlust in mine eye, replied with matching zest and zeal; convinced mine was the better skill.

Supporters rallied to our call; and some few, to see the mighty fall. Commerce improved, as mead halls filled with thirsty watchers from the field. Song was sung, and ballad was writ; as axe was swung, and shield was smit.

Blood was let, and limbs were hewn; till neither of us could rise alone. T'was then we found the field was bare. Page, nor courser, nor boon was there. The years had wearied them of the game; and none remained to cheer our fame.

There was only us two left of our gild, so we carried each other from the field. Blinded, maimed, and palsied bent, as foes we'd joined; as friends we went. But [do pardon] I must use the privy now. So um ... "oh brother ... where art thou?"

© I am Troll † [ever yours for a cudgeling]

Haiku

Adolescent minds
Whitewash the walls of learning
To spite their blindness

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for chalk]

Brother Troll On Politics

In a time past, as the council of elders sat around the ceremonial fire; passing the pipe of knowledge from one palsied hand to the next; they dipped their feathered quill into ink, and devised a charter; a set of laws [house rules] to be imposed on their children. It occurred to them, through life's experiences, that youth seldom heed the advice of their elders. And thus it was decided:

An intermediary was needed who might relay their edicts to the populace. But whom could they place at the podium to deliver their ultimatums who would not be associated with the aged council? Only a popular man of the people. Someone the masses themselves might elect as their champion. Indeed. A chosen leader.

And we will nominate him ourselves, mocked the council of aged chieftains; while smoke billowed about their shiny heads; and the pipe passed around once more.

We will select not one [they agreed] but two candidates. The populace will vote for their choice of the two; and in their limited comprehension they will believe the winner is their voice. Let the first be a dithering dunderhead, and the second a pompous ass. And either way the vote goes, we will have our say; and a good laugh at their expense.

Thus ended their parliamentary collusion; with lots of congratulatory bum slapping. And after, seated on marbled benches with garlands on their heads, they wrap towels about their portly selves; and squeeze imported grapes past balmy lips, whilst dangling manicured toes into steamy baths where young and sumptuous harlots bathe one another in exotic oils to rekindle in old men, memories of lost libido's.

© I am Troll † [yours for POTUS]

On God, Man, And The Cosmos

Long long ago, in a distant tyme, before God had contemplated man; Earth was one vast stage, with no props, nor music, nor aspiring actors.

Until one fateful night alongside a goat trail in the far Himalayas, a camel cricket farted [my apologies to the feint-hearted].

And the audience busted out in a laughter that has not abated to this day.

© I am Troll † [yours for art]

Dead In The Water

A fog is creeping across the page where stalks my pen [heavy] like a rain soaked garment draped over my mind; obscuring the skylight of mine eyes, till they [sore weary] beckon to retire and draw the shade.

My pen moves but the message [scrawled] is obscured in a swirling maelstrom of sleep-deprived dementia. And I [wide eyed] never blinking, ever thinking, grope my way till I overtake the crossing.

But in my haste I overshoot the railing and plunge into the brink, where I flounder like a derelict in a sea of never lifting fog; a ghostly scow whose prow [my pen] parts nothing.

© Brother Bard † [yours for impropriety]

Zee Archetype Of Poesy

You are zee clever one to know zee juice of zee apple dribbling down zee chin.

For eet ees zee waxen apple aglow wit zee pubescent blush of burgeoning flavors, fidgeting on zee branch just outside zee reach of unwashed fingers. As of yet unsoiled and a stranger to zee intrusive worm, what ees een all sense of zee word, zee epiphany, ergo...

zee archetype of poesy.

[Deeleecious] [sic] even in zee mouth of peegs.

© doktor Zeegmund ze Fruit Fly † (yours for McIntosh, or Granny Smith)

Averyhillarts

The Orphan Flo'er

Yesterday, while traipsing on a bluff, where the snow lay thin, I spied a bit of color drapped amongst the frozen canvas; not much mind ye, just a tad o' fluff; a tender flo'er in a plightful state; what hurt me eyene and pained me hammers wit her pitiful cries; so naked and cold amid the cruel elements.

I drapped down onto one knee and I shielded her wit me calloused hand against the wind; and for a moment I felt a warmth (a fire mind ye'), creeping into me fingers and crawling towards my heart. I smiled, and I didn't mind the pinch it caused; and the flo'er was never so safe as she was then; and I [never so content].

Endless hours I sat (unfatigued) and the flo'er, she smiled at me till the ice in me veins began to thaw; and wells sprang (artesian style) from both my eyne. We could have remained this way (indefinitely) had I only not heard the crunch of a heel against the snow, coming up behind me; startled, I closed my hand; and you were there, peering across my shoulder to see what I had found; alarmed on account of the flint in my eye, you shied away; but already the damage was done, and the flo'er crushed.

I unclasped my hand, as the cold returned to my fingers tips; and (certain I was alone) I plucked a bit of ice floe out of me eye. Then, with a gentleness unlike to me, I notched it out a resting place, where I spread its broken petals as best I could wit me frostbit fingers; and I covered her with snow, before moving on.

All is buried now; deep within the freezer that is my heart (awaiting the thaw).

©Geo. Lewis Avery † (yours for spontaneity and combustion)

Ittle Birdie

Ittle Birdie? Up on high. Why does your chortle mimic a cry? Now that summer wanes.

Ittle Birdie? Why do you sob? Have all your children took to wing? And failed to send you tidings.

Ittle Birdie? Why do you shudder? Is it that Autumn is in the air? Ushering Winter in.

Ittle Birdie? What frights thee? Is it colder days? Or longer nights? Or mere the seasons passing?

Ittle Birdie? What ails thee? Why do you look so glum? Have I in my outspokenness struck you both deaf and dumb?

Ittle Birdie? Why are you mute? Oh pardon me. I see it now. A cat has got your tongue. Tssk tssk [munch] [crunch] meow!!!

©Mephistopheles the Cat † [yours for peppered grouse and pigeons toes]

Call Me Dense

It was an unholy moon that waxed above the field of a bountiful harvest, bearing witness to a reaper whom had passed this way and gone. Ravens slumped heavy in the trees; jaundiced eyes drilling holes thru a creeping fog that fused chaff and stubble with the field; poxed birds, with bellies engorged on corpse of horse and man what lay rotting upon the plain. And myself, desiring artifacts and disowned resources, tactfully undressed my emotions and entered into this wasteland bridging Heaven and Hel. A forbidden zone of jackal and hyena where none who trespass, can emerge unscathed.

When .... came forth a hand, arising from the all-conquering fog, what grasped onto my trousers leg; the claw of one sorely wounded, who had long endured. I watched as mouth unhinged to reveal a wilted tongue. Whereby, I exhaled a lengthy breath; having been apprehensive moments before, that a horde of locust might boil forth and consume me.

"Are you him?" it asked.

I yielded to compassion and I knelt midway. "I am no one."

"Are you him?" it asked again. "And have you come for me."

"I have not come for you." I spoke with reassurance. "I seek the alliance of no man."

"Aye ... but then am I still a man?"

"As much a man as I." I said. "Even more so."

"Then turn back." he warned. "If you can see my humanity, then it is not too late for you. Turn back! Else he will rob you too."

"You speak of him." I said. "Who is this thief?"

"It is him who has no name." It answered. "And you must beware of his treachery. Early in the battle I fell wounded, and propped myself against this tree; keeping weapon at hand; at ease knowing I was destined for Odin's hall.

On the first night he came, bearing his shield maidens with him; who wept and tore their hair. Many of the fallen were carted away before morning. But not I who feigned death. And by day I hurled rocks at the carrion.

On the second night he came again, to walk among us. Offering water to the thirsty; slaying those who called out. But I held my tongue. And by day I hurled rocks at the carrion.

On the third night, again he knelt among us; listening for healthy hearts. Silencing with a dagger those he found. And by day I hurled rocks at the carrion.

On the fourth night I no longer thirsted; as all thru the eve he skulked among us, robbing corpses. And by day I found my strength was lacking. I could no longer hurl rocks at the carrion.

On the fifth night the ravens owned my eyes. But I could hear him moving among us. One time his face came so near, deigning to see if I breathed; I held my own. And by day the ravens peeled my face.

This is the ninth night my friend. And he is coming back for me. Even now I can hear his furtive tread. But what he wishes to rob I will no longer have to surrender; for I, Hagen, force it upon you; and whether it prove burden or bonus, it is now your load to bear.

His feeble hands then pushed me away. "Run! Flee, my comrade in arms! He is come. The devil has me in his grip. Ah, what I would give for eyes; to witness his distress when he discovers our deception."

And I stumbled back, ere I fled the way I had come; for that slain philanthropist had been elevated above the fog, as if by unseen hands that gripped onto the lapels of his vestment, and then discarded ungentle to one side.

Alas. That dark hour, I trust, can long await, when I will inherit his estate; and comes each new sun I oft will ask: "What thrust him on me with his hand?"

I know not the answer. And on those nights, when the many wrongs I have done I take to task, and heavily burthen I dare ask: "How many miles before I sleep? How many miles until I sleep?" I know not still.

Call me dense. This was a lifetime ago.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † (yours in perpetuity)

Stopping By Woods On A Winter Evening

Highnote today, is scrub oak and sandy farmland with intermittent home; and yet, this was a community once in more than name alone. It owned a church, a general store, a barber shop, a central road, well maintained for wagon wheel and shodden hoof; and families who worked the soil with hope and a promise for what the future held; who rallied when a neighbor called; but all that changed in the lapse of one fatal winter.

