Monthly Archives: February 2016

‘Prayers For Katie’ by Andrew Bradford

Seems she’s been sick for ages now, my poor Katie. It’s such a sin when children are born sick, such a burden on the world, and such a horrible struggle for the child. But it must be God’s will, and to that I submit always. He knows what is best for my little Katie. Only He can heal her. Only He has that power.

Katie is such an angel. Not even yet three, but a light in this dark world. Her eyes of sparkling blue always light up when I walk into the room. She whispers, “Daddy, I love you,” and every fiber of me melts. How was I so blessed with this gift? But other questions come, too:

  • Why must she be sick?
  • Why must a child be in so much pain?
  • Why has this happened to me?

I seek the answers in scripture and prayer, but am no closer to the truth than when I started. Which means I must redouble my efforts, pray more, earnestly seek for His will to be done.


I awaken to the sound of Katie crying, calling out for me. I take a cold, wet washrag and rub it across her face, which is hot with fever. Then I kneel beside her bed and pray again, asking God to heal her. Please heal her, Holy Father! Please remove this illness from my only child! I beg of you! But the response I get is only silence, only more tears from Katie.

Once about three months ago I was told by a friend that I should relent, should take her to the hospital. My dear friend Anna told me it wasn’t a sin to let doctors, led by God, heal her. What can it hurt? she asked. Anna does not understand about sending your immortal soul to hell for all eternity when you disobey. I cherish Anna, but she is just wrong. And I will not give into the Dark Lord and sacrifice my daughter to their lies, their works. Anna tried to argue that doctors can be led by God, too, but how many people of science truly believe in anything other than their own personal genius? Some doctors are said to have a “God complex.” Is that the kind of person I want seeing to my daughter?


Katie seems worse today. She has almost no energy at all. She can barely whisper “Daddy” when I lean forward to kiss her forehead, which is aflame with fever. I notice the bloodstains on the sheets and pray for deliverance from this momentary hell I am living through. He knows we are in need, and He will provide in time. This is merely a test of faith. To fail it is to lose everything.


Katie went to be with God on March 15. She is in a far better world. I am praying for her night and day and know we will be reunited one day in the hereafter.

Anna wrote me an email, and it said:

You are responsible for the death of your daughter. She could have been healed if you had only done what needed to be done. If you were not so damn stubborn!

The police have approached me and I plan to cooperate with them. You are a heartless monster.

Later tonight I plan to get in my car and leave. I don’t know where I will go, but I am being led to travel far away from here. He will guide me. Only He can possibly understand what I am feeling now.

For now I will rest. And by daybreak, God willing, I will be on my way far from here.

Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Prescription For Existence’ by Andrew Bradford

In general, I thought less about it with each passing day

Until later it had faded so completely that I did not care

Smelling the sweetness of some Elysian Field, deeply sensing the perfection

The reality of what has become accepted truth is nothing but a patterned rumor

Then trillions of years pass and nothing remains but what is essential:

Breathing, seeing, causing, farting, eating, discovering, passing, fading, disappearing

Look at the cover and understand what it truly means to be filled with reverent awe

Read the words as if they are some holy script long since lost among the sands of time

Standing near the ocean, screaming for respite, for order, for one last gasp

But none shall be given–it has been ordained

Shallow sips of air, more, silently begging into the ether

For a last moment of grace

Yet handed only dust and ash.

Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘The Voyage Of The Graymalkin’ by Art Metzger

There once was a shipwright who was both brave and wise
who for all of his life sought a way to devise
a ship, a miraculous magical ark
that would skin through the skies on the waves of the dark.

For the dark, it is whispered, flows in from the East
every night from a land where all living things ceased
to dwell long ago, and so it is told
that the land is now twisted and strange to behold.

So the old shipwright gathered the lore that he sought
in secret, from books and by spells that he wrought,
until all was ready, he soon would embark
on the ship he had built that would sail with the dark.

But before he could cast off he must have a crew
of friends he could trust and bold men who would do
whatever he ordered, though foolish it seemed
to plot such a course, of which few men had dreamed.

The shipwright found two men he’d known all his life,
one young who as yet had no lady nor wife,
and one whose two sons had been killed long ago
and whose wife soon had followed, bestricken with woe.

