First Cigar

The scrape of glass against glass echoed through the empty rooms as he lifted the cork free from the decanter. 

The smell of the whiskey struck him immediately – an old and expensive vintage that he bought just for this moment. What vintage it was exactly, he couldn’t have said. He never remembered these little details. He knew he had the bottle stored somewhere, to be filled with cheap whiskey if he ever had to entertain a guest he didn’t particularly like.

He had learned that trick from his grandfather.

He was tempted to stick his finger in and taste the alcohol, but he restrained himself and, instead, poured two fingers over two grey square whiskey rocks. He replaced the cork in the decanter and looked around the unfurnished rooms. 

Tall, white walls, freshly built, all awaiting the people that would make them a home. And one woman in particular, who would give them the aesthetic touch that he wasn’t capable of providing.

He looked forward to seeing what she would do with everything he had built.

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The Roads That Bind Us

A river of frozen tar, front to back
From horizon to horizon it flows

Wheels beating in rhythm steady, black on black
An engine of pumping iron rows

Mountains rise and clouds fly
Forests and oceans come and go

The endless earth and sky
Together in the distance grow

Vivid visions rush past my eye
Markers on a greater journey

I see a growing family
A grand and prideful legacy

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A Son’s Commitment

You know, it’d be easier if you were an asshole about it.

“So, what’s the story?” Charlie asked, peeling the foil back from his cheeseburger. He stared straight ahead, out the windshield of the car, and into the night that was punctuated with streetlamps rather than stars.

Junior didn’t touch his food. He stared ahead as well, not wanting to look at his father. He wasn’t ashamed — no, shame was long past. But he was conflicted. He spoke quietly and flatly. “You know, it’d be easier if you were an asshole about it.” He looked at his father, hoping to glean some insight into his thoughts.

Charlie took a bite and chewed slowly, his face remaining stoic, a bit of grease dripping into his thin blonde beard. When he swallowed and promptly took another bite, Junior knew he wasn’t going to get an answer to that.

“I don’t suppose you’d take ‘I can’t tell you’ as an answer,” Junior turned his gaze back outside to the parking lot and failed to suppress a deep sigh. He could see the vague outline of his own face in the translucent reflection. He looked tired and dead, his own golden beard thick and unkempt. He suddenly felt as though that specter in the window wasn’t him, but was haunting him, and he shifted his gaze to his hands as they idly wrung themselves out.

Charlie wiped his mouth with a napkin and spoke, simply and sternly. “Well, I might. Why can’t you tell me?” He took another bite.

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Who Brings the Dawn?

The King of the Sunrise
A protector revered
Oft sought to advise
His power widely feared

The King of the Moonlight
Rules no one and nothing
Though he’s not quite as bright
His light is never waning

As the daylight shines, the people praise
He who brought them life in golden rays
The great and shining King of the Sunrise
Without whom they would surely meet demise

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Won’t You Please Protect Me?

Father, I’m afraid
Turmoil is all I see
All order is frayed
Won’t you please protect me?

I can’t, said father
What would you desire?
That I lock you up, life withdrawn?
Never to see the light of dawn?

Go out, my son
And battle on
Sword firm in hand and standing strong
I am old, yet this night is long

You must face these wars
This world is soon yours

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Tears for Victory

As I stand on high, a victor
A dream undying
I look to mother and father
They both are crying

Why? I ask my father

My tears are for pride, my son
You’ve grown into a great man
Ascended, a rising sun
Made well what in pain began

Why? I ask my mother

My tears are sorrowful loss
You’ve gone so far from my love
A great chasm you are across
My being empty thereof

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Sowing Seeds of Heroism

What makes a hero?

Is it the legacy they leave behind? The stories told over and over, slowly changing and evolving as the ripples of their actions echo across time?

Is it their daring deeds, which fill witnesses with hope? The choices they make that spread the habit of heroism to all affected? The inspiration they send coursing through the veins of society?

Is it the challenges they overcome? The singular villain or the faceless resistance of the masses? Is it the challenge itself, or the overcoming that makes the hero?

Is it the will that fuels them to stand apart from all the others despite no need to do so? Is it the causeless, ceaseless ambition within them to surpass all boundaries of expected behavior and vault themselves into new experiments in the sacred art of success?

Or could it be their origin — the story of how the ordinary became the exquisitely, uncommonly abnormal?

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