A century has come and gone: pandemic or epidemic, their story is archived beneath aging trees whose fibrous roots have a history of intimacy with rotting pine boards and nematodes.

I was here once before: long ago with my father, and still it has taken me most of an hour to find it again; for there remain no landmarks and few are left who know it exists at all. Though it lies only a short distance off the decrepit clay road in a thicket of scrubby oaks. Feral hogs have been rooting here for acorns I suppose; upsetting stones whose engravings have worn thin with the wear of sun and weather, and precursory tears.

I tread uneasily, for I do not know on whose mound I stand. Sparse markers lie overturned, buried beneath the mulching leaves in two parts, or incomplete. It pains me to imagine any man would have desecrated this place, where so many promising youths were interred within the lapse of a single year.

I kneel to examine five stone markers, faded but legible still: five siblings aligned So close together their shoulders rub. Aged from 19 to infantile: a sight familiar at many angles, but the majority have been disturbed. The poorest graves lie unmarked as wooden crosses have not endured, and like the cemetery itself, fell into gloom and disrepair with the final interment. For I have the feeling few could bring themselves to venture here again.

The trees have remained, sole custodians assigned to its care; au pairs of distinction who huddle in collusion on the twilight of each eve; their sentinel, an arboreal crow, what cocks its head with a baleful eye till, unfolding an ebon wing, it darts away beneath the canopy. The harshness of its cry shatters the gilded silence; I start.

I realize time has gotten away from me; for nighttime is eminent and daemon shadows have begun to appear; to pirouette atop the rotting leaves. Is that the laughter of children I hear? Fancied voices: conversing in whispers so muffled that I cannot catch the words. The temperature is dropping rapidly. An icy breeze gropes at my cuff and collar; it toys at the hairs on the nape of my neck. Suddenly, I know that I am intruding here.

I shiver, as a bugbear treks down my spine, running panicked with cold naked feet touching my skin. I draw my windbreaker close and hurry off in the direction of the road; grown apprehensive and telling myself I am silly to be feeling uneasy; but relieved to reach my truck, I lock the doors before I drive away; I only begin to relax once I have left the oak bottom behind me and have turned onto the blacktop towards home. It is not a place to visit by oneself.

I know of a half dozen former home sites on my small and modest acreage alone; where the plow overturns remnants of a community once tightly knit; a community whose bell knolled with the flu pandemic of 1918.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † (yours in good faith)

Haiku

The first cardinal
[Of Spring] brings color to my lawn
And life to my cat

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for chalk]

What If?

What if....

"See brother? I have created life amidst all this tranquility."

"Where?"

"Just over there, third dust bunny from the lamppost."

"Well, I be hanged! Why'd you go and do a fool thing like that for, sister?"

"I guess I was feelin' mean, brother."

"He looks happy. That isn't like you, sister."

"Whatever do you mean?"

"If you wanted him to truly suffer, you'd have given him a sister."

"Ah, but I did even better, little brother. I gave him a wife."

"Curses! You are a bain on a carefree existence. Did you know that, sister?"

"Aye, but what fun would you have without me, little brother?"

"None, I guess. But, sis, now that you have created man, just what will you do with him?"

"I dunno. But in the meantime I can play dressup with him, and invite him to tea parties, and play house with him; and you can build vast armies of him and practice wargames. You can also pretend to be his God, his weather man, and his Satan."

"And when we have tired of playing with him, I can show daddy what I have done."

"No. You cannot do that. Don't you recall what happened the last time ...with the dinosaurs?"

"Yes. Daddy tripped on them ... and tumbled down the Milky Way ... and broke Mama's favorite constellation."

"... and after, he made us promise to always clean up our room."

"... and not leave our toys lying about."

"... else he'd take them away from us."

"Yeah...I'd hate to make daddy mad again. He is scary when he gets angry. I suppose we should get rid of them ourselves, before daddy gets home."

"Won't you let me do it, sister? I can annihilate them just like daddy did the dinosaur. Teeheehee."

"This is going to be so cool! [evil grin]"

bewilderment [STOMP] confusion [STOMP] panic [STOMP] silence

....no. Perhaps. I was mistaken. It was nothing [nothing at all].

©Geo. Lewis Avery † (yours until armageddon)

Yours For The Proverbial Purging

At times, when I am a sitting on the proverbial throne of poetic disillusionment, whereby all creativity what might be spawned from my fractured soulspice has sank, to become like rotting leaves, composting beneath the shimmering surface of a stagnant pond; I smile, knowing ere all is abandoned, I can become a god [if only in fancy].

For, with a simple motion of my hand, I can conjure up a maelstrom; a cataclysmic vortex, whereby the refuse what pollutes this genteel oasis beneath these towering palms, is flushed down the proverbial pipes; and come nightfall, a new moon will announce the arrival of a caravan; and a thirsty camel kneels down to drink.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † (yours for the proverbial purging)

A Morally Inadequate Fable

Once on a tyme, out on the plain, I met a man while it did snow; and then, another day in rain, this man and I we met again; both tymes he waved and yelled, "Halloo ... ! Get thee away from me, you trowe. Fly back with that foul wind what blew. Or with me point I'll run ye thru."

A third day far out on the ice, I was nearby when he fell through; I watched him plunge and bob up twice. But I pulled him free ere he'd sank three. I labored with him by the heel, until we'd reached my far chateau. Once there, I chased away his chill, then kindly I spoke to show good will:

"I've helped ye as good neighbors do. Therefore I will ask for I must know. Do you see me as I see you?" He fain did smile. "Indeed I do." With that, I frowned, and I said "Oh well! This then, should come as no great blow."

I clobbered him atop his shell, and I promptly ate him, [toof and nail].

©-I am Troll † (yours for a chastising)

Little Bo Peep And The Troll In The Street

Tradition dictates that on all hallows eve I will build a hefty fire underneath me cauldron, and enter suburbia in search of victuals; where abides a length of hedgerow adjoining one domestile to its neighbor; and a good swath of darkened road, where a Troll can scout for pilgrims laden with wares.

Undisguised I will overtake them with me long strides; not unlike the friendly hail of a pirate sloop when a fat merchant waddles past the horn, carrying water way up past its breeches; and just in case they be affrighted by my forward nature I puts them at ease with a friendly [good evening].

And not until we've walked a ways together in mutual brotherhood, and requited acceptance do I lean in close; whereby my halitosis peels the enamel off their eyeballs, and tightens their laryngial muscles, like a strong ammonia; near enough so as there is no mistaking the mischief that's in my eye. And I will ask:

"How fast can you run? I bet I can run faster?" And they will always scream like little girls.

But one midsummers moon in the aftermath of an eventful evening of waylaying tourists, what left me grubsack fearful of busting its tether, where only an occasional straggler remained on the streets who was scarcely worthy the bother; I spied a bonny little miss bo peep coming a traipsing over the rise, struggling with a heavy sack of confections what she was dragging with an efficiency unmatched by anyone of her petite stature.

Right down the center span she approached, and as I awaited her arrival I got giddy on the brain. "Good evening." I greeted, and I doffed my imaginary hat and bowed so low my forehead brushed the pavement.

"A good evening indeed," said she. "Much better than last month even."

"How so?" I asked.

"Its simple mathematics." She answered.

"I'm glad to hear it." I said. "Might a gentleman assist a lady with her luggage?"

"But of course. It is heavy and I live a long way yet."

My heart skipped a beat once I'd hefted her load for it was heavier than my own. But I am a Troll and it was no burden at all.

Not until we'd walked a ways together in mutual brotherhood and requited acceptance did little miss bo peep motion me to lean in close whereby I could glean past the bonnet and superficial makeup; near enough so's there was no mistaking the mischief in her eye, and she asked: "How fast can you run? I bet I can run faster."

I shrieked like a little girl.

Cause little miss bo peep was no child midget at all but a bonified grandmother wearing running shoes laced up past her ankles.

I might have gotten away but she hooked me by the throat with a shephards crook just when I had begun to think I had the chase won. And by this time I was so out of breath I couldn't struggle as I was dragged back to where she untied my grubsack and let my hard earned acquisitions loose; what filed past one by one to give me disdainful looks and a succession of painful kicks to me shins. Then grandma unlaced her own overlarge grubsack and shoved me inside, where I was horrified to discover I was not alone. Grandmother was a veritable TROLL menace.

Lissen childrun if you suspect your granmither is keeping a TROLL locked in her cupboard I appeal to you, swipe the keys and release me and I will tell you where I've stashed all the candied confections from those many years of trolling suburbia on Halloween nights.

[....atterwards we ll have supper togither] teeheehee.

For [after all] © I am TROLL † (yours for a proven granmuther repellant)

Mind Ye ... That's My Kettle

The other night camp was settled, and I was planning supper. The stones had been laid in a circle, and the fire was courting the cauldron where a soup was gently baubling [gurgling] for those of ye fussy about grammer. Gurgling like a pleasant meadowbrook; and assailing the air with a most pleasing smell.

I ain t no talented chef, but I can throw a meal together according to the dictates of my belly, and to the polish of my tongue. I poked in my finger [for a taste see] and right away I knowed it lacked a essential ingredient; and if I ain't a happy cook I ain't a happy diner.

Cussing my luck, I slipped off into the darkness to gather some sage, or rosemary, or whatever other aromatic fern I might encounter, and [sure enough] after moseying about for half an hour I started back to camp with a fistful of leaves I'd scalped from the landscape; when to my amazement, another gent was leaning above my cauldron [his imposing nostrils] inhaling the rising steam; and him with a wolfish gleam in his eye.