Now all that was left was the very small task
of stocking the larder with food and with flask.
But soon all was done, it was time to begin
their great voyage in the night with the dark rolling in.

The crew boarded the ship while the shipwright stood by
staring up at his work ‘neath the gray twilight sky,
then he christened his ship THE GRAYMALKIN and cried
“Weigh anchor, we sail with the darkening tide!”

The anchor was lifted, the sails unfurled,
the men all grew quiet as clouds above swirled.
The ship strained and shuddered, then rose from the ground
and spun round toward the East, for the dark it was bound.

All night the ship sailed to and fro in the dark
while the crew only heard the occasional bark
of a dog down below that had chanced to catch sight
of a ship being tossed by the waves of the night.

For hours they sailed o’er lands that they knew
till they heard a cock crow to say morning was due.
Then the time the old shipwright had worked for drew nigh
for the dark was now flowing, leaving light in the sky.

THE GRAYMALKIN shuddered much worse than before
and it shook in a way the crew could not ignore.
The ship’s timbers cracked and it seemed it would go
falling down through the sky to the ground far below.

But the shipwright stood calm at the helm of his ship
while his muscles all strained lest he loosen his grip
on the wheel he held that would keep them on course
as he prayed to the gods that things would grow no worse.

Soon the lights of the village were left far behind.
The ship was in darkness, the crew rendered blind.
But the night’s tide had settled, the ship had held true
as it sailed through clouds over lands that none knew.

The shipwright tied lanterns to long ropes and chains,
then he lowered them down to light strange alien plains
where odd creatures and things of the dark would be found
staring up at the ship without making a sound.

But what scene did they see with the lights down below?
What sights did they find in the lanterns’ bright glow?
Just people! The same as the shipwright and crew.
Just people who didn’t quite know what to do.

They stood outside houses in nightgowns and caps
while still more were coming to fill in the gaps
in the crowd ‘neath the strange ship that hung overhead
till soon not one person was left still in bed.

The old shipwright smiled at the crowd down below,
then he waved and he laughed and called down a “Hallo!”
Then the lights were extinguished, the crew worked in the gloam
while they waited for darkness to bear them back home.

The hours passed slowly aboard the strange ark
while they waited on deck for the waves of the dark
to carry them homeward, their great voyage all done.
Their adventure was over, their goal had been won.

The shipwright was happy, THE GRAYMALKIN had flown
with the dark to a land that was not so unknown
as the shipwright had thought, for the legends he’d read
had said almost nothing of plain folk a’bed.

So the old shipwright settled to live just as before,
but he stopped reading tomes full of legends and lore.
THE GRAYMALKIN lay empty, he would never embark
again on his ship that could sail with the dark.

Copyright 2016 by Art Metzger. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Left Unsaid’ by Andrew Bradford

My darling:

So many things to tell you, so many things that I should have told you long ago. Like this: I’m quite sure I never really loved until I met you. Sure, I had felt the pangs of emotion that far too often get labeled love in the modern parlance, but those were just combinations of lust and proximity.

For most of my life I have been lost, searching, and yet I never knew what I was looking for. I traveled like a wandering nomad because I thought what I needed was to be found in distance, in places, in the new of life. But those things are empty, even more so when you come to realize that the searching has only left you more lost than before. It’s a feeling of tremendous regret that cannot be fully expressed with words.

I have arrived at a place in my life where I now understand just how completely imperfect I am. And yet you don’t see me that way, do you? I can sense in the way you look at me, the way you smile when you read something I have written for you. In your eyes I am made complete, whole, at home, less imperfect than the moment before you entered the room.

Yet I can sense I will not be able to charm you forever. I am far too inadequate to ever dream of fulfilling you for a lifetime. So you will move on and I will be shattered into thousands of particles that can never be reassembled. Does that mean I should let go before the moment arrives when I am crushed? How would I ever live without you for even a second?

I wish I knew what I had to say, had to do, to have you in my life for all eternity. Such things do not happen to men as broken as me. It is the curse of the muse we chase and seek to tame with our words. All words useless at times like these.

So here is what I have never said and will never admit: I hate myself for my own need, but I remain the neediest of the needy. How weak and pathetic of me. How utterly pitiful I must appear to you. No wonder you will one day terminate all contact with me.

I would open my heart more fully, but I am not even capable of that. I can only beg. It is all I have left.



