Taking Flight – A Poem

When the darkness clears,small

I am flying through the sky.

Though I know I am asleep,

I am more awake inside the dream.

Underneath me I can feel muscles

moving up and down with the wind.

I can hear the flap of wings

and see the flash of purple scales,

shining like jewels in the moonlight.

There are sparks coming off of

the scales and they float through

the darkness like stars.

I feel the dragon begin its decent

and wonder where it has taken me.

It sets down on the grass softly

and I slide off of its back.

I look around me and, through the shadows,

I see the home that I lived in as a child.

Its curtains are closed and there

is no one home, but there is a light on inside,

as if the house was expecting me.

The dragon urges me forward,

pushing open the front door with its tail.

I slip inside quietly, afraid to see what

lies in wait within the darkness.

I can hear the sounds from the memories

that are encased within the walls,

the torment that these walls encased,

hidden from the world outside.

I take a step into the house and a breeze

follows me inside, bringing purple stars

upon it. As I look at the stars,

they fall in a path leading upwards,

footsteps appearing on the wood

as if I had already walked this path before.

I slip up the stairs, careful to step

on each footstep. Each time I do,

the sound of bells rings through the air.

The footsteps lead to my old bedroom

and the door is already ajar.

I stand in front of it and place my hand

upon the wooden surface.

I see myself as a young child and wonder

where that boy went. I feel an answering

beat inside myself and know that

I carry him within me.

Inside, the room is much as I had left it

And I head to the closet to see

If my box of treasures is still there.

The box begins to vibrate and hum softly

When it feels my gaze upon it.

I approach the box with trepidation and

anxious anticipation. I open the box,

its wood worn smooth after so long,

and look inside. Lying nestled at the bottom

of the box, on a bed of purple felt,

is a pencil. It’s yellow and has a pink eraser.

My name is written upon one of its sides.

I remember this pencil. I wrote my first story

with this pencil, wielding it like a sword on the page.

I pick it up and it starts to shine when it

comes into contact with my skin.

Purple light, so reminiscent of those stars,

begins to shine out from it and I can see

words floating through the air, words that

it had written. Soon, my bedroom is filed

with the words of all the stories I wrote here,

the stories and the words were my escape,

my safety, my refuge, my salvation.

I hear the roar of the dragon outside

and run to join him, the pencil still

spilling out words and light.

Now it’s letting loose words from stories

that came after, novels and sonnets,

poems and stories, poems and prose,

so many words and each one a joy.

Outside, the words begin to float up

into the air. The dragon gives another roar

and lets out a stream of purple fire.

I run to it, clutching the pencil

in my hands. The dragon lowers his head

so that I can climb aboard and then

he takes flight. We fly up into all of

the words I have written, every syllable,

every letter. They are like clouds in the sky,

like smoke upon the water.

As we fly further, away from what I used to be

and towards what will be, I see more words

shining in the distance. These are gold in colour

and I know that they are words that

I have yet to write for my story is

far from done. I urge the dragon onward

and when we enter the glowing cloud of words

it is like entering the sun. The dragon

give one final roar and when I wake,

there is a pencil clutched in my hand,

glowing softly and pulsing with

soft light.

 

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Covenant by Michelle St. James – A Book Review

covenantCharlotte Duval is at a loss for what to do.

Her father has passed away and she is stuck with the task of what to do: close his antiques shop, the Galerie Duval in Paris or move on and go back to Los Angeles, where her own job at the Getty museum waits for her.

Does she close the shop, the one reminder of her father’s legacy and the only place she ever felt a connection to her father? Or does she return to LA where her job and her mother await her? The choice should be clear, but closing the shop would be like letting go of her father forever.

While working on repairing a desk for Christophe Marchand, one of the shops best clients, Charlotte discovers a ring embedded in one of the drawers of the desk. On the inside of the band, the phrase The fates lead the willing is inscribed in Latin.

When she drops off the desk at Marchand’s, she isn’t prepared for her reaction to him. Her heart races and she finds herself imaging what he would look like undressed. The air rushes out of her lungs in wanting. She is slightly unnerved, though, by the gentlemen guarding his home. They are carrying guns. What kind of man needs men who have guns to protects him?

That man is Christophe Marchand. Head of the Paris mob, he’s not a man to be trifled with. He rules the Paris mob with an iron fist. But he is far more than a mobster. He is a collector of memories. After his father squandered the Marchand fortune and sold off pieces of furniture to pay bills after Christophe’s mother died. Pieces that Christophe remembered form his childhood.