As my jaw dropped, this insurgent reached into his pocket and fetched out a wooden spoon with which he began to taste the soup [my soup]. He then smacked his lips together [a time or two] all the while shakin' his head in disapproval.

I smiled menacingly, while scouting for a stick to toss at the varmint, and maybe scare it away from my vittles. The nerve [of that hyena] sneaking into my camp; helping himself to my soup; and it not proper seasoned.

The worst was yet to come, for this all assumin' gent pulled out a pouch containing assundrous herbs and garnish; and with an air of audacity [probably appropriated from some eastern culinary institute of higher learning] he commenced to flavoring my supper to his own personal taste. I dropped my stick. "Oh no you don't!" I hollered, as I grabbed him by the soles of his feet and toppled him into the boiling concoction. Sure, he bobbed up for air a time or two, but I pushed him back under wit my finger till he'd softened down a mite.

And some time later, as I sopped a sloppy biscuit along the greasy bottom of that cauldron I slapped me unemployed hand gainst my engorged stomach and belched so loud the clouds burst; and as the falling rain stung at me eye, I was moved to oratory; an oratory in whose grand invocation I forgave that presumptuous gent for his transgreshun's against me. And I even allowed him his due, for makin my meal complete.

Glancing over at the pile of bones I'd done cracked with me toof, and picked clean of taller, and suckled free of marrow, before tossing onto the scrap heap, my eye delayed upon the skull of that unfortunate; and I'll swear before my granmuther, it was grinning from ear 'ole to ear 'ole.

© I am TROLL † (yours for artistic expression)

More Holiday Mayhem

I jes cain't figger some folks atall.

It all began on a night last year, and I had jes recent retired to the interior o my winter resort, hopin to get a bit o shuteye; wit me big feet showin frum under a heavy wool blanket what was tucked up unner my chin lobes.

The night air was bitter tastin, and the cold had it's teeth bared; eager to bite at any parts exposed; but fortunate for me my feet was calloused, and a trite untasty besides, so I smiled in spite of meself at keeping the toothy mongrel at bay.

I had no more than shet me eyes when my ear hammers got tripped by the footfalls of a home invader what reeked of unnatural sin and its variegated buggeries. He was a portly gent ,this would be assailant, not the sort one would attribute to being a burglar; and he was wearing the gayest outfit ever tailored to a man. I' m assuming he'd wriggled in thru the chimney flue, as I'd earlier wedged a enormous stone up against my cavern house door to keep out undesirables such as kirby vacuum cleaner salesmen, and hare krishnas, and them friendly folks from peta.

Anyhoo, I lay as still as King Tutankhamen sealed in his sarcophagus alongside his pet scarab neffereatme, while this intruder surveyed the room wondering maybe if I was feigning sleep. Not knowing TROLLs can see quite well in the dark; that being where TROLLs mainly dwell; away out o the sunlight.

Anyhoo, he reached inside a sack he was carrying, what most likely housed his robbery tools, and fetched out a big ole stick what was concealed in painted paper, wit a bright ribbon on it besides. His intentions was obvious, for he gripped it in both hands, and he tippy toed wit it over in my general direction; and I heard him chuckling all the while. "Ho ho ho ho ho." and....

You should have seen the shocked expression on his face when I sprung up offa me cot an clobbered him wit his own stick. I stuffed him back up the chimney flue, where he got wedged tighter than last holidays fruit cake; which was a handy thing, as he blocked the draft o cold air coming thru my chimney's shaft. I figgered he oughta keep till morning anyhoo.

I'd hoped to retire back to bed but I smelled venison on the air and it made me mouth water, so I rolled the stone a mite to one side and peeked out. Lo and behold, there was a small troop of reindeer chomping on the ivy outside my cave house door, and one tiny little fellow wearing green tights who run off into the woods when he seen me ogling.

Seeing as the reindeer was haltered, it waren't difficult to round them up and reduce them to a pile o bones scattered aboot my cave floor; and then to behead an hour fer my meal to settle so's I wouldna sleep on a full stomach, I set off after that getaway driver who'd fled off into the woods. It waren't no difficult task as he had short legs and the forest was deep, as was the mud in the creek bottom where he'd got hisself mired.

I fetched him back home where I rolled him in cornmeal and dropped him into a pot o brie; and that s when I remembered aboot the big guy jammed in my chimney's pipe. I dunno how he managed it, but he had wriggled himself outa that chimney and escaped.

Fortunate for him it was past my bedtime; and besides, I'd done et my main course for the night; so I give the fellar a reprieve. I figgered if he managed to make it outa the forest alive he'd perhaps give up his life of crime and stay outa other folks's chimneys in the future.

I don't wanna ever hear it said TROLL has not done anything to benefit society, aside from trimming the outskirts o the population; for I singlehandedly broke up one o the most profitable crime operations in the syndicated underworld. You can't imagine the volume of stolen loot I fetched from the sack that big guy was a toting; along with a list cattle-logging the names and addresses of all the former owners o the stolen booty.

A feller just don't unnerstand the emotional impact o a crime until it is directed at him, and I gotsa tell ya, being the victim of a burglar has made me a reformed TROLL. I have made it my mission in life to return all the stolen loot to it s rightful owners. I don't anticipate no praise. Just the deeds themself will be amends enuff fer all the cruelties I have inflicted in my day.

I unnerstand, it s gunna be difficult fer people to grasp my good intentions. The moment they spy me thru the peephole, jest a standin outside their front door, grinning and wearing a little green uniform what I peeled offen the leetle man; its kinda tight in the wrong places, but it makes me voice sound a mite less gruff; and some have said the site o me in this getup is disarming in itself.

So, gentle citizen, if I chance to come a callin doncha sic the dogs on me jest yet, fer I got sumthin for ya in the sack I'm lugging about; and a bit o encouraging news to boot. Doncha worry about that organized crime syndicate affecting your holidays this coming season, cuz I am the self appointed nighttime watch. I am ever vigilant, ever faithful to my word .

...and the word is,

© I am TROLL † (gotcha!)

A Emily Dickinson She Ain't

One evening I was stirring this calorie enriched concoction with its common assortment of expertly cubed protein chunks what was simmering in a cauldron, when my brother Bert came lumbering into camp with this skinny gal woman chucked across his shoulder.

"What is this?" I said to Bert by way of inquiry.

"Why it's my half o supper." Insisted Bert.

"Not likely." I snipped. "I dropped two unsavory thralls and a portly politician in the sauce and all you have to offer is one scrawny little woman child. Go and beg your meals elsewhere and leave me to mine dear brother."

"You don't see the whole picture." Argued Bert. "Soup just isn't soup without a pinch o salt; and this un is one salty dame. As proof by demonstration I chucked her across my left shoulder coming into camp just to ward off evil spirits what might be inclined to follow us home. And glance you out there brother? My back trail is clear."

"I acknowledge you might be correct." I said, whilst diving my forefinger in the broth as an investigative measure. "But what this soup needs is a seasoned poet to give it an earthier, more malodorous flavor."

"She's a regular poet laureate." Asserted Bert.

"You don t say?" I smiled.

"For certain. She's a reg'lar Emily Dickinson." Affirmed he.

"Well then, take the gag out of her mouth and allow us hear the oregano speak." I urged.

He did. But I wish now he hadn't. Such violent and vulgar vowels assaulted my earn that I had to cover them with both my big hands.

"She has a passion alright." I hollered at Bert, so as to be heard above the din. "But a Emily Dickinson she ain't. Not with that abrasive grammar."

"Its them newfangled poets of today." Bert yelled back at me. "They feel they must full scale assault the audience' eardrums and native sensitivities just to attract its attention; and then perchance the assemblage will grow numb from the aftershocks and submit to the abuse."

"Well, put a plug in that smoking volcano Bert before she starts spouting molten lava, and go back out in the brush and rustle me up a skunk cabbage to substitute in her place."

"What'll I do with her?" Asked Bert, pointing to the red faced wildcat of a wee woman child, tightly bound and gagged, but struggling heatedly with a bit o burlap rucksack jabbed betwixt her clenched teeth.

"Take her off somewhere and turn her loose. But be sure you blindfold her so she can't find her way back and spoil our digestion."

- Some hours later Bert arrived back at camp without a skunk cabbage, which didn't matter no how because I'd done eaten hours before, and what little foodstuff was left was cold. Bert was limping, as if in great pain, and was missing a front tooth, and three molars; and he had one eye swollen shut.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

"It was that skinny gal woman what done it. She swallowed the gag, gnawed thru the tethers, and before I was aware she'd turned on me and had me wrestled on the ground and put into a full nelson. She said she'd be hanged if she was going to be replaced by a skunk cabbage. And she demanded that I bring her back to camp just to prove to you what a splendid addition she'd make to your soup, brother."

"Well I'd go hungry before I'd make you endure the bitterness of that woman's wrath, and I told her so. And she near twisted my leg off till I cried 'Uncle' and promised I'd guide her back here to camp. But once she'd allowed me to my feet I broke and run. She was quicker. And she caught me by the big toe and held on to it, even after I yanked loose and got free. Still she like to of caught me three times before she give up the chase. And I am not at all too sure that she has."

And yes. Bert was missing a big hairy toe. She'd yanked it clean off of his foot.

"Just to be safe we'd better move camp." I says. A feat we managed barely in the nick of time, for as we moved away we could hear her yelling from our delinquent campsite such obscenities as would give a hydrophobic wolf malaria.

