Crash Dummy

first
was a tree
just a bump nothing big

second 
was a dumpster 
just a scratch not to worry 

third 
was a t-bone 
as that car crossed the highway into the side
that I sat in as my head hit windshield 
just some whiplash, a bump, and nose blood 

fourth 
was a fender kiss
just a dent nothing major 

fifth 
another t-bone 
tipping the old van over to its side
as I crawled out the busted windshield 
just some bumps and cuts, alright 

sixth 
got rear ended
spilled some coffee, nothing burned 

seventh 
burst a tire 
running over a concrete berm 

Who knows how bad the next will be 
or if I’ll walk away next time like I have before 
which is why every time I leave the house

I kiss you goodbye 

just in case 

it really is 

goodbye

The Iron & Me

When the weight within my bones

Becomes more than it should be

I wrap my ears in ’phones

’Till there’s only the iron and me

When the rage within my veins

Wrecks my inner harmony

Each bar provides the reins

And we ride, the iron and me

It pushes against my core

Ignoring past or pedigree

There are no goals to score

Only us, the iron and me 

Each lift breaks me down

Each pull tugs patiently

As my spirit begins to drown

In sweat, the iron, and me

I pour my heart into each press

My breath in each “two...three...”

As I lift more I carry less

All I need is the iron and me

When I finish my last rep

Leave the bench for reality

There’s a purpose in my step

For I have forged the iron in me 

Never Split The Party

Mage: “I want to go to the library today.” 

Fighter: “No.” 

Mage: “What? Why not? I went on your silly quest the other day.” 

Fighter: “That quest wasn’t silly - the village leader asked me to take care of the kobold raiding parties and I did. You just tagged along because you were lonely.” 

Mage: “Well, technically that may have been the initial reasoning, but I must admit testing out my magic missle was a bit fun.” 

Fighter: “So see? You enjoyed yourself. I’m not going to the library.” 

Mage: “But why not? Can’t you enjoy yourself in a library?” 

Fighter: “No.” 

Mage: “Fine, I’ll go on my own. Just don’t ask me to help you out on any more quests.” 

-----

Mage: “Hey, friend! How goes it?” 

Fighter: “Annoying. I think this village leader is an idiot. He keeps sending me out to kill kobolds and I keep telling him he could just build a better defense perimeter and I wouldn’t actually have to kill anything.” 

Mage: “Oh, right. Honestly I think the village leader is anti-kobold but anyway -- how about a new quest?” 

Fighter: “You want to go on a quest?” 

Mage: “Yes!” 

Fighter: “For what, a book?” 

Mage: ”...no. It’s an ancient cursed tome.” 

Fighter: “It’s a book.” 

Mage: “It’s hidden inside a cursed temple, filled with danger, traps, and undead.” 

Fighter: ”Wait, undead?” 

Mage: “Yup. Already dead. Didn’t take. No guilt in thrashing those dudes I mean hey, they had their chance, right?” 

Fighter: ”...you’re going to go after this book on your own?” 

Mage: “Well, that, see, I’m not very good with zombies?” 

Fighter: “You’re not very good with most things.”

Mage: “Hey, I killed kobold raiders too!” 

Fighter: “After you took twenty minutes to figure out ‘the best spell to cast’ and do your little incantation.” 

Mage: “Immaterial. Look, do you want to go on this quest with me or not?” 

Fighter: ”...I guess that does sound more interesting than killing kobold raiders.” 

Mage: “Exactly! Let’s do this!” 

-----

Fighter: “Alright, we need to take a quest break.” 

Mage: “What? But I thought you liked quests. I had all these quests planned out for us this month?” 

Fighter: “Yeah, but I’m getting tired. I still have to do quests for the village leader too, you know.” 

Mage: “Right, that bastard. Ok, how about I help you out on those quests too? Then you’ll finish faster and we can go on more fun adventures.”

Fighter: ”...right, so, here’s the thing? The leader already hired me some support.”

