Chapter Eight

THE DARK SIDE

Introduction

APOCALYPSE FINAL BATTLEFIELD BENEATH THE CLOUD
ONCE UPON A DREAM NIGHTFALL VISIONS
NO ONE PARADISE LOST  


Introduction

I saved this chapter for last for a some good reasons. Each of us have a side to our personalities that we keep deep inside. Our worst nightmares and deepest fears lie there and we seldom care to drag those fears out in the open for examination. We save that until either the last possible moment or we wait until the fears come upon us without our help. So in a way you might say I've saved the worst for last.

Not that I feel that these are the worst poems by any means for in fact, "Apocalypse" may very well be the best I've ever written in the final evaluation. It's certainly the most bizarre.

For the most part, these poems deal with the dark side of life and with the realities of the dangerous world we live in today. With the incredible destructive power of modern day weapons it could all be over by the time you finish this paragraph. We live in an age of terrorism. Not just the problems in certain middle eastern countries but here in our own homeland. The ability to destroy all life on earth as we know it today exists in the hands of a very few people. And the sanity of those people is often called into question by some of their actions.

It's something to think about but it's almost too scary to think about for long. So what I've tried to do in this chapter is to put it all into a different kind of perspective so maybe it's not quite so intimidating as in real life. The thing to remember though is that the horror does exist in our lives and when it all falls apart it won't be a dream.

So please, join me on this final walk beneath the cloud upon the final battlefield into the nightmare world where even your deepest fears can become a reality... a very different kind of reality.
A. W. G.


APOCALYPSE (THE FOUR HORSEMEN)


The western sunset fades from view,
Dark clouds gather in the evening sky.
As the night approaches you can hear them laugh
Like rolling thunder as the red sun dies.

There's Something different in the air tonight
You can't recall from the nights before.
The sky is darker though the moon is full,
A fear creeps inward that you can't ignore.

The wolves start howling from their secret place,
Your heart beats faster as you hear their sound.
Though the night is cool you begin to sweat
For fear you've wandered on forbidden ground.

The lightening flashes in the creeping gloom,
A flash so bright you must shield your eyes.
A sound is carried on the whistling wind,
A rumbling on earth, not from the skies.

As you peer into the distant dark
You tremble and strain in attempt to hear.
Discovering at last the thunder has stopped,
But the rumble you heard is growing near.

Like an old time movie when the posse rides,
A sound of horses in a desperate race.
Their pounding slows as they come in sight
And their shadows fall on your fearful face.

The sound draws near as you stare in awe,
A flash of moonlight reveals the source.
You raise your eyes to the horror there,
A warrior rides on a great white horse.

In his hand he grips a wooden bow,
Arrows strapped tight across his back.
His eyes blaze fire from his burning soul
As he steels himself for his next attack.

He snaps his reigns and the horse rears up,
And you hear him speak as he passes by:
"All must bow in fear as the Conqueror rides,
For if you stand to fight you will surely die!"

You turn to run but your path is blocked,
The next horse steps in your line of sight.
The rider stares from his hollow eyes
On a horse as black as the darkest night.

An evil smile lights his bony face,
His skin hangs loose from his withered frame.
You stand there frozen in a moment's time
And you hear his voice as he speaks his name.

"I'm known as Hunger in the barren lands,
My strength is great as you soon shall learn.
I'll bring Starvation to the young and old,
The wheat will die as my powers burn!"

He rides off swiftly in the dark of night,
You watch in silence as he fades from view.
You feel his anger as you stand in place,
His echoed laughter carries back to you.

You wait in fear as the next horse comes,
Your blood runs cold with a sense of dread,
Then your soul cries out at the man you see
Riding high and proud on a horse of red.

In a suit of armor with the strength of steel,
His blood runs freely from his many scars.
You kneel in terror for you know his name,
He's the ageless horror, the Prince of Wars.

You pray in silence that your life he'll spare,
The moon gleams brightly from his mighty swords.
He stands before you with a chilling grin,
You hear the thunder in his spoken words.
"Many battles I've fought in the name of God,
I've laughed in joy as the cowards flee.
Now the time has come for the War of wars
And the worst of all is soon to be!"

"Now bow your head as my partner rides,
For the Final War is coming soon,
Then you'll see the truth in the words I speak
And his hands so strong shall seal your doom!"

A pale horse stands when you raise your eyes,
Your heartbeat quickens while you hold your breath.
It's rider's eyes glow with the fires of Hell,
You know you're looking on the face of Death.

The moon grows dark as you hear his voice,
You think this night may never end.
You listen closely to the words he speaks
While you plead with God to forgive your sins.