We failed to make camp again that night for we kept moving. And to be totally truthful we don't feel safe yet. Bert is standing lookout over on a adjacent knoll tonight, while I am making do with a cold camp. I can only assume, that with time, she will forget.

Yeah. When pigs fly.

© I am TROLL † (Yours for scruples)

Grandma's Cooking

Good evening dinner guests [I bow genteelly]. I am the affable Troll and I will be at your disposal on this new year's gathering. Your grandma is in the kitchen at the present, preoccupied - as your inquisitive senses can confirm, by the tantalizing aromas of her trademark pastries,and assorted puddings and pies wafting from therein; their precocious airs intermingling with homemade jams and jellies, and potted roasts, and fresh potpourris; but keep in mind that the kitchen is off limits while grandmother is cooking.

Therefore, as the oven renditions and the kettle boils a sevenly soliloquy I would share some culinary hubris to pass the hour until the bone-crackling and marrow suckling begins. Now I ain't one for beating about the bush when it comes to matters of singular taste [intellectual or otherwise palatably inclined] or maybe I am - come to think of it. I have flushed a fattened prairie chicken or a wild harefrom a wicker thorn bush with a stout stick in my day and was rewarded by a tasty hasenpfeffer or garlic'ed sage hen from the rebounding royalties; and trust me [wink] I ain't no slouch at procuring and cooking festivals of salivary indulgence, for when it comes to outright gourmand-acity I rank up there with that notable Falstaff himself.

But a grandma now, that is the rarest commodity. A grandmother cooks with no compeer. A simple meal becomes a cornucopia at grandma's house; and the kitchen atmosphere inflates the appetitial nares like no other. Ah neighbor, if you could only peruse my spiral bound encyclopedia of grandmother recipes, its richness would astonish you beyond limits.

Indeed, I do not understand why there isn't one day set aside just to honor them sweet old ladies. I love them. I confessedly do. And it brings a sappy tear to my eye every time I invite myself to a honest table and ply my fork to a grandma's roast; or a grandma's potted pie; or sugared yams; but do forgive me.

I tend to get overly dramatic at sich familial gatherings as this. What say we go now in single file and investigate how grandma is coming along in the kitchen with that new recipe of mine. Who knows, but with so many dinner guests it might just be that she will leave ample room for dessert.

TROLL [removes hat and bows even more genteelly than before]

"No! No ! After you my good man." [prods retreating guest with fork].

© I am TROLL † (Yours for scruples)

The Ant Farm

Beneath a glass dome the ants colonize; whose diminutive cries plead for moisture. Palms are cupped before chins, mouthing entreaties. Mandibles fissure. Vessels rupture. Eyes bleed. Tongues swell. And throats desiccate.

As shriveled corpses are dragged to the burial mound an urgent appeal inquiring of their god's design is ignored. For the glass is an interference, outside of which static crackles.

Meanwhile their caretaker chews on a saltine; and rewards them with its crumbs.

© Geo. Lewis Avery † (Yours for redundancy)

Sleep Is Essential For Sensible Writing

As an artist one should exercise caution when soliciting the hire of a muse. For one never knows whether Lizzy Bordon might have, in the afterlife, discovered poetry to be an clandestine outlet for channeling her sociopathic tendencies.

Whereby she awaits the stroke of midnight, whan she fists the scribes pencil to bestow on his eyeball forty jabs; and then to even up the score, she gives the other forty more.

Ipso facto, ones journey then becomes parallel to that of a horse with blinders on. And will end at the glue factory, peremptory.

© I am Troll † (Yours till they cure insomnia)

The Cost Of Attrition

T other night wit torch in hand, I ventured down into the catacombs to consult with my muse, whom had become tardy in his contractual correspondence from the crypt. There was no light burning in his chamber, and not even a scarab was moving about. In fact, the dust lay so long undisturbed atop his work station it afforded no evidence of activity.

The candle on the desk had expired beyond its usefulness, and the inkwell whar reclined a writers quill had dried completely. What parchment thar was was become so brittle it crumbled like ashe. As I lifted it to read, the indelible scribblings disintegrated before my eyes.

The only disturbance of the earthen floor in manner of tracks whar my own entering, and no others leaving; what perplexed me to no limits. For how did he exit the chamber without making an impression in the fine textured soil?

But if he did not leave, and was still here, then whar? I asked myself as I scritched at the crawling rash, newly born on my naked ankles; what was spreading like a plague of fleas, upwards beneath my night robe; which, as fact presents itself, it was fleas; centuries in hibernation emerging from the sand at my feet; and more voracious than locusts; ascending upon me in a black death.

And I was become hopelessly consumed in a suffocating cloud of insanity, from whar I could not escape; till with a climactic, blood curdling scream I was sucked dry to the marrow, and came unglued; to expend as a thin layer of ashe that drifted throughout the chamber.

Until with my last sentient thought, as atom parted way with atom, to settle atom among unfamiliar atom, I thought how deserved was my attrition; that I should at last become one with my muse.

© I am Troll † (on hiatus)

My Muse Overwinters In Florida

Alas! My spirited muse. She is silenced. Having succumbed to exposure on some distant tundra, whar confederate snow and uncooperative ice conceal her ossuary; entombed now within some glacier, whar borealic winds cannot breach.

Only Spring, with its thaw can wash color back into those cheeks. But until that tyme, she is lost to me. I know this. And still I cannot grieve.

I seek out my cot [i must] what lies in me drafty chamber; whar a welcome dampness threatens consumption, and the cold bites like naked springs digging into the flesh.

Here I will suffer the winter away, in wakeful hibernation until the Spring brings with it a herald; what will alight on my balustrade wit a throaty warble, and rouse me from my despair.

But until then, darc ness consoles me. I fall prone across my bunk, and do not move again the whole winter thru; though my feet hang precariously over the edge.

© Brother Bard † (yours to pity)

Bump And Grind

The madwoman, she has rid away. Trailing dust amid a landscape of bleached bone, helmet, cloven skull, and scimitars too new for rust.

Brows pinched, I kneel on bended knee nearby to some poor blokes polished dome. Know him? Perhaps. Once on a tyme. But tomorrow a mouse will call it home.

A splendid cranium I think, One a poet must have borne. But whose countenance now betrays the horrors unveiled when the unwelcomed worm infiltrated his sedentary mind; devouring the last vestibule of sentient thought. Ah me! Into that void, such things it yelled!

As I loiter, my gaze goes farther a field; to where a skulking jackal looks to rob, seeking souvenirs of dead poets. And the old wound, the one that never heals, begins to throb. I am alone.

But no ....

Pilgrims will be returning [from mecca]. Their wagons wheels making music in kind; plodding [ever so] steadily. They will come. They will always come. I can hear them [even now]. [Bump and Grind] bump and grind. Whereas I?

I will break camp, and move on to a quieter clime.

© I am Troll † (later, pilgrim)

Ahem! Does A Bear...?

Thar once was an ordinary man, but an ambitious man; who would be laureate. Indeed he would settle for nothing less. And so, with this one goal in mind he hiked into the wilderness to be tutored by that stern mother whom begat the undisputed masters. But all he ever came close to was the spoor of her passing,

Spring had emerged in the imprints of her heel; clovers nudged one another with painted heads. Trekking on into gossamer summer meadows of lark, black eyed susan and flutterbies, robin's nests, gentle rains, and droning bees, he arrived on a lea laden with ambrosia. But she had once again gone ahead of him.

So without pause, he followed farther afield; to where crisp autumnal leaves soon conveyed to him the echoes of her foots fall up ahead. It was then he was aware of a stiffness in his knees. But stark trees pointed the way, and sensing he was nearing the end of his quest he hastened to gain ground.

Heartened anew, the landscape flew past him like the view from a runaway caboose; leaping from setting sun to waxing moon, until quite unexpectedly, and with a reckless abandon, he plowed into her heels; wharby she turned upon her pursuer to demand an explanation. And him not attired for her cold demeanor, was influenza'd to the bone whan she turned her wintry wrath upon him.

Her frosty ire fell bitter cold, and his own breath caught against the grate of his unmatched ribs, and clung like a tattered fabric snagged upon a protruding nail amid an arctic gale. And him with flint and in dire need of warmth, possessed all the essentials of a fire; wooden pencils, and leafy parchments; but would deign not part with either lest misuse them. So he forbore his discomfort dutifully, even as frostbite crept into his fingers and he sensed the shadow of death's sickle slicing thru the air; arching for his neckbone.

It was in that final synaptic burst that his creativity burned its brightest, and he had a monumental epiphany to ask the allmother a momentous question; a query that has been posed for millennia by man without satisfactory closure.

This was the moment our poet had prepared for. He "ahem'd" and the sickle hung ominously. Knuckles cracked with the efficacy of dead twigs as frozen joints worked free from their constraints; and the readied pencil commenced to scribe his greatest composition. Quite soon, the wise mothers curt response would be an endowment to his proteges.

Even after his eyes had glazed over, the pencil labored on until with a grand flourish it stalled; while our laureate, with frozen smile and milky blue eyen, ogled his masterpiece from beyond the veil. The allmother sheathed her gory blade and took up the manuscript to read. Then she scribbled her reply, and stooping tenderly she wrapped him in a white shroud and kissed his pale brow in parting.

Some short weeks after she had gone, a wakeful bear discovered him thawing; wharby it assimilated him in his entirety.