 Mage: “Huh?”

 Fighter: “I didn’t bring it up because it’s that Druid you hate.”

 Mage: “Wait, the one who’s always going off about how my books ‘kill trees’, like they’re some fucking non-renewable resource we can’t just grow more of?”

 Fighter: “Right, that would be the same Druid.”

 Mage: “Why on earth would anyone hire that hippie?”

 Fighter: “Ok, honestly? I’ve been suffering a lot of damage taking hits for you because you can be a bit slow -”

 Mage: “You did NOT just call me slow!”

 Fighter: ”- and the Druid casts healing spells, not just blasty ones.”

 Mage: ”...you said you liked my blasty spells? They cleared the crowds faster?”

 Fighter: “And they do! I’m just saying what if we face an enemy that’s not a crowd of angry creatures, right? I don’t think I can handle that much aggro. Druid helps keep me fighting, that’s all.”

 Mage: “Fine, I shall put up with this ‘Druid’ accompanying us on quests.”

 Fighter: “You’re still coming?”

 Mage: “Of course! I can’t trust that hippie not to turn around and suddenly go, ‘Oh, but that evil slime probably had a family!’ and not back you up.”

 Fighter: “Slimes don’t have families, I think they’re just elemental puddles of goo?”

 Mage: “Oh gods, you’re already lost. Let’s go.”

-----

Mage: “What the hell? I thought you said they only hired the Druid?”

Fighter: “Ok, so Druid made a good point that I don’t have very good range -” 

Mage: “You have ME! I have good range!” 

Fighter: ”- that’s tactical and doesn’t necessarily kill the target. We’re attempting this new thing now where we don’t kill the enemy and we kinda just stun them? Because Druid pointed out our enemies now are mainly intelligent, sentient souls...and sometimes we need to get information from them, we don’t just want them dead.

Mage: “I told you that Druid was trouble.” 

Fighter: “He makes a point? And the Ranger has a very diverse toolkit of arrows and sometimes they’re kinda helpful.” 

Mage: “I have a diverse SPELLSET, what the hell?” 

Fighter: “But you kinda tend to overkill?” 

Mage: “I can not overkill! 

Fighter: ”...really?” 

Mage: “Watch me!” 

-----

Bard: “Ta-da! Let’s quest this!” 

Fighter: ”...what are you doing?” 

Bard: “I’m a Bard! It’s a support character thing I’m doing now.” 

Fighter: “A support character?” 

Bard: “Yes! I no longer deal damage directly. Instead, I buff you and the rest of the party and I can de-buff our enemies so their attacks deal less damage! Spiffy, right?” 

Fighter: “So, you’re useless in a fight?” 

Bard: “What the - I thought you said you weren’t fighting as often?” 

Fighter: “Nah, we’re still fighting we’re just not killing as often.” 

Bard: “Do you hear how stupid you sound when you speak, or is it just me?” 

Fighter: “Look, I just think you’re trying too hard here.” 

Bard: “Oh, that is classic coming from the bleeding heart who took in that Barbarian.” 

Fighter: “Barb’s good, don’t knock people with issues.” 

Bard: “I’m not knocking people with issues, I’m just pointing out Barbarian’s parents obviously could have done better, and if it weren’t for you that rage would have leveled a small village by now. Whereas I am perfectly sane.” 

Fighter: “You’re wearing pantaloons and taking a lute into battle.” 

Bard: “It’s a magical lute!” 

Fighter: “Do you hear how stupid you sound when you speak, or is it just me?” 

Bard: ”@!%# you! That is IT! I quit!” 

-----

Fighter: “Wait, our quest is in this tower?” 

Ranger: “Yeah, the village leader said some crazy wizard took it over and is threatening the town.” 

Fighter: “Why does this look so familiar...” 

WIZARD: “OH-HO! LOOK WHO’S FINALLY COME CRAWLING BACK!” 

Fighter: ”...oh gods, no. Please no.” 