"In my hands I hold the Book of Fates,
I follow those who have come tonight.
All their powers lie in my bony hands,
Only I can end their earthly flights!"

"I've come for you and for all your kind
And you'll ride with me through eternity.
The time has come for this world to end.
I am the Final Destiny!"

"And yet there's still a greater Force
That will follow when we've come and gone.
Though your life will end tonight my friend,
The flow of Time shall continue on!"

"For somewhere deep in the realms of space
Beyond this sad and dying earth,
A day will dawn on another world,
And Time awaits it's fiery birth!"

Then, when at last his speech is done
You hear a bell so softly ringing,
And only then do you realize
You've awakened from your silent dreaming.
In joy you rise from your sweat soaked bed
And laugh at all your nightmare fears.
You run outside to greet the dawn
And see the sun through your flowing tears.

Now as your nightmare memories fade
Your ears are filled with earth's sweet sound.
You bow your head in grateful prayer
And then see the hoof prints on the ground.

THE END?...


THE FINAL BATTLEFIELD

There's a storm that's fast approaching,
Not a thundercloud in sight.
And a war will soon be raging
That no soldier will ever fight.

As the silos birth their children
You will hear no newborn's cry.
Just a shriek of unholy terror,
Then two suns in the sky.

While the mushroom clouds reach upward,
In their shadows you will kneel.
As the sky falls down upon you
Here on the final battlefield.

Long before the dust can settle,
Glowing fires will light the scene,
Of the cities' falling ashes
And the rivers turned to steam.

Then the tortured cries will haunt you,
As the broken bodies scream,
From the agony of dying
And a billion shattered dreams.

When the walking dead pass by you
You will know your fate is sealed.
There can be no new beginnings
Here on the final battlefield.

For the darkness shall surround you,
As you draw each poisoned breath.
And you'll beg for quick relief
When you smell the stench of Death.

Then when it's finally over,
And you waken from your dream,
Don't think it couldn't happen,
But think what it would mean.

When the threads of Peace are severed
From the mighty swords we wield.
For there is no certain future
Beyond the final battlefield.


BENEATH THE CLOUD


Here we sit, beneath the cloud
With two suns in the sky,
Knowing we have reached the End
And now mankind must die.

I wonder, if we had the chance
To do it all again,
Would we have learned the lessons
That were taught us by our sins?

And if there's no one left to blame
And only we survive,
Would we refuse to blame ourselves
If we're somehow left alive?


The cloud is rising higher now,
The heat will soon be felt.
There's no place left to hide
When reality starts to melt.

We had a chance to change it all
But never took the time.
Now fallout covers our mistakes
Good-bye cruel world, Good-bye.


ONCE UPON A DREAM


In dreams so dark where demons walk,
A phantom turns a key.
Unlocking doors within my mind
Which hide insanities.

There lies the final boundary
'Twixt all the things I know,
And all the things I see in dreams
That haunt my mortal soul.

And as the phantom leads me through
These thresholds in my mind,
I fear for my salvation
From the horrors I may find.

Now as the door behind me slams,
The colors fade to gray.
For here within the nightmare lands
There is no light of day.

With shadows dancing all around,
I peer into the gloom.
My phantom guide had disappeared
To lead more souls to doom.

And now I start my fated walk
Upon a winding path.
Eroded by the winds of Time
And twisted by it's wrath.

My journey takes me to a place
Where clouds of fog roll by,
Obscuring all the boundaries
Between the earth and sky.

Here broken bones of foolish dreams
Lay scattered on the ground,
Like remnants of a distant past
Where faith was never found.

A land of fading memories
And long forgotten friends.
The things of youth I tossed away
Like dust upon the wind.

More careful now, I watch my step
In fear that I may fall.
For those who stumble on their past
Stay trapped within it all.

So on I walk along the path
Not knowing where it leads.
Just urged along by voices that
My sleeping spirit heeds.

The scenes are more familiar now
But still a bit unreal,
Like looking through a misty veil
That blurs but can't conceal.

And now the path becomes a road
I travel every day.
The people and the places known
And passed along the way.

But suddenly the road becomes
A living obstacle.
People that I take for granted
Have joined to form a wall.

I plead with them to let me pass,
But they ignore my words,
As if I speak a foreign tongue
That none have ever heard.

Then as the reach to pull me in,
The vision disappears.
I'm in a place I've never been
Surrounded by my fears.

An awful place where nothing lives
And only terror grows.
With jagged cliffs and darkened caves
Where demons surely go.

Here clouds of glowing, drifting dust
Float quietly in the night,
And as they pass this barren land
They shed unearthly light.

And on the ground are many trails
That stretch into the dark.
Where present fears and future dreams
May some day leave their mark.

