My Empire, Collapsed

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Photo credit: Daniel Eskridge

So this is what my empire has been built upon:
A cracked foundation, that even now,
As I sign edicts to expand my domain
And further the reach of my dominion,
Crumples beneath my feet,
Leaving every effort to improve—
To expand and prosper—
Hollow and futile.
Though the season for another harvest draws near,
No crops will yield in this barren fallow,
Devoid of nutrients, inhospitable to sustenance;
And there, beyond the horizon
You bring forth your armies,
Armed with castigation and ridicule,
Tongues sharpened with prevarication,
Stinging me with baseless criticism.
Is it a wonder I flee before you
When you have uprooted me with your own hand?
So do not dare to chase me
Or hurl spears at my back
As I retreat from my kingdom to more fertile lands,
Enveloped in peace and hospitality;
Do not sneer in jealousy
When you court trade and import with another,
As though our one-sided alliance is in fair taste.
I have looked to a new horizon
And found something better,
So you can repair the foundation of the empire
I have left to collapse;
And should you fail in your endeavors,
Noble as you assure me they are,
Do not look to me to forge a new path for you;
My hammer is yours to wield no longer.

A Betrayed’s Lament

 

 

 

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Sketch by claralieu

You bring out the worst in me:
That darkness I’ve struggled so hard to suppress.
I didn’t realize it until today,
Staring at meaningless words
On an artificial screen,
Trying to capture the essence
Of everything I feel for you,
Everything I’ve felt.
It has all unraveled before my eyes,
And the person I thought made me strongest
Through nothing but a smile and presence
Has allied with my worst enemy
To deceive me, trick me,
And eviscerate my emotions.
It is the words you speak,
Melting the coldness of my soul,
Because they are exactly what I yearn for;
But without action they mean nothing,
And you would not lift a finger,
Even if it meant I fell to my death.
You have killed me, you know;
And in the jowls of Tartarus
I languish in my solitude,
Wondering if Hades deems this justice
Or, like you, if he just doesn’t care.

The Sins We Cannot Forgive

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Art by Tab109

In spite of the pomp and confidence
You exude every waking moment,
Your silence is baffling;
Nary a sound slips from your tongue,
At least not in my presence,
Because your words are reserved
For the debased and debauched
Who would only drag your soul
To the depths of a hell you think you crave.
When once we were soldiers,
Commanding nothing but our private legion—
Because we needed nothing or no one else—
You personified nobility,
And not a person who laid eyes upon you
Could ever deny it;
But your eyes lay not on me any longer,
And whether it’s because of your sin or guilt,
You cannot bear to look me in mine,
Perhaps for fear you will expose your shame
Even as you feign contentment.
But I’ve seen into your soul, friend,
And no reassurance or prose
Will convince me of your state;
You are damned, shackled to a fate
That you have only yourself to blame for,
And though God may forgive all sins,
We are not in heaven and I am not God.