WIZARD: “HOW DO YOU LIKE MY ‘SUPPORT’ CHARACTER NOW, MOTHER $!%#@ER! AM I SUPPORTING YOUR NEED FOR CARNAGE ENOUGH NOW? HUH? HUH?” 

Druid: “Wow, that’s a lot of anger.”

Ranger: “And a lot of crazy.” 

Druid: “Maybe we should just put them out of their misery this time?” 

Fighter: “No! That’s not necessary, I know this Mage. They’re just...having a bad year?” 

WIZARD: “IF YOU THINK MY YEAR’S BEEN BAD YOU SHOULD BUCKLE UP, BUTTERCUP! YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE YOUR WORST YEAR EVER!” 

Ranger: ”...you truly know this person?” 

Fighter: “It’s a long story, I think maybe we just need to try calming tactics.” 

WIZARD: “OH, CALMING TACTICS? WHAT, LIKE SINGING? SINGING WAS CALMING - YOU $!%!@%ING IMBECILIC SWORD WRANGLER!” 

Fighter: *sigh* “Alright, can we just talk this out?” 

WIZARD: “I AM THROUGH TALKING WITH YOU! ALL I WANTED WAS TO GO TO THE MOTHER $!%!@%ING LIBRARY BUT NOOOOOO! WE GOTTA GO KILL SHIT!” 

Ranger: “Wait, the reason we’re fighting this person is because you couldn’t go to a library?” 

Fighter: “No, no that’s an oversimplification -” 

WIZARD: “YOU MEAN PAR FOR YOUR STUPID COURSE, YOU LOW INTELLIGENCE HACK!” 

Fighter: “HEY! Now you’re just being hurtful!” 

Druid: “I like libraries. I find them peaceful. I just wish they would find more ecofriendly options for their literary materials, I prefer an oral tradition.” 

Mage: “Oh, well if you like I’ve memorized the entire historical eddas of the local kingdom, I can recite them from memory? I could even accompany them on my lute.” 

Druid: “Truly? Gosh, I’d like to hear that sometime.” 

Fighter: “Oiy! Stop encouraging it!” 

Mage: “You know the library over in the neighboring kingdom has strict standards for publishing in order to limit the use of paper. They ask all scholars to submit their drafts, compare for similarities, then ask them to condense their works in a collaborative effort. They even have a local grove they claim stewardship over to prevent locals from chopping down old growths.” 

Druid: “Wow, that actually sounds amazing.” 

Fighter: “Wait, it does?” 

Ranger: “I, too, would like to see these trees. I enjoy canopies and nature very much. I honestly prefer hunting in nature to murdering in cold blood. These traditional quests leave much to be desired.” 

Fighter: ”...what the hell is happening?” 

Mage: “If we left now we could make it in time for their weekly poetry slam, I so enjoy a good poem.” 

Druid: “Words heal the soul.” 

Mage: “Well put, hippie, I must agree.” 

Fighter: “But we’ve still got those orc bandits to take care of!” 

Mage: *scoff* “If the village leader truly cared about bandits he might have invested more time into aiding their kingdom, rather than hoarding resources and wealth for himself.” 

Druid: “I must agree, that assessment rings true to the heavy guilt I have kept inside my heart these many seasons.” 

Ranger: “Is this poetry slam open mic? I too have repressed feelings I would like to express.” 

Fighter: “What the - no! No expressing shit! You’re going to set Barbarian off!” 

Barbarian: “Huh?” 

Mage: “Oh sure, it’s all well and good for somebody to work their issues out blasting the town from a tower, but poor Barbarian has to cage the rage? Typical physical attacker attitude. No empathy for emotional damage.” 

Barbarian: “What’s ‘emotional damage’?” 

Fighter: “Mage, seriously?” 

Druid: “It’s cultural, not his fault. I blame the village leader and possibly the elders too.” 

Ranger: “The cultural healing cannot begin until it has begun within the culture itself.” 

Fighter: “Ok, you’ve all gone mad. I’m just going to go fight the orcs myself!” 