There's no one here to tell me now
Which path that I should choose.
The silent cliffs and eerie dust
Can offer me no clues.

So on I walk not knowing what
The future holds in store.
Then all at once the path leads me
Back to the phantom's door.
In silence he awaits me there
Keys dangling from his hand.
Then speaks with words I've never heard
But somehow understand.

As he explains the dream to me,
I find myself in awe.
There was a simple message
Behind everything I saw.

The land that I first walked upon
Showed visions of my Past.
A place of dreams forgotten and
The things that didn't last.

Where dreams that weren't meant to be
Lay scattered all around.
And hopes that never came to pass
Lay dying on the ground.

And then I walked through Present times
Among the things I knew.
Where strangers that I had ignored
Refused to let me through.

I learned that I should not ignore
But take the time to greet.
For they could be a friend someday,
Those strangers that I meet.

Then next I had a glimpse at what
May be in future days,
If we don't stop the wars we wage
And change our deadly ways.

For nothing lives on barren earth
And man can not stand proud,
If we should choose to take the path
Through radioactive clouds.

And now the phantom turns the key
This dream has reached the end.
I step back to reality
On which my dreams depend.


NIGHTFALL

Wandering lost and lonely
On the streets again.
Shrouded demon memories,
Whispered on the wind.

Something in the air,
Calling out to me.
Tempting me to follow,
Set the demons free.

Evening shadows lengthen,
Stretching into night.
Leading me through darkness,
Far removed from sight.

Footsteps falling softly,
Full moon on the rise,
Casting ghostly shadows
Across the cloudy skies.

Hear the night wind sighing,
Stories there to tell,
Of lost and lonely lovers,
And nightmares sent from Hell.

Time draws near to midnight,
Still I wander on.
Casting backward glances,
Not feeling quite alone.

Silence rules the evening,
As fog comes rolling in.
Gray blankets hide the moonlight,
It's glow is lost within.

Down below I stumble,
The path so hard to find.
Thoughts keep drifting back
To sunlight left behind.

Mind is growing weary,
My sight obscured by tears.
Struggling with the demons,
And all my empty fears.

Trapped within the Nightfall,
Nothing here to see.
Losing all direction,
As darkness conquers me.


VISIONS


Well I've had lonely visions
When the moon was shining bright.
Waiting for the sunrise,
They kept me up all night.

I've seen golden stairways,
Leading to the sky.
I've glimpsed a piece of heaven,
When love would make me high.

I saw the flame of hell's fire,
When love had shot me down.
I dreamed I was a lost soul,
And lay dying on the ground.

When the evening wind is blowing,
And you're out there in the cold,
You know your debts are paid
From all the dreams you sold.

And all around you see,
The darkness closes in.
The visions coming softly,
To steal the night again.


NO ONE

Help to save the children,
Try to save yourself.
Someone has to care,
Before there's no one left.

Have you seen the flames
Or felt the spreading fire?
They took away the net
But we're still up on the wire.

And even in the end,
The strong may not survive.
They may not have the chance
If no one's left alive.


PARADISE LOST


Now it's five a.m. and raining
In the city by the bay.
Though the morning's coming quickly
Seems a hundred years away.

As the freeway signs flash by me
I begin to settle down.
I'm so glad it's all behind me
And I'm headed out of town.

I remember in the sixties,
Seemed this was the place to be.
Open minds and hippie dreamers
In a land of harmony.

Fancy cars and pretty women
Filled the San Francisco nights,
And the hippies out in Berkeley
Fought for peace and human rights.

Many came for fame and fortune
And the weather was so fine.
Life was simple, free and easy,
Taking trips and sipping wine.

Once I thought I'd like to stay here
In the California sun.
Search for gold and make a fortune
Till my working days were done.

Find a girl and build a future,
Spend our weekends on the beach.
But the gold in California
Is a dream that's out of reach.

Seems the dream turned sour somewhere,
Like the smell that's in the air,
From a million smoking tail pipes
And no one seems to care.

All the homeless in the alleys
With their families clothed in rags,
Keeping shattered hopes and memories
In their stolen shopping bags.

See the Yuppies in their Audis
Trying to play the money game.
Wondering how they'll pay the rent
After taxes stake their claim.

With the homos and the punkers
Making plans to get away,
As they see their lovers dying
Now that Aids has come to stay.

Though the fancy cars still cruise,
No one really gives a damn.
Guess it comes from being stuck
In a thousand traffic jams.

Now the open minds are closed,
All the people wear disguise.
Seems the fame and fortune's gone,
But it comes as no surprise.

For the paradise was lost
And the flowers have all died.
Cause the people that remain,
Chose the money over pride.