Meanwhile, on the grand cinema's wide screen, the closing credits continue to roll [unconcernedly] even as in the foreground a black bear is seen scrambling from a dense thicket of woods where it had been fervently grunting behind a low shrub. As the bear bounds away in pursuit of a larder bound honeybee, a jaundiced ribbon of parchment clings stubbornly to its heel. Briefly glimpsed, and barely legible on this aggrieved manuscript are the smudged words:

YES IT DOES!

Written in a graceful hand. And the question was... ?

© I am Troll † (yours for double ply)

On The Eve Of My Execution

Scoff if you will at what I am about to intone, but way far aback in the red-hot underbelly of dawn I can recount an overcast day when Heaven breached and spilled me out, naked, wide-eyed and bawling. A baby, I came forth sprawling on limbs too weak to support me.

But mine birth cry was no painful cry; nor a piteous cry; nor a lament of sorrow. But a joyous cry of discovery, exploding from lungs that had not mastered sound.

From the onset I have been in awe of the transformations I have experienced; and all this alien world has been manna to mine eye; and I, a thirsty sponge, have absorbed it with appetite unsated.

What has changed? I will tell you. I realized today, all was not right with the world because it was bright and new. All was right with the world because I was bright and new.

Oh yes, my jailor. I vividly recall another day; much like this one; but way far aback under the red-hot crucifix of dawn; when Heaven breached again, and pulled me in. This tyme I was pure energy. And awash with a radiance as polished as the molten pith of the sun.

But mine birth cry was no painful cry; nor a piteous cry; nor a lament of sorrow. But a joyous cry of discovery, unabridged revelation, and atonement.

Perhaps you cannot understand why I see these gallows as a threshold; and why it is that I feel only pity for my executioner. For throughout all my transitional sojourns, I have persevered. But naught do I know of the fate of my judgmentors.

© I am Troll † (yours for double jeopardy)

Haiku

Let just one frog croak
On an empty southern stage
Karaoke night

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for improvisation]

AVERYHILLARTS

Invoking Frost

In the south, we have no birches to bend; and neither do we get snow or ice to weight them down in a manner that would incite my muse to bleed. But more and more I find, as this life hurtles past its equinox, that I will dwell on simpler times: when my brothers and I would take turns inflating our adolescent egos by commandeering a 55 gallon drum and launching it down a steep incline to see who could hang with it the farthest.

As the barrel would careen at breakneck speeds, negotiating the deformities of terra firma, and the deflections of loosened earth and stones, and some few unimpressive trees, there would be moments of zero gravity when one felt as if he was in the clouds.

While the one was curled up in the fetal position pushing out against the rigid walls and holding on against the centrifugal force that was working to unseat him, it required all his focus to avoid a premature ejection out through the open portal, with its payout of disjointed fingers and bruised, bloodied elbows.

As I repeated the ride over and over again, not once did I consider that I chanced a broken neck, or spine, or ruptured spleen. What did I know of fear? It was the ensuing climax that I strove for. more so than the adrenaline-fueled ride itself. Having gotten away and coming back to earth, it mattered little whether the ride ended with me inside or outside of the barrel; it only mattered that the world had not spit me out for good.

Riding barrels was the closest I ever came to being a swinger of birches, and I'd be remiss if I did not see the similarities. To this day if I close my eyes for long, I can feel as if I am that child in the barrel still; waiting for this wild ride to finish. When I can once more exalt: Life is all affirming. And launch out again. One could do worse than be a rider of barrels. When he's not got his father's birches to bend.

©Geo. Lewis Avery † (yours for recreation)

A Poe-ish Tale of Terror

Ah sleep: that gentle narcosis what refreshes the body and rejuvenates the mind. Who requires it? Certainly not I: For I was a man that did not sleep, although sleep pursued me with her coy eyes ogling from out the dark confines of my study, or from the stark maw of an alley as I crossed the bustling boulevard en route to some urgent venture. It loitered in the shadows: beneath drooping lampposts along the avenues, like a coquette, fluttering painted lashes, vying for my attentions.

But I would not acknowledge her. With disfavor I diverted my eyes. I burned the candle at both ends, and in the interim it paid dividends, as I had become a self-made man and soon was to marry into a family of prominence whereby my station in life would be secured. And yet sleep would not be dismissed, for I had scorned her publicly, and her ego was bruised.

With my approaching marriage I began to experience migraines, what became more intense with each passing hour, so that soon I could not abide the sunlight. Even dark glasses offered me little relief. My eyes had become sensitive to even filtered particulates of light so that I was in constant torment. I sought remedies at great expense but treatments failed. Out of desperation I shut myself away. I became a recluse: with heavy curtains drawn on the windows of my apartment. I no longer ventured outside. I had my meals delivered. Calls from my betrothed were dismissed; her knocks at the door went unanswered; and soon they came no more. But more significant was it that my migraines were subsiding. I had found a remedy it seemed. Albeit temporary.

At long last I could sit behind my armored stile with an agreeable smile, listening to the hustle and the bustle of normalcy outside my dark fortress; persons passing, voices chirruping like crickets in a faraway field; and it soon occurred to me mine was no mishap of fate. I had been singled out by sleep. She would be my courtier; and she, whose selfish piety eclipses all others, would not be denied me this time; as with nimble fingers she massaged my temples, bringing me to the brink of rapture. How she gained entry into my room was and is a mystery, but more and more I was become enamored by her: so much so that I begrudged nothing of what she had cost me to win my favor. I was convinced I had wronged her more. I indulged her whims: and the while we loitered it seemed that time had ceased to exist. So confident I was of absolution I verbally pledged to her my troth:

It was then a blow was struck outside the door to my apartment what made the shy maid slip away; and with her unrehearsed retreat I felt a pang rend my cavernous core. Theirs was a most untimely interruption, but the rapping was unlike any other: it was more of a "dull thump". As if some free weight had fallen against the timbers: listen ... for there ... it was striking again ...

and again.

"Go away!" I instructed harshly, although in vain, for the assault continued: "THUMP! .... THUMP! ....... THUMP!" with no regard to my loud objections. Angered by the industry of my visitor I assayed to rise and dismiss him, only to discover I could not; sleep's fetters held me firmly ensconced. I fumbled in the darkness for the door; but it was not where it should have been. Inching around in the cramped quarters I was met by a corner; and then another; and another;

and another.

It took me some moments to grasp: this was not my apartment but a resinous box. Now panicked: I began to claw at the timbers, even while serrated splinters tore loose my nails; my fingers raw and bleeding, and my nose incensed by the sweet sickness of pine.

Meanwhile from above wafted the faint whistling of an industrious gravedigger; and with each shovels payload, loose particulates trickled down through the cracks, stinging my blood veined eyes; while the taste of raw earth wetted my tongue, and my throat: it so dry that I was strangling on the coarse silicates of my own frenzied SCREEEEEEEEEAMS; frozen in a perpetuum of inescapable wakefulness.

Woe is me: for with laced lips sleep had drugged me; and missing the alarm I'd awakened to discover: overzealous inheritors had inhumed me prematurely.

THE END

©Geo. Lewis Avery †[ever yours for romantic intonations]

The Flea And The Elephant

Once upon a time there was a common flea (Pulex irritans). This flea was no more and no less ordinary than any other flea for that matter but you could not convince him of it. For you see this flea had traveled to Rome to witness the coronation of the king; after having accepted a formal invitation by stowing away in the beard of a celebrated thespian, which was top of the line fare for a flea; but seeing that he could not hear above the hush of the audience, and the telescopic view being quite unacceptable, he made his way through the procession by hopping from head to head until he had gained the foremost seat in the cathedral. Of course, he was so small and unimposing the Pope did not see him poised atop the future king's balding pate as he was placing on the crown until after the deed was done. By this time, it was too late to rectify the matter and the flea received the coronation first.

"By Jehovah the title is mine," Proclaimed the flea. "Kneel down before me my ambrosia'd subject," He demanded of the deposed heir incumbent; and he bit the would-be king forthwith and with much gusto right on the top of his bald scalp."

"Ouch!" cried out the unappreciative recipient and he slapped his hand to his wounded head in a most violent manner. This would have been a fitting end to this particular parable and the last we would have heard of the flea had not the Pope stayed the hand with his own.

"Hold thy temper, my liege. You cannot do harm to your king."
<>BR> "What sacrilege is this I hear," Shouted the angered potentate. "It is I who am the king."

"Not so. The flea has been made Monarch in your stead 'by the grace of God'."

"But such a blasphemy cannot be permitted. The flea is not of royal lineage."

"Oh but you are mistaken for it carries the same blood as yours. It bit you did it not?"

"Mercy, it did at that," confessed the king.

"Then you had better do as your newly appointed king demands of you and kneel before him."

And so, the would-be king knelt down albeit reluctantly and bowed before the newly crowned flea. Forthwith the entire attending constituency followed suit by prostrating themselves to his new majesty, the flea. The flea in the meantime was swelling with a new born emotion. Call it exultation, call it confidence, call it pride, or call it ego, it was most unbecoming one of his stature.

"This is my Queen I presume," Said the flea of the Arian goddess standing like stone nearby. "Come my dear; let us retire to our chamber for a nightcap." He hopped onto her elbow and the brave lady paled but nonetheless retired with him. I affirm she was brave for what strength it must have required for a refined lady to associate with a flea.

Some while later as the sky turned to fire in the west the flea emerged to look out over his kingdom from the high balcony of his immodest castle. "There is justice in the world after all," He shouted in a flea voice that carried not very far.

"All of my life I have been discriminated against and frowned on," thought the flea to himself, for as you see he could not for that matter think it to anyone else now could he. "This day I have broken a new ground. I have achieved what no one thought my low class was capable of. I have gained an audience with the Pope and am crowned king by the grace of god. In effect I am the chosen one."