Mage: “Right, see how long that works out without your precious heal-bot.” 

Druid: ”What did you call me?” 

Mage: “Oh! No, see, Fighter thinks they only hired you to keep him healed with spells.” 

Druid: “You’re joking!”

Fighter: ”I didn’t say that!” 

Druid: “What the hell? I have offensive capabilities! My bear form is legend! You’re not the central hero of this party, you know!” 

Ranger: “Truly, such stereotyping feels like a betrayal of our times together. I have never considered you a simple heal-bot.” 

Druid: “Thank you. I also appreciate your non-lethal adaptability in combat.” 

Fighter: “I did not say you were a simple heal-bot! He’s putting words in my mouth!” 

Mage: *clears throat* “Observational diary entry, ’I’ve been suffering a lot of damage taking hits for you because you can be a bit slow -” 

Druid: “Wow, he called you slow? That’s hurtful.” 

Mage: “THANK YOU!  Somebody gets it!” 

Ranger: “It is cruel to mock others for the stats they were rolled.” 

Fighter: “MAGE! KNOCK THIS SHIT OFF NOW! I MEAN IT!” 

Mage: “Sorry! Heading to the scary ‘library’, wouldn’t want some mean old librarian to set off your insecurities about being a slow reader, woooo.” 

Druid: “I am also heading to the library. I feel it is time I reconnected with my roots.” 

Ranger: “My people once had beautiful libraries. Perhaps I will be inspired to rebuild them in this fashion.” 

Fighter: “Wait! No, come back!” 

Mage: “You’ve got Barbarian, I’m sure the two of you can handle whatever bullshit quest you’re doing now.” 

Barbarian: “We’re killing bulls?” 

Fighter: “No, he’s not - Mage! Druid! Ranger! Please, stop! I’m just doing my job, I swear I didn’t mean to cause you whatever ‘emotional damage’ you supposedly have!”

... 

Barbarian: “Barbarian have emotions.” 

Fighter: “Wait - no, buddy, hold it in!” 

Barbarian: “Barbarian have deep emotions. Mother never happy enough...” 

Fighter: “Oh gods, kill me now -- FINE! JUST - FINE! OK? $@!# I’M GOING TO THE GODSDAMN LIBRARY! THERE, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW!” 

Barbarian: ”...we go to library?”

Fighter: “Yes, just deal with it.” 

Barbarian: “Oooh, Barbarian think librarians sexy. Why you no like library?”

Fighter: *facepalm* 

Poetically Pathetic

Stop making me write poems. 

I mean it

Pretty please

I’ve written so many already I’m down here on my knees. 

Stop making me write poems. 

I hate them

I really do 

Yet whenever you’re around all these words spill out for you.

Stop making me write poems. 

Act rudely 

Be a jerk 

I’m wasting all my hours trying to make this rhyme scheme work.

Stop making me write poems. 

You won’t read

Or ever see

My feelings look so lame in print the only one who’ll see is me.

Stop making me write poems. 

It’s a waste

Since anyway

You already know I love you and I’ve got nothing left to say.

The Soulforge

Every wordsmith needs a forge

A fire

burning bright

It glows within so brightly not many can hold its might 

The tools and words may matter

but mostly it’s INTENT

Otherwise you lose focus and your weapon may turn bent

Which is why I feel so sadly 

for souls whose shards were scattered

because my beautiful broken people 

you truly fucking mattered.

Don’t Ever Change

You drive me insane.

You can be so- 
stubborn
blunt
pig-headed
hot-tempered
opinionated
self-centered
impatient
aggravating
inflexible
and needy.

So no wonder I love you.
Because you are-

steadfast
honest
loyal
passionate
thought-provoking
confident
driven
persistent
pragmatic
and adoring.

Don’t ever change.

Odd Couple

"I think I'm in love."
 
"What, already? It's barely been an hour!"
 
"It's been longer for me." Tripp stared towards the other end of the tavern, eyes lost.
 
