Alabama rain.

rain patters softly against the window at a steady stream,
broken up occasionally by several seconds of deep rolling thunder.
from the third story classroom, students have ample opportunity to watch
as their downtrodden fellow classmates hurry into the building–
desperate to avoid the downpour biting at their heels.
streets like small streams cause each step to soak shoes,
drench pant legs, and further diminish morality on a miserable morning.
since arriving in the room the violent drumming on the roof has not ceased–
and with five minutes left in class, the mood since starting class has shifted
from hopeful, to doubtful, to drab.
the professor closes his book and looks outside, frowning slightly.
his car is parked several lots away.
he sighs to himself, reaching for his still-wet raincoat.
“well class, happy Monday.”

-ZCS

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monsters.

there are no monsters under my bed.
i am not terrified by nightmarish creatures from Hell,
not frightened by the shadows that shift around my room
as i lay awake at night.
no longer does the way my curtains wave
on a breezy summer night scare me,
or alert me of a dark presence entering my room.
horror films have trained me to dispel the notion of demons,
laugh at the thought of true exorcisms and possessions,
and simply shake my head at the idea of “hauntings.”
i don’t fear the made up or make believe.

today,
monsters only exist in the light.

no longer are they relegated to closets or corners
but instead they walk the streets dressed as you or me.
they prey on the innocent,
slaughter those who have done them no wrong,
and kill without a second thought.
monsters aren’t armed with teeth
but instead armed to the teeth,
with automatic killing weapons and explosives–
shattering buildings, bodies, and hearts wherever they go.
i used to be scared to flip off the lightswitch,
but now i’m scared to flip on the news.

-ZCS

symphonic vision.

the concert hall was by no means full.
seats, rows even
left unoccupied nearly five minutes prior to showtime.
orchestra members had already begun tuning
while last minute concert-goers moved quickly
to find their seats.
it was a quiet Thursday night, and
the majority of attendees were students fulfilling
requirements for an introductory music course.
but it didn’t matter.
it never mattered.
in each of the young musicians hearts
burned a passion for their art so fierce that nothing
could taint this sensation–this experience.
instead of a small music hall tucked away in the corner of campus,
they sat in the plush black cushioned seats of Carnegie with
instruments polished, solos perfected, and smiles wide.
it was what they had dreamed of since the age of six:
preforming.

-ZCS

automaton.

i am an automaton
with perfect symmetry
and poise
writing to you
from a desk
that never moves
with hands
that grip a pen
and nothing more.
cogs spin in my head
gears grind in my heart
pulling chains that
keep me moving
in a way that some
describe as human
yet I am not.
my eyes do not see
my ears do not hear
my mouth does not speak
and as long as
i sit in this wooden chair
i never will.
metal ribs and rivets
fastened not by God
but science and passion
forged by the
fires of Hephaestus.
copper cogs carefully cleaned
metal mechanics meticulously maintained
gears gleaned and gilded
i am an automaton.

-ZCS

in the early morning.

before sleep overcomes
and my body numbs,
before my tired eyelids fall
and dreams begin to call-
slide silently closer and listen
as i whisper the only thing on my mind
since the sun’s earliest rays
penetrated worn curtains
and shone ever brightly
into sleep filled eyes.
move closer still-
press your delicate ear
to my mumbling lips,
and listen as i speak
my simple truth.
listen closely,
in these early hours
i am open
and honest to a truth
too often gone unspoken.
darling,
i love you.

-ZCS

ringside sermon.

…so often we look towards the Heavens
to ask for fulfillment of our egotistical desires
and solutions for our smallest problems
before we turn to look at ourselves…
thud.
bare knuckles
ring truth in the ears of
those once incapable of understanding,
now unable to stand.
applause as his opponent’s
limp body hits sweat stained mat
but all he hears are police sirens,
echos of a life long forgotten–
voices over a radio requesting dispatch units
to 200 Block of South End
because John had too much and
Mom had finally had enough
so she tried to leave.
he prayed every day–
prayed she’d come to her senses
and walk out that battered front door.
if only she’d found the courage sooner.
if only he’d found the courage sooner!
blood on his busted knuckles,
on his busted face–
he tried wiping it away after each fight
yet still he felt it staining his body.
now to center ring they walk him,
hoisting his arms overhead,
outstretched towards the Heavens
praising a savior who’d never answered before
nor seemingly ever would–
a savior who’d never stepped up and into the ring
to fight for a boy who fought for a world
that never seemed to fight for him.
under these lights nothing can hide,
no scars or bruises left unseen
by the prying eyes of those
who’d never truly comprehend
the Testament he wrote with each blow to the chest.
his verses written in blood,
he speaks to a different congregation–
a different kind of church.
hard liquor fitting for paint remover
substitutes Communion wine
for a man who’d never know the difference.
he’s walked from the building
surrounded by bodyguards and training staff,
through throngs of people touching him,
blindly groping at his body
and singing the gospels of wanting and desire.
over screams, cries, and chants,
he answers his crowd of disciples–
shouting to the thronging masses,
all of them worshippers
at his Saturday night ringside sermon.

-ZCS