‘Intent And Emptiness’ by Andrew Bradford

Passion alone was not much

Yes, we longed to know more than could be known about that which is unknowable

How we clung to the drops as they were scooped up and shot forth

Leaving us warm warm warm inside but so cold when we would so much as smile

In my opinion, the death is very much suspect, despite the note

Dreamed a few minutes last night and saw my life moved forward 10,000 years

Nothing had changed


Not a damn thing

So I do hereby declare and prepare to change it all so radically you will never suspect

That I ever existed in my current form

Safe journey, old friend, may you travel at lightspeed

Until you are spat out upon the surface of some distant moon

I believe everything and nothing now, have learned to be a skeptic

What a cursed place, God it did stink of death

No, it was not death, it was worse, it was


Settle in, darling, settle quietly into the charms

As I warm the metal once more and pull the nectar into the pipe

Close your eyes and tell me when you finally see

The other side of what was once a perfect soul

Cold, cold, like the coldest of ice

Then we float, then we fly, then we will transcend

Then we will achieve

All that is promised by the Holy Book of Nothingness

First verse reads:

This is the last of the day, this is the last of it all

Huzzah and goodbye

Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Into Exile’ by Paul Jamesson

Yes I certainly did know of her deep despair and could sense the end was near

But how exactly does one rush into another’s life and rearrange the furniture?

She had been deprived of all human love for many years

She had imagined what lay beyond so often she had intricate maps of the place

If only we could shelter for a short while the pains of those we seek to reach

But all lights must eventually dim and vanish into the black

How silent nights are in simple repose

As we dance to tunes only we can hope to claim

She longed to resist the final siege, but when it came, she yielded to its charms

God, it took so long to go, so long to finish, so long to enter the contented place

I suppose I changed as she did, suppose I can see glimmers of what lies ahead for us all

For now I long to see another winter, to feel the chill upon my skin

And know once more that I will never make it home

Copyright 2016 by Paul Jamesson. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘The Severed Head’ by Andrew Bradford

My darling, how long it has been since I last wrote you

He smiled his triumphant grin and held his head aloft, as if a king entering a parade

Having seen it completed, it filled her with such glee

A long golden streak had formed along the last edge of early evening sky

Suddenly the notion struck him that he might end the whole affair here and now with one long

Exclamation that would sever her to the core

Strange how so little passion can be drained from our inner beings

When all that remains is the memory of what was once so much

His voice was deep and earnest, yet painful to the touch

Suppose I should recover the past and try to bring it forward

Awaiting another prompting, I felt around and took a long swig of my drink

If it could all be so clear, so perfect, so crystalline fine and serene

Instead of stilted, suffering, sorrowful, superfluous, sickened

Shall we hold the knife here and dissect the deepest pains of our love?

Or merely use that same blade to sever the heads of our spirit bodies and

Cast them aside into

the dark abyss?

Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.


‘Premium’ by Daniel X. Morrison

It’s not a bad job, despite what you might think. I like what I do, and I’ve always heard that if you find a job you enjoy doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.

My own life is a big mess. The company I work for has no idea who they hired. Years back I got into some trouble because a girl I used to date claimed I was stalking her, which is just a huge crock of shit. She nearly got me put in jail, but Dad knew a great lawyer who was able to arrange for probation and a fine. I paid the fine off a long time ago, and as long as I stay away from Sherri the cops leave me alone.

What else is messy in my world? Well, there’s this crazy little thrill I get from watching some of my policyholders after work hours. I mean, I would never harm any of them, but some of the women are just so…they drive me crazy with desire. Sometimes I watch them for hours and then go back home and…well, I make myself happy. No one gets hurt; it’s a completely victimless crime.

Then I sold a policy to Lynette, and my life changed. When I say “changed,” I don’t mean we suddenly fell in love and lived happily ever after. That’s never gonna happen for me, but I’m OK with the fact that I won’t be married or have children. Children are an encumbrance, and marriage would only stand in the way of me being able to find fun where I want to. Do I really need a wife asking me what I’m looking at on my laptop or why I have a collection of women’s stockings and bras in my dresser? It’s no one’s business. I work hard, I play hard. No harm in that.

