Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Set in Stone

by Bryan Murphy

The King
 The fortress refracts the silent scorch of noon;
here below, warriors scream and kill.
The King cannot endure this fate for his men,
torn at the roots by a maelstrom of greed,
short lives halved in his service.
Yet fate wills the fortress be his.

It is done. He staggers among those excised
from self-awareness. Is he the only soul alive?
His eyes burn with sweat and blood, his own,
sinuses aflame with the stench of others.
He tastes vomit, spills it, drops to his knees.
The fortress is his. This cannot go on.

He prays. There is no answer. Duty
lifts him to his feet, forces them forward,
up the grassy knoll toward stone walls
untouched by mayhem, aloof
yet vanquished, one strong link
in the chain he would see set
around his neck before it is severed.

The sun slithers toward the mountain backdrop,
mutates into two cold orbs in a female face
that pierce him, halt his steps, tell him
all he wishes to hear: peace in his time,
abundance, fertility, his name blessed.
He knows her provenance; the price
seems trivial.

The Actor

Midsummer sun lays siege; inside the fortress walls,
damp chill inhabits every patch of shade.
Costumed bodies move between two seasons,
today’s future and tomorrow’s past: self and role.

Seeing is believing: the dungeon walls ooze,
set-lights dazzle. I cover my grief,
but let it show, at my adviser’s grisly death.
We are all entombed below the Alpine stone.

From indestructible ramparts, my brother
heralds my kingship over all I survey.
For this, I have traded my children’s souls
with the Underworld queen.

I wonder about driving conditions
back to the city as I renege on that deal.
Mayhem will follow.
(They should be okay.)

Sun sets into stone; we shoot and shoot.
Every man-jack of cast and crew gives all:
it’s only a B-movie, but it’s our B-movie.

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