Roald frowned. "Is it the elf? You know how picky they can get."
 
"Nah. It's her." Tripp pointed, and Roald nearly spit out his drink.
 
"The centaur?? Oi, did you order in pints again?" He smacked his friend on the back.
 
"She saved my life," Tripp argued. "On the way here I was nearly run over by those daft human rangers, riding in like they owned the place - she picked me up and carried me to safety."
 
"You're a third her size, she may as well have picked up a stray cat."
 
"It was fate. She's my person." Tripp continued to stare over his full tankard.
 
Roald shook his head. "If you fancy some hooves there's a nice satyress over there, at least aim for the same weight class."
 
"It has to be her."
 
"I hate to break this to you, but you're a halfling. She's not gonna go for it."
 
Tripp looked hurt. "You don't know that! I've plenty to offer a woman."
 
"Sure, you're easy to carry. They love that in a man." Roald rolled his eyes.
 
Tripp breathed deep. "I'm gonna go talk to her."
 
"And say what? You'd make the perfect jockey?"
 
Tripp leaned over his stool and asked the bartender for a gallon of his best. The middle-aged human only nodded and disappeared behind the bar.
 
Roald frowned. "Tripp - seriously, think about this. If you offend that filly she could kick your head in, although I'm not sure it hasn't already taken a hit."
 
"I am nothing but a gentleman." Tripp replied with an air of finality.
 
Before his friend could offer another protest, the door to the tavern banged open as a burly centaur male with warrior braids and a leather harness entered. With a huff, he trotted over towards Tripp's dream date. Roald gulped and grabbed his buddy's tunic.
 
"Oi, hold on there, lover boy. I think your competition just walked in." he hissed softly.
 
Tripp's face fell, as they watched the slayer sidle up to the lady centaur, his face contorting into a smirk that made even the halfling's stomach knot. "He can't do that! I saw her first!"
 
"How do you know? He could be her boyfriend."
 
"Not all centaurs know each other - that's racist." Tripp muttered, but his eyes betrayed his worry.
 
"Face it, friend. That's her type - not short two-leggers like us."
 
Roald kept a steadying grip on his friend's shoulder as they watched the pair across the room. The male centaur laid a hand on the lady and said something. Tripp's expression turned pained.
 
Then the lady centaur smacked away the hand on her arm and laid into the male with a fierce kick, her rear legs connecting with bare abs and her horseshoes leaving an imprint that made every looker-on wince in pain. 
 
"I've told ye, Duncan - I'm not interested. I don't go for brutes like you." Her voice rang across the bar, heavy with finality.
 
"It's your loss, you stupid mare." He spat back, hand still pressed to his stomach to hide the bruising. "You'll not find a stud willing to put up with that temper!" With a snort, he turned and exited the bar, slamming the door on his way out.
 
After a few moments the din in the bar rose again and the lady centaur turned back to her table. Roald sat in shock.
 
"Wait - Tripp, hold on."
 
Too late. His small friend was already halfway across the bar, hefting his gallon offering like a small pilgrim. Roald's face met his palm as he groaned, waiting for the worst.
 
The bartender leaned over, "He bought that for someone else, right?"
 
"Aye. Let's pray he doesn't end up soaked in it." Roald took a long drag of his own drink, steeling himself.
 
Together they watched as Tripp approached the centaur, who turned as he called out. After a pause she looked downwards and saw him, holding up his gallon of ale with shaky arms that could barely hold her liquor. Roald's heart skipped a beat.
 
"Gods, let him be short enough she kicks over his head."
 
The centaur's face turned puzzled as Tripp continued to hold out the giant mug. Slowly, her expression changed and to Roald's shock it turned into a smile.
 
Effortlessly taking the tankard, she held it in one hand while she gently picked him up by the scruff of his tunic and - seeing no open barstool - placed him down onto her own back. Tripp modestly adjusted himself, sitting astride her while she turned and faced him, lifting up the mug in salute. He beamed, his lovesick eyes filled with admiration. Roald's jaw fell.
 