Christophe has painstakingly put the house back together, piece by piece. The house makes him remember his mother most of all. Christophe hadn’t realized how much his mother held the family together, his brother, his father and himself, until she was gone.

For his part, Christophe is not prepared for his reaction to Charlotte. It is almost primal

When men break into the galerie and threaten Charlotte, demanding the ring, one of them holds a knife and Charlotte knows real fear. The men give her one day to hand over the ring. The thought of them coming back and potentially doing more harm to her and her fathers shop fills her with even more fear.

She turns to the only person she thinks can help her: Christophe Marchand…

There is so much to love about Coveted. Michelle St. James always manages to fill the pages with a story that moves me, that strikes a match and sets the world she creates aflame. However, she went one step above with Coveted. Words can’t express how much I love this book.

Christophe isn’t your average mob guy. He’s a man with so much heart but he keeps it hidden behind a hard wall, afraid to let anyone in. The fact that she gives us such a deep look into his psyche and personality deepens his connection with us. He’s so afraid to let anyone in that when Charlotte lights his match, he tries to forget her, tries not to think about her, but the heart wants what it wants. St. James paints this struggle so well that, by the time they come together, I found myself cheering for him.

We’re also given a deep look into Charlotte’s life. Living in L. A. in a job she likes, dealing with her washed up actress of a mother, St. James shows us a woman on the edge, wanting change, wanting adventure. Unsure of what she wants, heartbroken after the death of her father, Charlotte knows she just wants more.

They find solace in each other and watching them come together was a joyous experience. I was struck by the depth of these two characters. The secondary characters also sparkled and lit up the pages, but this is Christophe and Charlotte’s story, make no mistake.

I love how Michelle St. James tells the story of two people who don’t know that they’re lost until they find the other half of their hearts in the most unlikely of ways. I always say that this is the best book Michelle has written and it’s no different this time around. Michelle has given us a story of two people who are so entwined in their lives that they almost don’t recognize salvation when it happens.

Covenant was such an emotional journey that it left me wanting more! It had heart, humour and was hot enough to set the pages afire. I can’t wait until Revenant is released in October to find out how the story continues!

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The Raven’s Lament – Flash Fiction

smallOliver hated waiting.

He was a creature of the instantaneous. He wanted gratification now, for it was his to take and he had taken so much of it over the years. Oliver tapped his fingers impatiently on the table and tried to calm himself.

He found that being kept waiting was one of the most insufferable things that human beings did to one another. When did the common niceties fall by the wayside? To pass the time, he looked at himself in the mirror at the back of the room. He knew it was a two-way mirror and that he was being watched by doctors from behind it, but he paid them no mind.

He had a thin face with a skin that was almost translucent. Dark hair that flared out from a widows peak and flowed down to his shoulders in a riot of curls. Thick, supple lips that could smile easily and ice blue eyes that never did.

His looks drew people in. Women or men, it didn’t matter to him who he maimed. They always came to him. It just proved an important point to Oliver’s mind: people put too much emphasis on looks and didn’t bother to find out what made a person tick.

Thankfully, he was driven to find out what made people function. He had come to the conclusion that blood ruled over everything else, even the heart and the mind. Oliver had studied many of those, too in his time. His work was never dull.

The doors hissed open and there was a woman standing there. Oliver had to keep his temper in check. He would leap across the table at her if he wasn’t chained to the floor. Her blond hair looked luminous and perfect, not a hair out of place. Her own blue eyes were filled with the light that his lacked. Her skin was still the same shade of soft pink that had always enthralled him. The flush of her skin meant that her blood ran close to the surface. He had had to experiment on her to see just how closely it ran. Blood ruled all.

When she spoke, her voice was soft: “How are you, Oliver?”

He smiled and she saw her flinch. Good. “I’m doing wonderfully, Lenore. How kind of you to pay me a visit. I do so miss the kindness of human company.”

She let a grimace slash across her face for a second before the bland smile was back. Making her way toward the table, Oliver saw that she carried an insulated container used for carrying food. Lenore placed it on the table and sat primly across from him, her hands in her lap.

“I see you still have a stick up your ass, Lenore. I thought my lessons would have loosened you up a little.”

The frown was back and her skin paled. “I understand why you’re upset Oliver. But you should be happy. The doctors have judged you unfit to stand trial.”

A laugh escaped his lips. “You’re my wife.” His words were venomous. “Do you think I can forgive you for this?”