"As a monarch I can do no wrong. Therefore I have decided it is time to level the playing field. I will do away with the classes. I will co-mingle all the blood in my kingdom until I am everyman."

The flea called his royal guard to him and instructed them to parade a new citizen before him each hour and he would command that person kneel down obediently while he would bite him on the ear. In this fashion the flea was never without devotion, did not lack for variety in his diet, and could never be accused of being out of touch with his subjects.

Eventually however the flea had accounted for every citizen within his realm and as far beyond as his influence could extend. "Are there no more subjects," He asked.

"No Sire. Only the pets of the households, the lambs in the fold, and the oxen of the field, among others."

"Then have all the dumb animals to bow before me," He commanded. "I will assimilate everything."

"One after the other the flea bit all the animals of the kingdom on the ear; and so their blood mingled with that already coursing inside him and he was well on his way to becoming all things."

"It is not accomplished yet, your majesty," Apprised a most observant advisor to his advisors. "Word has come to me that the elephant refuses to comply with your wishes."

"Then have the miscreant bound in chains, marched throughout the kingdom, and flogged nonstop until he agrees. I must have full compliance if my dream is to be realized. Have him understand that noncompliance is not an option. I will become everything if it is the last thing I do."

Therefore, by express orders of the king the elephant was bound in chains, marched throughout the kingdom, and flogged for days on end until its willpower began to falter and it burst into tears and agreed to abide by the kings edict.

"Why have you refused to do as I say," Asked the king.

"I felt it was an unwise thing to request of me, your majesty."

"Are you suggesting that you are more savvy than your king who has assimilated 99.9999 percent all living things?"

"Not in all matters, your majesty. But in this one instance I am quite convinced of it."

"Nonsense," Said the king. "Kneel down to me that I might bite you on the ear."

"But your majesty ?"

"Silence! I'll have no more insubordination from you. Do as I command you or I?ll instruct a mouse to take up residence in your trunk."

And so the elephant effused a big sob and knelt in a most subservient manner. But as it did so its enormous knee bore down onto the flea with such force that it burst him. And that is how the stain came to be in the royal red carpet. It happened so long ago that no one remembers but the elephant; and he has the most reason to remember.

Let this be a lesson to you good Christian; when you find yourself up to your eyeballs in cake, realize your limits, lest you choke on your own desserts.

THE END

©Geo. Lewis Avery †[yours in moderation]

A Fish's Tale

Eugene wanted a fish for his supper; but on his trek to the market, he encountered a blind woman holding out a cup seeking alms; burthened by his desire for trout on the one hand, and a compulsion to assist a suffering sapiens on the other, Eugene thumbed the coin in his pocket; only to find he'd inherited a hole in the fabric, and no coin. Apparently, his moral compass had fallen through as well, leaving Eugene with little sense of direction, for on impulse he reached into the cup and withdrew enough change for the carp; bolting away as the miser made a swipe at him with her cane.

- returning with the fish under his arm, Eugene was pointed out by the vagrant to a cop patrolling his afternoon beat as the man who'd assaulted her and robbed from her till; so, Eugene engaged in a short footrace what ended in his getting pummeled with a billy club and dragged away to the city jail, where he was mishandled by his cellmate in a manner most heathenish; and his shame being so unbearable, Eugene strangled himself with a bedsheet.

In the meantime, the humble beggar woman has placed the frozen carp atop her shopping cart and is stooping to pick up a shiny coin on the pavement; a scene repeated numerous times as she ambles down the walk. Once beyond the brightness of the street lamps, and for reasons of her own, she detours into an alley to emerge on the far side sans rags, sans cart, and sans disguise.

Her strong legs navigate her to a modest apartment, where she enters, runs a hot bath, and prepares the gifted fish. Following a hearty meal, she changes into gym shorts, and jogs downtown; jogging past the city precinct, just as some tragic soul is being hauled outside upon a stretcher, by paramedics who pause in their grim duties to smile at the shapely brunette as she juggles past.

All Eugene wanted was a fish for his supper.

THE END

©Geo. Lewis Avery †[yours for fasting]

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Campers

Often I find meself crouched on a lonely plateau on nights when the wind is busy like a matron dame, wielding her broom to sweep unwelcomed snow from blackened ice; ice what insulates my soles from the colder earth below.

For, as habit dictates, I'll be a setting outside the fire, observing [unobserved] the ones camped there; listening to them, reading them, squatting wit me shoulders squared off to the night; me blocky cheeks illumined by the welcoming glow of wavering firelight.

I hunker down wit a grunt, for to set a spell, wit no malice in me heart for them who slumber below in their coccoon sacks; them who only stir to toss another branch on the fire when the flames die low; and each time the flames leap I feel a warmth clear thru to the soles of me feet; and I smile, as if they'd done this jes for me.

I stay my position overlooking his camp till it is the bottom of the night; when it is the darkest; in that chilly hour leading into dawn; when the fire's flames have retreated, as have the bedouins, into their beds, doleful of the mornings chill.

Better they be watchful of me; for this is when I would move in. On swift, and practiced podiatrees, I secure a sleeping bag by its nape and shaking the contents down into the bottom of the bedroll I throw it across my shoulder [without decorum] and set out for home; only pausing from tyme to tyme to quell an uprising by banging me club roughly against the grub sack [thwack!].

© I am Troll †[ever at a poets disposal]

National Geographic Investigates 'The Dwindling Herd'

I had gone thru an unusual dry spell when I set up base camp on a rise overlooking a rockwell painting from the mid 1930s. Half an hour before sunrise the subjects moved in from the mist, gathering like thirsty gazelles at a watering hole; collectively attuned to danger, but inattentive to the crocodile tactically poised in the canebreak.

A quick lunge, and I had an unfortunate in my grasp; one culled from the fleeing herd. My victim goes limp; unable to bear up against the strain.

They are not all like that, but even the spunky ones do not thrive long in captivity, retreating into themselves until not even applying screws to its toes will turn out suitable prose. Ah, the brief tenure of a muse accounts for the diversity in my genius.

© Geo. Lewis Avery †[yours for decent wages]

Little Red and The Troll In The Wood

The other evening I was traipsing down this deserted lane with me club resting on me shoulder, searching for a campsite away from civilized folks for to cook my vittles, and to map out the stars before I hunkered down to sleep, when a ittle lassie came skipping up the cobblestone path from behind and she takened me by the finger.

She waren't more than a mouthful, and was dressed in a little pink hood, wit matching boots, and stockinged legs; and she carried a little twig of a branch in her free hand, like a riders crop; and a wicker baskinet was swinging from her elbo.

This ittle lassie, she just kept on keeping stride, skipping along beside o me, whil'st clinging to my fingerbone; and all the while she never give me a sideways glance; and nonstop, she yammered on like a yackitty jaybird, what is shaking pinecones down outen the tree onto my head when I'd overslept in springtime.

Her trusting innocence disarmed me, and I forgot about the hunger that was gnawing at my insides moments before; and the muscles at each end of my lips began to tighten, till my mouth drawed up at the corners into a smile.

We hadn't traveled far along our mutual path into the wood when we overtook this badly nourished fellow; a wolfish gent, dressed all in black sequined leather, who was a leaning wit his shoulderblades supported gainst the intimacy of a tree's shadow; chewin on a fat alfalfa stem wit flashy gold capped teeth.

His alligator boots crossed at the ankles; and fedora pulled down to shade the mal intent in his eyes; narrowed eyes, that followed every step of the wee chile, what skipped at my knee; and a cold, shiv'ring wind crept thru the trees, and it whispered: "What a tender young creature. What a nice plump mouthful. At any cost I must have her."

And, as if she'd heard, the ittle lassie turned her head his way and stuck out her tongue; and laughed and laughed. Such a clever young thing. She was not at all afraid of him. But he was right to be wary of me. For I am I for all to see, and I am TROLL. He ducked off into the trees; and I knowed she'd not seen the last of him, for he was a tenacious one; and crafty, like the wolf that he was.

The little tyke held onto my hand as we followed that winding path thru the wood, until we'd reached a cottage, what stood with its door ajar; whereat, she let go her hold and skipped thru the doorway; and me, I stepped over near the window and I listened a spell from the outside; and it be a good thing that I did what I done.

"Oh grandmother," she said. "What big ears you have." The better to hear you with my child." was the reply. "But grandmother, what big eyes you have." she said. "The better to see you with my dear." "But grandmother, what large hands you have." "The better to hug you with." "Oh but grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have." "The better to eat you with." And no sooner had the wolfish gent, who was posing as her ailing granmuther, said this than, with one bound he was out of bed and ....

That is when my big arm flashed thru the open window.

I grabbed him up by his sarcoptic nape wit me big calloused hand; relishing in the feel of fragmentating vertebrae within my tight grasp; and the little chile, lookin on wit them big scairt eyes, could hardly understand why I was a chokin her grandmuther, who s hairy feet thrashed the empty air two skips offen the floor.

But I am TROLL, and I ain t one for explaining, nor seekin approval for the things I do; so I fetched the unresponsive brute thru the window, and I shook him inside out like a pair of ole trousers; and after, I hanged him up by his heels from a tree to cure.

I entered thru the door, and that ittle rose hooded lassie was still standing there frozen like, wit big tears building at the bottoms of her eyen; so I fetched a bundle from the closet, what turned out to be her real grandmuther, bound and gagged, and traumatized near to death; and my heart shore beat easier, cause that ittle lassie forgive me for my brutish methods. She wiped that big ole tear away onto her sleeve, and she even give me a hug; and me a TROLL even.