Back to Lynette. She’s younger than me. She just turned 30 and decided she needed to get some life insurance to protect her and her parents just in case anything happened to her and they were left alone with nothing but Social Security. She’s a really caring, special person, and she’s so beautiful, too. You have no idea how much I wanted to tell her that as I sat on the sofa in her apartment and asked her the application questions for the policy. I still remember that she was wearing Levi’s and a T-shirt the said, “Panama City Beach” on it. She’s perfection, and I guess part of me wishes I could tell her. But that would be very unprofessional.

So Lynette laughed when I told her the jokes that are part of my sales talk. Her eyes were so bright with kindness and joy. When I handed her the pen and she signed the application, I made sure to note where things in her place were located. I even got a tour of the apartment under the guise of maybe being able to get her a good price on some renter’s insurance.

I don’t sell renter’s insurance, but she doesn’t know that.


About a week later I’m back at Lynette’s house, but I make sure and drop by when I know she’ll be at work. I park about a block away and then walk the rest of the way so the car won’t be spotted. You gotta be careful sometimes in this job.

I go around to the back of the house because there’s a six-foot high privacy fence there that should keep any nosy neighbors from seeing me or what I’m up to.

When I walk up and try the sliding glass door, I find it unlocked. How lucky is that?

Inside, I take a pair of her sandals from the bedroom closet, two pairs of her panties (one pink, one white) and a wonderful lacy bra that I put against my cheek before I place it in my handy tote bag.

While I’m there, I figure I should have some fun, but then I pause and decide to leave. I’m getting some weird vibes off the place, like the walls are moving and I gotta get out before they crush me.


I sell a really great policy to a couple across town and even manage to collect a premium check covering the first three months of the policy. My district manager is gonna love seeing that! Speaking of him, his wife is not bad looking. She’s maybe 40, but with nice firm tits and a tight little butt I’ve used to spur me on as I make myself happy.

We all have a need, and a right, to be happy, don’t you think?


Lynette calls me a few days later and at first I’m scared shitless. Did she notice someone had been in her place while she was at work? No! It can’t be!

Turns out she wants to go out for dinner. I can feel my stomach churning as she tells me that she finds me very interesting and handsome, can feel my throat contracting as I try to reply to her.

Finally I tell her I’m engaged and she says she understands. But of course she doesn’t and could never hope to.

What I do, what I am, what I need, is beyond her comprehension, or that of anyone else.

But it’s not a bad job at all. Not really. It has its good days.

Copyright 2016 by Daniel X. Morrison. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Amsterdam’ by Andrew Bradford

Heart still beating from the insanity of the frenzied moment,

I drove faster still until I could no longer breathe

He clears the books and papers from the bed, dreamily watching

as she motions for him to move closer

Dibs on the last patient for the day, the old man proclaimed as he drank

All too suddenly it was Thursday again, we faced our deadline

Joking of our youthful humiliations at the hands of the cruelest crop yet spawned

Each exchange with the pipe a floating, dissolving vapor of purest pungency

Hangover lasted all weekend because I abjectly refused to return to that place

Perhaps we will just sit here all evening and drink ourselves beyond all help

Voices crying out in pain, chattering in torrid fleshly rantings

We agreed to travel back a few years if we finally found time for ourselves

Suppose there should be some reminder that we passed this way

Before the minutes end and we are left dangling in terror

The schedule is due, they are calling for it now

One last inhale as we cross from night to darkest dawn

Then out the door and past the sleepy canals

Good to see you here, my friend; little did I know you still cared

Nodding gently, he assured me,

Not all of us are gone. Not all of us are

Vanishing as the liquid fills our lives


We learn

to float

Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.


‘Johnny Is Dead Today’ by Brad Thaxton

Tell the boys to lower the flag,

because Johnny is dead today.

He died in battle–alone,

but brave, and without his combat pay.

His wife in the States sits and waits,

for news that he’s all right.

But as the telegram said, now he’s dead–

killed in the thick of the fight.

So tell the boys to lower the flag,

because Johnny is dead today.

He’s buried somewhere overseas on a beach,

where the tide rushes in and away.

All the medals and speeches probably won’t reach

to where his soul’s fighting now.

But at least he died proud,

with his honor aloud,

and it’s over for him anyway.

Yes tell the boys to lower the flag,

because Johnny is dead today.

And although he’s gone, life will go on;

he’s a hero on this special day.

Copyright 2016 by Brad Thaxton. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.