“It had to stop you, Oliver. I couldn’t let you continue, especially when you started teaching me…lessons.”

“I would have thought the letting of blood would have taught you something. You were supposed to have learned. I see now that I didn’t teach you enough.”

Lenore’s hands twitched in her lap. Looking at her, he saw that her eyes were glassy with tears unshed. The sight of her crumbling composure brought him joy. “Do you feel no remorse, Oliver? Do you not lament what you did, the lives you ruined?”

Another laugh, louder this time, slipped free. It was a gleeful sound which made Lenore flinch. “I’m an artist. I don’t expect you to understand my art and my canvasses. You always were particularly uncultured when it came to the finer things in life.”

“Human beings aren’t canvasses, Oliver. And torturing people isn’t art.”

“The meat puppets had lessons to learn. I am their teacher and they became something more than their mundane bodies under my hand. I brought them glory.”

“You carved quotes into their flesh!” Lenore had begun to lose her composure. “You carved words into my flesh!”

Oliver felt his lips curl into a smile. “And what were the words I bestowed upon you, Lenore?”

She shivered. “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door! Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”” She took in a breath to compose herself. “You tortured fifty-one people, including me. They were calling you The Raven, for crying out loud. You had a following of other crazy fucks like you.”

“I was close to the end of my masterpiece. So close. My canvass of meat puppets was not complete. I wanted the words of the scribe to be on living flesh, to create a living poem.”

“Oliver, do you hear yourself? Do you? I know the man I married is in there somewhere. When did you become like this? Or was he always there?”

“You betrayed me. I chose to bring you glory and you gave me to the wolves. You still have lessons to learn, wife.”

“No, I don’t Oliver. I don’t.”

She pushed the container towards him. “I brought you something. It’s your favourite.”

He let out a laugh and slid open the zipper. Inside the container was an ice cream cake. It had always been a weakness of his. It was the words written on the cake that made his heart stop. Written in red icing were the words: “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore.”

Sitting in the cake was her wedding band and engagement ring. “The papers were finalized yesterday. I’m no longer your wife.” She whispered these words so that he would have no choice but to pay attention.

Standing, Lenore reached out to run a hand along his cheek, like a brush of feathers against his skin, and then she was gone.

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A Map of Stars – A Poem

This poem is for Michael. Thank you for all that you are. 6b1a55185da30e4e63f826f8b81fd01c

*

Every action also

creates several possible

reactions, the outcome

of choices that

weren’t made but

still trace a

path against the

stars. Sometimes, it

is as if

I can look

back through the

darkness of my

past and see

what the stars

would have brought

for me if

I had chosen

differently. If, instead

of living the

life I live

now, I had

run instead. When

I first met

you, I was

enraptured, entranced, enthralled;

I was also

terrified. I had

never had anyone

treat me like

you did, with

kindness and compassion,

with understanding and

passion. I did

not know kindness

in my life

from men, had

not known what

it was like

to be completely

accepted and even

cherished by another

man. I wanted

to run so

far away from

you but at

the same time,

there was no

way I could

have. I decided

to face what

frightened me head

on and instead

chose to love

you completely as

you did me.

I was terrified

but my love

for you was

stronger than my

fear. I look

back across the

black sky shining

with stars’ like

diamonds, each star

a mark on

the map that

we have made

together. If I

had run, I

would have missed

every moment that

led up to

the moment when

you first told

me that you

loved me, the

times we have

travelled the world,

the small moments

when I’ve learned

what a real

relationship is like.

I would have

missed the moment

when you asked

me to be

your Husband. I

know that somewhere,

within that map

of stars, there

is another version

of me who

made a different

choice, who ran

instead of staying.

To him, I say

“Look at everything you’ve missed. And everything still to come.”

To you, I say

“I love you.”

Though those words

aren’t ever enough.

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The Daughter of Wands – A Poem

When I first met you,1e5fc5cdcaddfc9afa679bba8409a4c1

I was struck by the light

that emanated from you.

As I came to know you better,

I admired your free spirit,

your willingness to love,

and your thirst to live.

You have been a constant

source of inspiration for me,

always willing to lend me

some light when the need arises

until I was able to find my own.

You are a visionary, always able

to look into the murky clouds

of the future and succeed,

even when you’re not sure

of the outcome that awaits you.

You are brave, able to take on

any challenge that confronts you

when most would admit defeat.