Grandmuther was a tough odl gal, and once she'd got a piece of cake and a bottle of wine inside o her, what her ittle granchile had brung along in the baskinett, she went outside and took a wicker broom to that scoundrel in the tree till she was wore plum out. Then we put grandmuther back to bed an I seen the chile safe back home.

The night waned on, and the ittle lassie was comfy and snug in her own bed; and me, I was sleeping on the cold ground wit grimy lips and a full belly, beside a dwindlin campfire where, come daylight, a score of camp crows was a fighting over meat scraps clinging to the ample bones scattered about the base of a cauldron what had stewed me latest supper.

For I am TROLL, and I hadn't eaten me supper yet when i'd got back to camp; but I knowed the way back to grandmuthers house. That anorexic scoundrel in the tree, he wasn't much, but once I'd added a plump grandmuther to the pot, along with a dab o salt, and the sweet taters I'd plundered from her pantry, my supper was complete.

I been counting on me fingers and me toes, and in seven more nights it'll be Halloween. That's when me an the ittle un is goin trick er treating [tergither]. She knows the way to every house in the neighboring wood; an after, once I see her safely home, I'm going back for seconds. And I'm toting a bigger sack.

For [atter all] © I am Troll †[yours for understanding]

Being A Gent of few Words

I relish nights of the autumnal harvest, when bonfires are lit; flinging deliberate sparks to mingle with the stars.

It is at this tyme poets will gather from the far corners of the abyssal plain, to share in the warmth of a communal hearth; bright faces halo'd, and backs unguarded against the wold.

Shoulder to shoulder they'll squat in roundtable assemblage; porridge bowls resting on their knees, and the cauldron bubbling entreaty.

I do so relish an autumnal night; for all its magical allure, it makes for easy pickings for a troll that might be lurking out in the dark; armed with a big ole empty sack, and a Babe Ruth ™ commemorative bat; awaiting for the poets to retire, one by one.

"THWACK!"

© I am Troll † [ever yours for a thrashing]



For [atter all] © I am Troll †[yours for understanding]

Of Gods and Poets

Of the two ... gods and poets, I have launched missiles at the one. I have rained boulders down onto the other. From the one, I have felt detached; but the other I have sought after;

For whenever solitude erupts, screeching at ten decibels; causing my eardrums to knell, and I can stand it no longer; I will seek out his camp, and enjoy its synergistic warmth.

I have crouched outside his tent in blizzard, in rain, and starry night. I have listened to his hearts rhythmical beat; and it has lulled me to sleep; the only peace I've known since the ice age began.

© I am Troll † [yours for tinnitus]

You'd Not Even Guess I Was Here

Last night for supper I dined on scrambled yak brains and liver, after knocking a couple of yeggs together and dis-combobulating their shells; causing the yolks to run down into me skillet to join the menagerie that was to sate my appetite.

The fire was hot, and as I was stirring the hash with a cold finger bone I had pried from the post mortem pencil of a poet, I found myself with some idle moments to ponder just how scarce the game was getting in these parts.

Time was, when a TROLL could knock a poet over each time he sent a boulder careening down a steep incline. But them days is past. Not to intone that a poet has ever had cause to fear me, but occasions do arise when a TROLL is in need of a goblet; whereby a polished cranium makes for a suitable adaptation; and none is more inflated than a poets brainpan for holding creek water. Nor is it less apt to crack under the strain of my club *thwack!*

Change is inevitable, and the day has come when this TROLL must relocate to a more fertile clime to gather his condiments; and it's a tiresome business. It's a lot of skin off his oversized feet.

And the modern poet isn't a docile beast like them portly dreamers of yore. Poets nowadays fight back, [toof and nail], and this makes the meat stringy, and it aggravates digestion.

But, so is life.

© I am Troll † [yours for bacchus]

UH OH The Caveman

Way far back in the Age of Stone when tools were made of rock and bone; in a cave in the hills of the Mountain of Snow lived a primitive man we will call 'UH OH.' He was a huntsman, a herdsman, a regular Joe. The commonest man that ever was born; with a heel that was thicker than the bite of a thorn; with a mind more stubborn than the heart of a stone. He was a handsome fellow with low frontal bone; and I've often wondered why his friends numbered 'NONE'.

Once: on the jagged cliffs overlooking the brae, he was gobbled up by a Brontosaur with his back to a tree; but the clumsy beast slipped on a patch of wet snow and plunged into the river 1000 feet below. The dinosaur perished... but not 'UH OH.' These primitive folk spoke in guttural grunts; rarely was heard more than one syllable at once; but 'UH OH' was a man of notorious fame, and wherever he ventured it was always the same: others would greet him with the [double syllabic] sound of his name.

It was a harsh land in which he was living; the climate was cold and the fates unforgiving. He once had three friends with whom he would hang: 'OHMI' 'GOONESS' ... and ... 'IBEDANG' who were named as they were being unlimbed by a Catamarang. The short nature of his friendships was always the same; so he made it a point to make note of each name; like the time he awakened a Wicked Wack in its cave, while swiping the eggs from a Grapple Footed Gnave. His comrades were warriors, both stalwart and brave; so 'UH OH' retreated and sealed the mouth of the cave; trapping the warriors and the Wack in the lair of the Gnave.

The first to perish was 'MERCI', then 'LAWDI', then 'GEEZ'; then 'OPUN' and 'THEEDO'; then 'WEBEG', 'YU', and 'PLEEZ'; then finally, 'GOBBUL', 'KRUNCH', 'MUNCH', and 'WHEEZ'. The last one was a fighter ... 'BURRRRRRP' was his name. He was the last to get eaten, but that fellow was game; for he rattled the mountain as he fought with the Wack; almost rolling the tight stone free from its track. 'UH OH' was hard pressed to keep it held back.

'UH OH' was saddened by the loss of his friends but he wasn't surprised, for that seemed the trend. He left the large stone in the mouth of the cave and he chiseled their names on the door of their grave; along with a etching of a Wack, and a Grapple Footed Gnave. Another time: while searching for the eggs of the Dag that nested on a sheer cliff, in an uppermost crag; he lost a dear friend he'd scarce got to know; when he reached down to hoist him up, he somehow let go: "OOPS," he greeted. His friend answered: "UH OOOOOOoooOOooooooooooh."

It was the year of the birth of the Hundred Year Snow; the temperature had dropped to 90 below; he was fishing through the ice for the spike-tailed Krim when he got the wild notion to go for a swim; and 'UH OH' was a man that followed his whim. The villagers found his clothing on the ice by the hole; and they held a big shindig that same evening I'm told; with feasting, and dancing, and all sorts of Wahoo. He was eulogized by such fellows as 'YEEHAW' and 'YAHOO'; with the final toast of the evening given by the Chieftain ... was a joyful 'TOODALOO'.

Not long after his celebrated demise the population of man was on a steep rise; and so you'll agree, after some reflection that 'Uh Oh' fell prey to Natural Selection: [It's Nature's way of maintaining direction.] But just today: found frozen in an iceberg and meticulously thawn, is a primitive man from the Age of Stone; I'm afraid he is dead, as you well should know; but his DNA is intact, and that [we can show] could be used to clone another...

"Say What? Now you've done it.

'UH OH.'

The End

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours by default]

The Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog

Long, long ago dinosaurs roamed this swampy world and called it home. The mighty beast preyed upon the lesser; or so I was told by my professor; and somewhere within the Jungle of Grog lived a Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog; the tastiest bacon that ever was born; and it was wrapped in pigskin, beneath a rhinoceros' horn.

Is it no wonder that it was sought after by the meat-eating T-Rex and Velociraptor; who came to Grog Jungle for both breakfast and lunch; and of course a Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog brunch. Now this piglet had a great big horn on its snoot that came in quite handy in uprooting roots. It feasted on melons that grew on Grog Nile; and could spit a seed at least a Grog mile.

At home in the muck and swaddling vine, it slept in the hollow of a Nile melon rind; till the large meat-eaters rousted it out; and littered Grog Jungle with ownerless snouts. Needless to say when the feasting was done: if you sought through all of Grog Jungle you could find only ONE; and this piglet proclaimed: "They'll never eat me. Just to make sure, I'll climb the world's tallest tree."

So using its toes it climbed up to where the uppermost branches tickled the air; hanging by its fingers from the outermost limb, it observed the hungry dinosaurs searching for him. They stomped on the melons and fished the Grog mire; but not the first one of them thought to search higher. Safe in a tree above the Jungle of Grog long dwelt the Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog.

Each evening it would climb down using strong monkey toes; and spear a ripe melon with the horn on its nose. It would carry it high to the branches above, and feast on the sweet flesh it so dearly did love; while at night in the Heavens two full moons would arise that looked much like melons both in shape and in size. He thought: "Perhaps it was two melons dangling up there; and delicious like the fruits on the Isle of Wambahr:

Oh, if only such a melon was to grow on Grog Nile; and why should it not, can I not spit a Grog mile; perhaps even farther if I will practice my throw. Once I've knocked down a melon its seeds will grow." It then spat a hard seed at a Raptor on Knool, a far distant mountain at the edge of Gambool. The seed struck precisely on its tender most loin, then ricocheted off and is most likely still going.

It then turned to the moon that hung straight above and spat a seed from its tongue, using its mightiest shove. That little seed struck with a thunderous sound and the moon broke in half and came tumbling down. One half of the moon struck in the Desert of Tulle; the other half landed in the Badlands of Knool. It cracked open the earth and made hot lava run; and a mountain of dust soon blocked out the sun.

