crow arrives on nighttide

feathered aphotic revenant

slips in the window

while she sleeps

burrows its sharp beak

into her seasoned flesh

and tears at

the most tender morsels...




savors the sour flavors

of being hurt

of being fooled

of being played


she learns not to sleep

stays ever vigilant

lest crow

swallow everything

her pride

her independence

her reason

her life...

in the morning light

she sometimes wonders

if crow is real

is a force without

or instead

lives within…

a black cancer

of bone and blood

cawing chaos, while

beating sharp wings

within each breath

scraping claws

through fragile capillaries

frantic to escape

its self-made


©️2023 jai

Image by Angel Milostan from Pixabay

I Wait

sprawl in a wrinkled, uneasy bed
old demons and new share the covers
they jabber and snicker, toss and turn
chase away forgetful sleep
eyes on the shadowed ceiling
I wait for sunrise…

pour a cup of bitter, black coffee
greet the ghosts of past friends and lovers
angry and accusing in their stony silence
tears slide down surly cheeks
eyes on the cold, damp floor
I wait for sunset…

pace dingy, dark, shuttered rooms
regrets, fuck-ups, and what-ifs gather
lamplight glints on gunmetal gray
what you sow, so shall you reap
eyes on the bore of eternity
I wait for death’s release

©️2023 jai

Image by eberhard grossgasteiger for

Burn it Down

burn it all down, down to the ground
this turbulent house filled with scorn
a place where love cannot be found
emotions left will go unmourned

arrogant king can roast in hell
who will tell…? not this jezebel
gleefully, she’ll light the bedsheets
flee his castle, life now replete

©2023 jai

Italian Rispetto

Image by Николай Егошин from Pixabay

Earworm—two interlocking tanka

told too many times

“be quiet, child, you talk too much—

be seen and not heard”

she finds friends under her bed

who listen in the deep dark

dark has its own voice

a twisted cacophony

of hurt and anger

it plants a vengeful earworm

that screams day and night for blood

©️2023 jai

(Note: Some of you guys may have read this a few days ago. Somehow, I inadvertently moved it to a draft, so am republishing.)

Above Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Sleeping Dogs

stretched out like a sorrowful slithering snake
no warm sun, no cool moon to light its way
dank and dismal, ceiling scaly with stunted stars
purgatory’s hallway, colored tear-stained gray

barred doors line its bowed-in, petrous walls
fashioned from lies and anger, jealousy and greed
keys without locks, and locks without keys
hiding haunted hearts that eternally bleed

cold bricks weep night sweats, whiskey, and coke
discordant screams slide underneath sallow doors
unanswered prayers seep through crumbling cracks
curdle into a slippery stigmata upon the frigid floor

don’t break the painted-over seal, don’t peer inside
don’t look upon fractured faces hiding hurts and slights
don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to
don’t offer false salvation...let sleeping dogs lie

©2023 jai

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Wednesday’s Child

I was not born to be happy…

no bright star shone down on me

when I was dropped headfirst into the world

red-faced, kicking, screaming

and placed in my mother’s arms—

the only true home I’ve ever known

instead, a dark star witnessed my birth

stepped out of hell’s black hole

took me in its cold bony hands

and christened me “Wednesday’s Child”

damning me to a life of woe

not for me fair of face or full of grace

a clumsy witch with frizzy red hair

who mounts her broom

and beneath an alabaster moon

runs wild with the night

night understands, night knows

what beats inside my heart

what tangles and twists my soul

it doesn’t question, doesn’t judge

night is my beloved familiar

there’s a certain comfort in failure

a happiness inside misery

a pleasure in absent feeling

for a Wednesday’s Child

who has serenely accepted her fate


I was not born to be happy

©2023 jai

Featured image via Pinterest

Inspiration for “Wednesday’s Child”

Distressed Damsel

the damsel strolls in step with the night
snuggly swaddled in its ebony cloak
it has always been her one true friend
her moonstruck muse, whom she often misquotes

she scribbles her wishes on its blank black canvass
staples her dreams to the backs of dingy doves
nails her hopes to the wings of ravens
and sends them all to the stars above

she grimly dances with detestable devils
a wild, wicked waltz of spreading blight
hoots and howls at the muddy moon
scares away all the shiny white knights

©2023 jai

Image by kalhh from Pixabay