You are passionate in everything

that you take on, all that you do,

filling all those around you

with excitement. I am often

in awe of you, of how,

like a snake sheds its skin,

you cast off the parts of yourself

that are holding you back

so that you are left only with light,

with the pure vibrancy of you.

I have seen you transform

into the many facets of yourself:

Mother, friend, lover, confidant.

You are all this and more

and I am filled with wonder

at the thought of you

and what you have yet

to become.

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A Journey Through The Cards – A Poem

I am on a continual journey.smaller-version

I often feel like I am the Fool

from within my deck of Tarot cards.

I am standing at a precipice

looking around me at the world,

not as I knew it, but as I know it now.

I’ve been on this journey for years’ now

and have met many obstacles.

There have been times when

I wanted so badly to give up,

when the Swords showed their edge

and drew blood. But Swords are two-sided,

so that at other times, they helped me

to rebuild the Tower that had fallen to the ground.

When I started to get better and believe

in my own magic, in what I could create

and the strength of my spirit,

it was the Wands who were my guides,

lighting the fire inside of me

so that it burned bright and strong for all to see.

They urged me to create, to live, to dance.

I did not have to do this journey alone.

My Cups overflowed with people

that I met along the way or that I already knew,

some who would lead me towards my Strength,

like the Empress or the Princess of Pentacles.

Yet there were those who would want me to be

the Hanged Man like the Devil who wanted

to keep me down. Still I ventured onward,

the ground littered with Pentacles that

shone like the Sun brought to land.

Yet it wasn’t riches that I desired

but a rich life. At one point on my journey,

I looked up into the sky and saw

The Star shining so brightly.

It had been there all along, guiding me

towards my future. If I had given in,

I would not have the life I have now.

In a way, Death did come to me,

giving me an ending to something

I could no longer tolerate and

a new beginning to something new,

something wonderful. I stared up at the sky,

the seventy-eight cards fluttering

past my vision, each of them a portal

or a window so that I could look inside of myself,

see every step I had taken, the cards like

stepping stones in the darkness across the sky.

As I watched the Star burned even brighter,

shining down upon me. I knew that my journey

was not over, but I was not alone.

I would continue, for this is my journey

and I will take it one card at a time.

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To Touch the Sun – A Poem

He got onman on bus

the bus wearing

a smile. I

called out to him.

“Morning!”

He gave me

a vague wave

but his smile

widened. I had

heard him mumble

a few words,

a few syllables,

to himself. Sometimes,

when he did

speak, it was

stilted, as if

the words were

weighed down by

memory and he

was unable to

pull them out.

I knew that

he was mentally

disabled but I

didn’t know what

kind. It didn’t

matter. I always

saw people looking

when he mumbled,

when he shuffled

to find his

seat, when he

made noises at

the back of

his throat. People

would stare at

me when I

spoke to him,

as if apologizing

for the fact

that he was

speaking to me.

He sat in

the seat behind

me. We rode

this way for

a minute or two,

me in my

seat, he in

his, until he

said to me:

“Do you ever wonder what makes the clouds glow so brightly?”

I turned to

face him. He

was staring out

the window at

the early morning

sunrise with childlike

wonder. I shrugged.

“I don’t know. I think the sun has something to do with that.”

He touched the

window, drew a

finger along the

glass as if

he were able

to touch the sun.

“The clouds always look happiest when they’re orange. I like red clouds fine, but they look happiest when they’re orange and the air outside is crisp.”

He took a

deep breath as

if he could

smell the air

outside instead of

the stale air

inside a bus.

“Or when the clouds are yellow. They look so happy, so full of joy. I want to be happy like that, bright like the clouds.

He took a

deep breath as

if he would

never get his wish.

“I remember when my mother used to take me out to play as a child. The sky was always pink when I was with her. I don’t like purple though.”

I had been

mesmerised by his

voice. It was

the most I

had ever heard

him speak.

“Why don’t you like the colour purple?”

He looked away

from the window

and right at

me. I saw

right into his

eyes, they were

a deep and

gorgeous blue, so

clear that it

seemed he could

see into me.

“The clouds were purple on the morning my mother died.”

I’m shocked by

his words and

there doesn’t seem

to be anything

I can say.

I try anyways.

“I’m sorry.”

I mutter lamely.

“Don’t be sorry. Whenever I see pink clouds, its my mother saying hello.”

The silence is

broken only by

the sounds of

the bus and

other passengers. I

think he’s fallen

silent when he

speaks once more.

“It’s my mother saying hello.”

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