The Ice Age began, and I assure you my friend that is how the Age of the Dinosaur came to an end. To this day we are reminded by the one lonely moon in our sky, that reckless spitting can do more than poke out an eye. And I have oft heard it whispered by the crashing waves in the Sea, that somewhere to this day survives the World's Oldest Tree; and in its uppermost branches, with its eyes still agog, clings a Seed-Spitting, Monkey-Toed, Rhinoceros Hog.

THE END

© Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for a strip of bacon]

Unrequited Brotherhood

With unblinking eyes [I oft sit and ponder] watching the fires of others camps from a frozen dome where the blizzards and brutal winds shield me against the warmth; a warmth I can see but darest not feel [nor share] I wonder.

I can see them moving about [these squatters on my quiet mesa] like shadow puppets dancing on a wall [brimming with life] while behind them the flames rejoice in feasting and song; leaping, licking, flickering, dieing, and melting my resolve. [Ere long] this mountain may crumble and roll down upon them. But will they quit their gaity and song long enough to give me a moments peace? I wonder.

Nearby [one boot protruding from a snowdrift] sleeps one of them; a hapless one [though bold] who left the safety of his fire to seek out this lonely spot [and me] but he was shivering and trembling; so much so that I was compelled to shake down a small avalanche from above to insulate him against the cold. It is the same blanket which I sleep under, but I have a thicker skin.

Let him seek me out who would know where his colleague has gone; who has left their sleeping bags lie and a half eaten can of beans overturned while their coffee boils away; and the fire dies on an empty camp.

Go ahead. Play the samaritan. Stoke up the fire. Face towards the summit. And motion me in.

© I am Troll † [yours for diplomacy]

Trick Or Treat, Smell My Feet

Once again - all hallows eve night is nigh upon us, and I am keeping my fingers crossed; and my hopes remain high that it will befall on one of them murky nights when trolls are free to roam covertly under cover of low altitude congestions of maiden form fog [i.e. an unsullied mist]; what has arisen from the respirations of furtive spaces, where frogs wear an aftershave penned herons breath; and late night diners are served on green doilies atop a ripple cloth patterned of an algal sheen.

Dragonflies pirouette unaffected within the arena of an opaque moon; while beneath the polished surface, a hidden pond life teams. I'll hitch up me breechclout, and grab me stoutest corduroy satche. l then venture forth a trick or treating to where gentle folks can be found.

For its the most rewarding night of the year, as they are abroad in perpetual numbers. And by an obscure influence, invoked by the strategic positioning of the stars [for this one night only] they do not feel threatened when they espy my manifestation gaining on them from out of a soupy fog.

Once I have overtaken them however, and they've been alerted to the unmistakable miasma of peril arising from my trademark™ feet; and twice five enormous unshaven toe digits. They'll allus pinch their eyes tergither, drawing close to peer into my face; as if to ask a moot question, whereby my malodorous breath will blitzkrieg their faculties and hackamore their breathing.

They'll swoon, and not recover until sequestered within the confines o my haversack; a relaxed retreat where they can associate freely with a growing tally of kindred souls, awaiting the inevitable there in the dark.

While back at me base camp a cauldron fusses atop a crackling fire; complaining it has no venison to thicken its broth; but that will change shortly, or I ain't troll.

Oh, but I yam.

© I am Troll † [yours for a chance encounter]

Why Suffer Ye The Muse?

I could hear her laughter trailing off in the distance even as I made the familial journey along the cobwebbed corridor to deliver her daily bowl of gruel; along with its companion bread, and a fresh pail of water.

I sensed something was amiss even before I discovered the door stood ajar and her cell was empty of all but a rust pitted spike driven into the wall; from whare a fragment of crumbling chain yet hung; and me captive muse on the lam.

Time [it seems] had gnawed away at that which bound her to me. And she, free of her constraint, and owing no allegiance to her gaoler, abandoned me without ceremony. And yet, despite my initial chagrin, I do not feel betrayed; as bereft in my cell, I lie down on the cot delighting in the malaise caused by its brutal springs gouging into my flesh.

My lungs deluged by the dank and poisoned air, I cough up phlegm, and pull the woolen blanket high up over my chin to muzzle the chatter of my teeth; while with a complaisancy earned of being born a TROLL, I lie awake in anticipation of her return.

© I am Troll † [yours for a short break from poetry]

The Homecoming

Troll had this dream, whar him was trudging across a desert burdened by a orful thirst what was sucking at the vortex of his gizzard like a infant latched onto a wrinkled teat. Troll's tongue was dry gainst the adobe of his palate, and when him tried to swaller thar whar a influx of sand into his esophagi what drank up all promise of moisture.

The sun beating down onto Troll's head made his brainpan percolate like a tea kettle on a stove. And many a hallu cenogenary mirage danced before his eyes, until he'd become unstable and fallen prone; lying on his back in the shallow lull of an oasis, consisting only of silicate shards and anarchistic heat waves marching across the seemingly endless and shimmering sands.

Alas! Troll was suffocating on the heavy air, whan a shadow fell across his countenance. And such a balm to his sun blistered skin, that he lifted his burdensome head in time for his mind's eye to capture the most remarkable vision of a camel's foot descending.

And as the heavy weight of a passing caravan pressed his head below the accommodating sand, he was content on his journey into the afterlife. For he was convinced he'd at last come home.

© I am Troll † [yours for deliverance]

Life In The Salt Mines

Put no trust a politician that gives you his promise while extending his hand, for he is looking beyond you and is sneering behind his facade; and is thinking "Ol' boy. The masses are asses." And asses you know, are by their born station, beasts of burden.

And the best way to prevent an ass from balking at its ill lot; or bearing its teeth; or clipping its sharp heels at its handlers head when outfitted with a heavy burthen [as it so justly deserves] is to give it a courtyard view of the meadow; and tell it that is the paradise it will retire to once all of its obligations are met.

Give it a smiling task master that spares the rod and lavishes praise. And give it a carrot for its dinner. Conceal from it that when old Lampwick's memory returned; and his eyes brimmed o er with tears; and he would, or could, no longer carry his load, he was secretly shipped off to the glue factory; and not retired to green pastures [as promised].

By all means, do not assign it a straight-shooting caregiver that keeps a firm grip on its tether, and applies a switch of stropped leather as an incentive; one that locks it in its stall each night; and confides to it the retirement meadow does not exist; one that informs it forthright what an ass it is, and can only aspire to become dog food.

So, as you can see, I distrust a politician that gives me his promise. For it holds no water with the masses. Because, as he is well convinced [the masses are asses] and for all the concerns I or his constituency might have voiced to him, all he has heard was a bray:

"Eeeee yaw! Eeeeeee yawww! Eeeeee yawwwwwwwww!"

© I am Troll † [ever the goodwill ambassador]

The Primordial Ooze

Once upon a time there was a primordial ooze, emerging from a bit of frozen Earth where the sun incubated the rock in an age when all things sentient lingered in the great oblivion of sleep.

An eon passed, and from that ooze was borne a cognizant thought; what rose to the surface of that stagnant pond as a bubble does; and within its dome was sealed the recipe for transcendence.

Like a gaseous hiccup, it floated free [unrestrained] intent on being realized. But, unable to stabilize outside its prison walls, it's hull eroded. The bubble burst! And consciousness spilled far out into the cosmos in myriads of color.

Each particle [minute to miniscule] was different [though similar] in that it retained an inherent sense of the missing whole; and an overwhelming desire for oneness.

But there was not one that retained the shape of its former glory that did not deem itself to be the acme of all its composites; and this one [in its arrogance] failed to assimilate. But rather, it set about to eviscerate the inferior parts; until, at last it had quashed any debate as to its rightful claim to eminence.

Once upon a time there was a bubble that would be a god. But it burst at high elevation. And the primordial ooze, being long exhausted, now reeks of dust and nothing else amid the great oblivion of sleep.

© I am Troll † [yours until Armageddon]

Journey's End

Oh mother I am weary, might I rest here for awhile; in the cradle of your bosom, in the billows of your smile.

The years have taxed me heavy, I have trekked a daunting mile; but my trials will seem as nothing, if I can prop here for a while.

You'll find I am not needy, an untidy bed will do; and in the Spring a canopy to ward away the dew.

In Summer I am happy, with naught a quilt at all; but toss on me a blanket when comes around the Fall.

Insulate me heavy, when winter rolls about; but do not bother in the Spring to try and roust me out.

In lieu of answer mother, sing me a lullaby; that I might enter dreamland with a moonbeam in my eye.

Whereby all my soulful burdens, will drop off by the side; and I step into the wheel house, of a rocket ship and ride ...

© I am Troll † [yours until cockscrow]

To The Fullest

Truth be told, I have survived on this middle ground between heaven and hel long enough to realize it is not enough for me to live well. For in the end, I would die well as well.

Just what is the measure of a good death? I do not know. But resigned to chance I might suffer a poor death. And rest assured, neither heaven nor hel could contain me without I was content in how I'd breathed my final breath.

It is not the manner. It is not the method. It is not the hour. Nor is it the accumulation of days leading up to a man s demise. Instead, it is on the threshold that the measure of the man applies; when I would enter my father's house without knocking.

© Brother Bard † [yours for pomp and ceremony]

Haiku

I never let go
Till the match burns my fingers
A sucker of thumbs

©Geo. Lewis Avery † [yours for aloe]

AVERYHILLARTS