beneath the surface

Flash Fiction and Poetry by L. Michelle Harris

THE NOTHING by Kimberly Kinrade

I existed once.

In form and thought.

I had a Name.

And a sensory experience of the physical world.

Until He came.

You know of whom I speak.
The god of virtual formlessness.
A lesser deity to be sure, but one gaining in strength and power by the day.
Feeding on the lives and souls of lost wanderers of cyberspace.

He rules the ethers of unreality.
We give him our form, our name, our lives.
And he converts them into the currency of his domain.

Fleshless words. Ideas of no substance. One dimensional nothings.

Caricatures of what we once were.

You flirt with him now, thinking him harmless with his glittering temptations

But you are wrong. He is not harmless.

And we all were wrong.
It is not death that is to be feared. But the Nothing.

Ceasing to be is a fate far worse than any death could ever be.

You lose yourself in the usernames and avatars He gives you.

Thinking yourself safe.

You learn to walk and talk and live in this flat world of 0’s and 1’s,
feeding on the desperation of others like yourself.
Driven by the need to be seen without eyes of flesh.

Safe sex.
Sex without touch.
Without mess.
Without disease.
But viruses pervade.
You cannot escape the illusion of the nightmare we call reality.

Our dreams cannibalize us.
Consume us as food as we feed on the sex of others.

You will see.

And you will wish you had stayed blind.

Your form will fade.

Not all at once, so as to alarm.
But slowly.
Gradually and without notice.

With each moment lost to reality, you are consumed by the Nothing.

With each photograph you send, a piece of you is sacrificed on the communal altar of demented and unsatiated desires of non-flesh.

With each black letter typed on the screen, your breath is stolen by the invoked unreal passion of another user of this drug.

You give yourself to the nameless nobodies floating in this unreality. And they take you. And they feed on you. Even as they dissipate into Nothingness themselves.

Until one day, you will have ceased to be. Not dead. Not alive. Not anything.

And you will never even know you’ve disappeared.

But I will.

I existed once.

In form and thought.

Sapphire eyes, and ruby lips. Alabaster skin. Full breasts.

You coveted me. They all did.
I was their dream lover. Their perfect form.
Their fantasy realized without time and space.

They owned me for a time.
Stripping me to nothing.
Eating my life force.
All to feed this god of the never-ending hunger.

I was your private mental porn. Until I disappeared.

But it mattered not. For every one of us that ceases, there are a hundred more to take our place.

They existed once too. Until they didn’t.

Kimberly Kinrade is a Young Adult fantasy writer and author of BITS OF YOU & PIECES OF ME, a collection of short stories, poems and essays that tell the tale of a girl in love with love who discovers the demons of a splintered heart when that love turns violent. You can read more of her work at


A girl has to have courage
To be pregnant
In the wrong place
At the wrong time.

Lives are at stake
When promises are broken.
Stones fly before
Explanations can be heard.

A boy has to have courage
To trust the word of an angel
And stand with a girl absent
A tribe's protection.

When Empire and Destiny
Mingle to bring about
An extraordinary circumstance
It takes courage
To keep it together.

And then

A baby is born
Hope is restored
Love is remembered
Life begins again.

It takes courage
To bask in the light of the world.

On Lilith

An image of Himself, male and female
Two, yet one, blessed, multiplied
Lord and Lady
In love and at war.

Lord of all, refuses the Lady
Everlasting bond, broken
But love remained.
Garden of paradise
A kingdom and a prison
Lady subdued
And love is strained.

The Lady flees
Now screeching owl
Demon lover of Samael.
In the garden one remains
Waiting on another.

Ask and you shall receive
An image of Himself, male and female
Two, yet one, blessed, multiplied
Lord and a helper
And the beginning is rewritten.

It (inspired by my sister)

The act does not impress.
An ignorant display
The posturing loud, empty.
It makes swagger unnecessary.
It causes fear in the posers.
It is silent in the midst of
It moves everything
And stands completely still.
It is barely perceptible
In a slight gesture.
It appears humble
Though so obviously royal.
It can’t be written though some
Try to encase it in creeds.
It can’t be demanded nor granted
And it can’t be taken
But you can give it away.
It has no need of sympathizers
But welcomes all friends.
Its rhythm is played
But not often heard.
Those confident of it
Have never known it at all.
Those that possess it
Can lead no one to it.
Without it you can live
But it won’t be easy.
I wish I could tell you
But I barely know it myself.

You Are

You are
Dark shadow and storm
Rising in frightening form
Full of cold and fury
Bold, making gods angry
Creator and destroyer
Author of horror
Easily inspire
Loathsome desire
Stars burning
World turning
Altered state of being
Sight and seeing
Wicked beauty
For all to envy
Life and death
Divine breath.
My beginning
My ending
Heart beating
Heart rending
First love
Only love.

Lent Is When I Say Yes

Lent is when I say yes
Yes, I will have dinner with you
In Jerusalem
Yes I will eat bread with you and drink
Wine with you and I will promise
To never forget you
To never forget our pact with God
To make the world new
To never forget what will pass
Between us this night.

Lent is when I say yes
Yes I will go with you to the garden
Yes I will stay awake with you
And pray
And I’ll hold your hand
And I’ll cry with you
And I’ll scream with you
And I’ll rage with you
Because you’re right
It’s not fair.

Lent is when I say yes
Yes I will kill anyone who tries to take you
Even though that is not your way
I can’t help it I love you
Yes I’ll obey when you tell me to stand down
Yes I’ll follow you and be your witness
Before earth and sky
As they beat you and mock everything that
We mean to each other
Yes I’ll try not to order legions of angels
To kill them all when they spit in your face
But I can’t promise.

Lent is when I say yes
Yes, I’ll scream your name even
If no one else will
Yes, I’ll cry when I see you in a crown of thorns
But I won’t look away
Yes, I’ll beg God to take my life
When they nail you to the cross
But I’ll stay with you
Yes, I’ll try to smile when you look
Down at me and say forgive them.

Lent is when I say yes
Yes, my heart will break
Yes, I’ll be scared without you
Yes, I know I could be next
But I’ll go to the tomb anyway.

Easter is when I say yes
Yes I believe
Yes maybe it was worth it
Yes I’ll tell them the good news
Yes, I still love you
Yes, I know you will never leave me
Yes, I’ll have breakfast with
You in Galilee.

I Have Learned

I have learned to take my time with a poem.
I know now not to rush my emotions
Forcing the feelings out too suddenly
Storming through my pen and
Raining hastily onto the page
Without taking time to feel the pain
Taking time to be pissed off and
Taking time to feel joy and be
I know how to allow a thought to be private
Just long enough so that I can represent it well
In a word.

I have learned not to fear white space on a page.
Sometimes there are no words necessary
Or no words available
Or no description adequate
And it’s okay
To wait
To take my time
To hush my soul
And let the feelings drip slowly
Like blood
From the end of my pen.

I have learned to take my time with a poem.
I know not to rush the quiet expressions of my heart
And to just sit still with a feeling
Until it wants to become a word
After word after word after word.
I have learned to take my time
And there is always time for a poem.

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