"My gods, she didn't kill him," he breathed, watching in awe as the two continued chatting away.
 
The bartender shrugged. "They say true love is blind."
 
"Aye, but if it were he'd be trampled to death." Roald shook his head. "He's still an idiot." As he finished his ale, he glanced over periodically to check on his friend. After twenty minutes he hadn't been bucked off.
 
Finally, the lady centaur set her empty mug on the table and motioned to Tripp, who blushed and nodded. Roald's eyes zoomed in on this exchange, watching as Tripp shifted forward, his hands gently gripping around his lady's waist, delicately avoiding her bosom. She turned around and began trotting out of the bar, halfling in tow.
 
As they passed, Tripp waved at Roald, who sat dumbstruck until the pair had already  exited into the night.
 
The bartender looked over at Roald. "Need another?"
 
Roald shook his head. "I'll take a full pint. I think I need it."
 
Nodding, the bartender went to fetch a new mug. "Ya know, there's a fair Arachne  who frequents this place. I hear she's widowed."
 
The halfling sighed. "Maybe after that pint."

I Published A Thing!

“Harper, you’re so silly – why are you excited about self publishing? Any idiot can do it these days!”

“Wait, really? Any idiot thinks their work is sufficiently strong enough to stand amongst others in a crazy world where people will rip you to shreds just for voicing a different opinion? Because in my world that still takes considerable guts.”

“…Harper, honey, I think you may have some issues. How is that therapy coming along?”

HEY FOLKS!! I PUBLISHED A BOOK!!

Not just any book – the hardest type of book to publish because it involves SEX!! – a smutty, heartfelt romance novel!!! Yay!!!

And if you’re the type to scoff at romance novels as pornography for women well…okay, you make a fair point there, BUT shame on you for thinking pornography has no place in our world!

Sex is healthy. Sex is love. Sex is a simple act of bonding and intimacy and many people forget that in a world where sex is splashed here and there like so much eye candy to entice the masses to watch the next big screen hit.

Hence my humble little attempt to re-think sex in a positive light – as so many other romance novelists do every single day – should not only be applauded I think but celebrated. For how difficult must it be to keep such romantic notions in such an utterly dark, depressing world?

If anyone is interested in reading some heartfelt smut here are the obligatory links to my books / if you can’t afford it (or simply don’t trust that it’s not a waste of your time or money) message me! I can send you a free epub file that should hopefully work on your reader device. Then all I would ask in return is an honest review – since these apparently do actually help little books get out there in the world.

Here’s the non evil non Amazon link: https://books2read.com/u/baZ6o8

Here’s the obligatory Amazon link (no KU though, sorry folks): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09263DLQ9

I won’t repost the book description as you can read it there. I also won’t force anybody to read something they don’t find interesting – if you don’t find something interesting enough to read then that likely means it’s not what you’re meant to read right now. Maybe you’ll find it interesting another day.

Thanks all for reading another silly Harper post! We’ll get back to poetry ~and~ free short romantic stories soon!

Min / Maxing

When I rush in 
You hold me back 

When I get lazy 
You offer no slack 

When I say yes
You argue no

When I pull away 
You won’t let go 

When I want to quit
You refuse to give in 

When I see defeat
You see “learning to win” 

When I start to flicker
You bring out my fire

When I shut up 
You drag out my ire

When I need distance
You horde me alone

When I ramble on
You cut short my drone

When I sought a mate
You sought a soul 

How we fell together 
I will never know

Wrapping

You wrapped yourself up in

Nice clothes 
Hair product 
Contact lenses 

Good manners
Herbal tea
Perfect posture

Soft speech 
Rapt attention 
Quiet attitude 

Then the next day you woke up 

Threw on glasses 
Brushed out bangs
Needily hugged me 

and 

Giggled

Yet you wonder why it took me so long to realize 

How truly adorable 

You are