He was exhausted. The rain pattered and whistled in the evening air. He could hear the tick of the clock as it moved closer to midnight. His new home held an eerie quiet to it. The floorboards creaked and the fire crackled even as the howling wind began to pick up. He heard thunder strike. ‘One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four, five…’. Another crack, one mile away. The lights flickered and then the lights were out. He made his way downstairs; with each step the floorboards creaked. Thunder and then a flash of lightning. “Was that a streak of green?’, he thought. No, it couldn’t be. Lightning flashes are white, not green. The owls were hooting tonight. On most evenings, he typically only heard one. Tonight, it sounded as though they were hundreds; every owl in the forest must have been awake, watching for some unknown presence in the dark. He heard a light tap on the window. Just a gentle, *tap, *tap*, *tap*. As he walked down the stairs, he stumbled. He caught his fall on something furry. Soft, almost like feathers. It was his trench coat, hanging neatly on his coat rack. At least he had made it downstairs. He walked by his fire, growing dimmer with each passing moment. The flames danced back and forth, illuminating the shadows on the walls. He found his way to the kitchen, where he fumbled to grab a flashlight before heading down to the basement, where the breaker was located. *creak*, *creak*, *creak* went the floorboards. *creeeeaaak* made the door handle as he opened it and peered into the darkness below. Each step was heavy and the sound of wood made the journey tense. Water splashed as he hit the ground floor. He went deeper into the basement. He heard a gentle hoot and his flashlight beam hit glowing, green eyes in the dark.
Wild and Free: A poem by Mike Cole
You told me you wanted to be Wild and Free
and I knew we could not be.
For the sea turns cold when the sun sets
I could gamble no more and take no bets.
I thought love lasted forever,
And didn’t understand should it be severed.
When my heart broke it didn’t just break
The wrath did come, and my soul began to ache.
And in the nights where I can’t sleep.
I remember a life without love is bleak.
Sometimes in the past I wish I could stay
If only for another day.
Yet here I am on my own
The beaming light has long not shone.
Darkness I knew and darkness I left
What was taken was taken,
And what is gone is gone.
If only for an hour,
my love you devoured.
If I had stayed: A poem by Mike Cole
If I had stayed, where would I be?
Would my life have been an Ocean, my joy from the sea?
Or would flowered meadows have grown dark?
Devoid of life, lost of spark?
If I had stayed, would you have cared?
Or would I have been left, forgotten, to the creeping night?
Entombed, exhausted, succumbed to your inescapable blight.
The nightmares we believe
When we are children, we are afraid of the dark. We seek a candle to light us to bed. And still we dream of monsters. The battle between light and dark is constant. For without light, life cannot exist. The darkness twists and distorts, creating illusions and playing tricks on the mind. People spend most of their lives running and they forget the very reason they start running in the first place. It is only when the path forward is blocked that they have time to stop and catch their breath. And what do they see when they turn around? The creeping darkness.
So what is the darkness and what makes it so terrifying? Therein lies the problem. The darkness is many things at once; regret, sorrow, guilt, anger, jealousy, rage. It is every secret kept, every opportunity not taken, and the time that you can’t get back. It is death incarnate, always chasing and never slowing, only wearing. And at the same time… It is nothing at all. We shine a light through the darkness and see nothing. No monsters and what we thought would be there, isn’t.
And yet we are afraid. It is only when we see the sun peak over rolling hills do we realize that forever long the night seems, the sun always rises.
Personally, I find comfort in the darkness; its shadow like a blanket. Perhaps not so much the darkness but rather the light that shines through. Some nights you may get a rolling breeze, and the soft glow of moonlight, which can be both mesmerizing and somewhat unsettling. The breeze can easily turn into a howling and the light can slowly recede, leaving only darkness. And yet, when we open our eyes, we realize morning has already come.
The Don’t let Mike Starve fund
This post, fun fact, has been sitting in my drafts since July of 2017. It felt incomplete and I had always meant to add more. So come today, I reread the post and have found it to be one of my better pieces and what was missing, was found. The only change I have made since then and now is the final line, "And yet, when we open our eyes, we realize morning has already come." I hope you enjoy this piece and am glad I finally get to share it with the world.